Wednesday, June 25, 2014

All Things Chimay - Beer and Cheese!

Hello everyone,

I can't believe June is almost over! Time flies when you're having fun I suppose...

I know I recently blogged about one of the Chimay cheeses from Belgium, but I was sent a wonderful sample package from the folks who represent Chimay. After receiving the lovely package, I decided I would talk about all three of the Chimay cheeses we offer at many of the Whole Foods Markets in NorCal and Reno and pair them up with the corresponding beers.

I'll try to keep this post as straightforward as possible... here we go!

The following information on the cheese applies to all three:

Producers: The Trappist monks of Scourmont Abbey
Location: Near Chimay, Belgium
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

First up, the Chimay Grand Reserve. This is a cheese washed with the beer of the same name. It is definitely the most mellow of the three cheeses. Just a little stinky with a very soft, buttery paste. I would use this cheese in a fondue or baked pasta.
The beer itself is nice and flavorful, velvety and slightly sweet (like many Belgian beers). Lots of yeast and malt. When paired with the cheese, the two combine into a harmonious, almost caramel flavor. It was very pleasant.

Next, we have the Chimay Dore Gold. The recipe for this cheese has been kept under lock and key for generations and is now just recently available to the public. This cheese was made in honor of a beer (called Dore Gold) that was a secret beer consumed only by the monks at the monastery. The flavor is decadent, yet fresh. While being slightly stinky, it has aromas of hops and flavors of grass. It is washed with the Chimay Dorée beer which is not always available, so I stuck with the color theme and used the Chimay Tripel.
The Chimay Tripel is a bit lighter, fruitier and more acidic than the other two. Definitely the beer I prefer out of the three when it's by itself. When paired with the Chimay Dore Gold, the fruity acidity of the beer mixes with the creamy funk of the cheese to create a light and almost airy pairing. It was a new sensation for me when it came to pairings. Quite intriguing.
Last, but not least, we have the Chimay a la Primère washed with the beer of the same name. To me, this cheese has a more robust flavor with a touch more funk. It is soft and creamy like the other two, just a tad stinker... I loved it. Putting this onto a burger would be killer!
As for the beer, it is a bit more syrupy with lots of dark fruit flavors. It is slightly sweet, but not over the top. To me, this was the best pairing of the three. The cheese had enough flavor to stand up to the complexity of the beer and the sweetness of the beer balanced out the funk of the cheese. Truly a match made in heaven - and I would hope so! Especially since the cheese is washed in the same beer...
All in all it was a great evening of beer and cheese, laughter and conversation with my girlfriend and my best friend. Photo cred goes to my beautiful girlfriend who graciously offered to take pictures with her higher quality camera phone :).
These cheeses may not be available at every Whole Foods Market, but when you see one, be sure to ask for a taste! You might even get lucky and find the Chimay beer to pair with it. I hope that is the case for you all. That's all I have for you tonight! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!