Cheese & Bourbon

 Shrimp and grits with bourbon glaze.

Shrimp and grits with bourbon glaze.

Fantasy Football Season is upon us again! I’m sure plenty of people don’t give one cheese crystal about this, but for me, that also means another year of hope and heartbreak, trash talk and commiseration, good luck being mistaken as genius and bad choices being mistaken as bad luck. My favorite part of Fantasy Football Season, however, comes before the season starts because that is when we have a dinner to (begrudgingly) celebrate last year’s winner. Fellow commissioner, Mike, and I both love cooking, so the prize for winning in our league is that the winning member gets to choose the secret ingredient for our Fantasy League Dinner. Mike and I then plan a multi-course dinner around that ingredient for everyone in the league. Why am I telling you all this? To get to the cheese part of the story, of course! This year, the secret ingredient was bourbon, and the two courses that featured cheese were some of the favorites among the diners. My favorite was the cheesy grits and shrimp. The shrimp were cooked in a bacon, bourbon barbeque sauce, which was sweet and smoky. And the grits, the GRITS! We used L’Amuse Signature Gouda and Ciresa Taleggio. L’Amuse is a two-year-old gouda that is rich in texture and tastes like hazelnuts and caramel making it an EXCELLENT pairing with bourbon. Since L’Amuse is an intense cheese, the warmth of the bourbon refreshes the palate, while it’s brown sugar notes match well with the cheese. 

The other cheese I used, and this one I’m especially excited about, was Ciresa Taleggio. This is a new one for us, and a touch milder than the Carozzi La Baita Taleggio that we’ve had for a while (also an excellent cheese). Ciresa Taleggio is made at a small dairy in Lombardy in the northern Italy before moving to the Ciresa aging rooms. Affineurs (cheese agers) salt it, turn it, and give it the most tender care of moving and washing as the weeks pass. Perhaps that’s why this cheese is so good. It tastes a touch earthy, funky, creamy and like grilled meat, and I can’t stop eating it! It made the grits silky and luscious, and was the perfect partner for L’Amuse. I’ve never thought of myself as a major grits girl, but now I can’t stop thinking about them. I mean really, though, these grits were about the cheese, and luckily I can snack on that any time I want! #jobperks
 
For the love of cheese and bourbon,
Kiri

 Grilled cheese with bourbon caramelized onions. 

Grilled cheese with bourbon caramelized onions.