JAZZ Apples, Cheese, and Wine

My favorite dessert after a big meal is a cheese course, but I also enjoy making a complete meal of a cheese plate with the proper wine, fruit, nuts, and bread.jazzapples

I recently had a craving for a cheese plate, and already had some great cheeses in my refrigerator from Bristol Farms including Parmesano Reggiano, Saint Agur, P’tit Basque, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, and Explorateur.

As far as wine is concerned, I like to stick to one selection and enjoy the variety of the cheeses. After much meticulous research, my brother Dave and I have determined that Champagne and sauvignon blanc are the most versatile wines to have with a cheese plate. There are certainly other wines, including red and dessert wines, that are perfect pairings for individual cheeses (the Sauternes/Stilton combo is a great example), but it’s difficult to pair one specific wine with a cheese plate, unless you reach for Champagne or sauvignon blanc. I didn’t have any chilled Champagne, so I reached for a bottle of Long Boat Sauvignon Blanc, a delicious wine from high-altitude vineyards in New Zealand’s Marlborough region.

I still needed the accompaniments, though, and headed over to Gelson’s, which is close by in my neighborhood. I picked up a La Brea Bakery sourdough baguette and some roasted almonds, and just needed the fruit to complete the plate. Admittedly, I typically put most of my time and effort into selecting the cheeses, and always tend to be a creature of habit with the fruit choices. Apples are my favorites, and I usually reach for the old standard: Golden Delicious. I remembered, however, that a friend of mine had recently mentioned a relatively new apple on the market called JAZZ Apples and I was happy to learn that Gelson’s carried them. I figured this was a great way to explore something new, and see if I could take my love for cheese plates to the next level with a component other than the cheese or the wine.

I was pleased to discover that JAZZ Apples are firm and tangy-sweet. I have since enjoyed them alone as a snack, but they were perfect with this meal because the crisp acidity helps cut through the richness of the cheeses, particularly triple crèmes such as Explorateur. There is much more going on with this apple than with your typical Red or Golden Delicious varieties. If JAZZ Apples were a wine, I would certainly call them complex and sophisticated. The ones I bought were from New Zealand, but they are also grown in Washington; check out the JAZZ website for availability and some great recipes and nutrition information. I also just started following them on Twitter; their username is jazzapple. In addition to Gelson’s, you can find them at Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Albertson’s, Vons and Safeway. What a great way to “jazz” up a cheese plate. I always felt confident that I was using the best cheese, wine and bread, but now I am convinced that I have found the perfect fruit to bring it all together. www.jazzapple.com

~ by Thomas on August 9, 2009.

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