I feel the same way about New Year’s Eve as I do about birthdays: meh. I don’t get too excited or go out of my way to celebrate, though I know I’m in the small minority. But – and this is a big but – I love Champagne. Any reason to drink it and pair it with festive cheeses makes me happy. So on the 31st I’m sure I’ll find myself celebrating with a small group of friends. They’ll be responsible for bringing the Champagne; I’ll supply the cheese.
Champagne is one of the best wine matches for many varieties of cheese, but especially for rich, creamy cheeses. The bubbles and acidity of Champagne or Champagne-style wine contrast extremely well with triple-creams and soft-ripened cheeses. The bubbles wash the residue of the fatty cheese from your taste buds and the acidity keeps your palate refreshed.
To this year’s New Year’s celebration, I’ll be bringing a Truffle Tremor Mini from Cypress Grove Chevre, located in Humboldt County, CA. Truffle Tremor is a beautiful goat’s milk cheese flecked with Italian black summer truffles. The TT Mini is a small-format version (weighing about a pound), which is perfect for a small gathering. It’s an elegant cheese that goes well with buttery, young champagne.
I will also bring a piece of my new favorite triple-cream, the St. Stephen from Four Fat Fowl in Hudson Valley, NY. This cheese is all that a triple cream should be: creamy, rich, luscious, sweet and very buttery. Put a thin wedge on a slice of ripe pear and wash it down with a glass of medium-aged vintage champagne and you’ll have all the reason you need to celebrate New Year’s.
My last cheese will be the Tunworth (featured in this party platter video), from Hampshire Cheeses in Hampshire, England. It tastes like a raw milk camembert but in fact is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. Its flavor is deep and rich with hints of toasted grain. The velvety texture is amazing. For this stunning cheese, I won’t leave the champagne pairing to chance – I’m bringing my all-time favorite sparkling wine: a magnum of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé. It’s a pale pink wine, with super tight, abundant bubbles; it smells of fresh, perfectly ripe pear. This decadent wine-and-cheese pairing is astonishingly good! I’ll never be able to drink enough of this champagne or eat enough of this cheese…which makes it the pairing perfect for ringing in the New Year.