Appropriately it's an American and a Brit for this week's pairing, as the American delegation continues to excel at the London Games.
Montgomery's Farmhouse Cheddar
Producer: Jamie Montgomery and Steve Bridges
Region: Somerset, England (southwest)
Milk: Unpasteurized Cow
Did you know that in 2004 Jamie Montgomery, George Keen (of Keen's) and Richard Calver (of Westcombe's) came together to set out for Slow Food what traditional Cheddar should be? They came up with the following guidelines:
- -the cheese is only made in Somerset
- -it is made using raw milk from the farmer's own herd
- -they only use traditional pint starters, which are grown in a churn of milk before being added to the vat
- -they use only traditional animal rennet
- -the cheeses are made in a cylindrical form and bound in cloth
- -the cheeses are aged for a minimum of one year
Did you also know that the blue that shows up occasionally in the paste of Monty's is completely normal? It occurs if a cheese has been knocked slightly; the curd then separates, air enters and mould grows. These cheeses are turned every week to ensure they mature properly (in some cases for up to eighteen months). They can weigh up to 65 pounds so, even with the most careful handling, you have to expect a bit of wear and tear. Also, as the cheese matures, loses moisture and contracts, cracks can appear in the rind under the cloth. These cracks let air into the paste causing mold growth. Sometimes this mold is greyish-brown and doesn't taste good, other times it is blue and, when it is within bounds, adds a pleasant piquancy to the cheese.
Monty's is so many things: earthy, fruity, sweet and caramel-y. Jamie Montgomery is fastidious in his attention to detail when it comes to his cows' feed. He aims to get the ratio of grass, hay, and starch just right so that there is a ideal balance of fat and protein to achieve such a complex flavor profile.
Lion's Pride Dark Oat Whiskey
Bottle: Lion's Pride 'Dark Oat'
Origin: Ravenswood, Chicago
Oh heck yeah, let's pop some of the brown stuff. Koval distills a long line of wonderful liqueurs, white whiskey, and vodka as well as their Lion's Pride label encompassing their aged whiskeys. Lion's pride
offers two distinct styles for 5 separate grains. Rye, Oat, Wheat, Millet and Spelt cask aged in either light charred new oak barrels or heavily charred new oak barrels.
We carry a rotating selection of Koval offerings. This week, let's take a look at the Dark Oat. The dense sugar in oat ultimately translates to caramel notes in the aged whiskey. Not a peppery or
baking spice finish here (although we love that too!) Just a round and rich body that balances the heat from the 40% ABV. This broader style of whiskey is a perfect match for dense dry salty cheeses.
Guest Monger: Reigning Employee of the Month, Lindsay
"I'm normally not a hard liquor kind of lady, but there's something so silky smooth and cinnamon-spicy about this whiskey that it really makes the sweet earthy hay and barnyard qualities of Montgomery's cheddar sing. The Lion's Pride cuts through some of the mustiness in the cheddar, while the Montgomery's cuts the overtness of the whiskey quite a bit. These guys are a perfect example of sweet and spicy learning to play well together."