Thursday, December 31, 2009

Buon anno

January 1st. Two Thousand and Ten. Twenty Ten. What will the next year hold??

Well, if the past year has been any indication.. full of surprises. Last year at this time, I was taking a WSET course, working and volunteering at various wine shows and tastings, and interviewing for cheesemaker roles. I'd never have guessed that I'd be starting out this decade with a wonderful new job (the 24-7 forever type as a new parent), a new job (the 9-5 sort) and projects aplenty.

However you slice it, it's bound to be exciting.

We saw in the New Year, albeit quietly (after the bub had gone to sleep) with the usual suspects of oysters, sauv blanc, and nibbly things. This year, I'd arranged for some interesting cheese that, as it happens, fits in my list of projects.

While I love baking, barbeque, matching beers and wines, and attempting all sorts of new dishes, cheese is my thing. My favourite being what is on my plate at the moment. I appreciate all the effort that goes into the making of a fine cheese and to that end, I plan to do alot of appreciating this year and will share what I discover. I hope to taste as many local offerings as possible and include a good dose of the classics we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy from around the globe.

So for a simple January first lunch, we sampled Roncal. A wonderful sheeps milk cheese from Spain and a little slice of heaven and history for cheeselovers. While the production of Roncal had long been protected (regulated since about the 13th century) and it was the first Spanish cheese to be awarded DO status. Native sheep species are still used as is the practise of seasonal migration.

I find Roncal to be of medium sharpness, slightly nutty and retaining a good dose of "sheepiness" through which the herbal sweetness shines. We served the delicious 2006 Yalumba Hand-picked Tempranillo Grenache Viognier and Simon Waghorns' tremendous Astrolabe 2008 Sauvignon blanc, however, if a good, aromatic ale is your thing, it wouldn't be out of place here either.

Happy New Year Dear Reader. May all your hopes, dreams and resolutions for 2010 come true.

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