Cheese master Neil Willman came to school quite early for his talk. I met up with him and asked if he would like to stay at the hotel lobby first. The truth was I needed coffee to jump-start my brain. Over breakfast I realized I was having a one-on-one exclusive with the cheese expert! Lucky lucky! (Neil Willman Bio)
Neil says cheese and wine is a marriage that will never divorce. I have always wanted to ask the difference between Brie and Camembert. He says they look the same!!!! When asked about his favorite cheese his reply was “How can you choose from your children?”
Neil gave an overview of the Australian cheese industry to an audience of 200 culinarians. The event was organized by student org CHIP (Chefs in Progress) in cooperation with the very generous Australian trade commission. Then he taught us how to present, serve, and handle cheeses. He also discussed tips on cooking with cheese.
Here are some of the cheese and wine pairing tips from the cheese master:
1.Just like wine in a cheese tasting start with the lighter flavored cheeses to the stronger or mature ones.
2. White wine match best with soft cheeses and stronger flavors
3. Red wines match best with hard cheeses and milder flavors
4. Cheese with acid matches well with acid.
5. Fruity flavors with fruity wines.
6. Stronger cheese is paired with darker, stronger, and more mature wine.
7. Pungent cheeses with sweeter wine. Sweetness in wine balances and compliments the acidity and saltines of cheese.
8. Sparkling wine breaks the creaminess of cheese.
9. Parmesan and vintage Cheddar are a safe bet and match well with most wines.
10. Avoid competing foods and wine. Use dry flat bread, plain bread, or crackers to savor the cheese.
Photos from CHIP