Cheese and wine are a combination made in heaven. I’m not sure if there is a single person who could deny a nice tipple coupled with a nibble of savoury cheese! As a true lover of all things boozy and foodie, wine and cheese are up there with the two things I’d never want to live without. So as you can imagine, I was over the moon when La Cave à Fromage invited the Experience Days team along to try out one of their Cheese and Wine Tasting Evenings. Our experience; ‘In Full Bloom and Wine,’ featured a range of ‘bloomy rind’ cheeses (think cheese with soft, white rind like Brie or Camembert), that had been produced in France or Britain and each paired with a white or rosé wine.
Originating in South Kensington, then quickly spreading to Notting Hill and south to bustling Brighton, La Cave à Fromage is an absolutely incredible set of cheese shops. Each venue is full to the brim and almost overflowing with the vast selection of over 250 ever changing, seasonal cheeses sourced from the UK and Europe. They also offer a fantastic selection of wines, charcuterie and accompaniments such as white truffle honey and fresh breads. The really exciting part of these shops are the cheese and wine tasting sessions they offer, an experience that will tantalise your taste buds with the wonderful marriage of carefully selected cheese and an accompanying wine. This is what we had come for and we just couldn’t wait for it to begin!
We entered into Brighton’s La Cave à Fromage around 7:30 pm and were immediately greeted by our friendly cheese masters. Laid out on a clean slate ready to tempt us were 6 types of cheese, baskets full of artisan breads and a board bursting with different sliced hams and charcuterie. I could hardly resist diving straight in! However we didn’t have to wait long as the first glass of wine, a Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that has been especially chosen to compliment the first cheese, a local Sussex soft goat cheese, was promptly poured into our awaiting glasses.
We were introduced to the cheese and wine and their particular flavourings, followed by an informative description explaining how their unique tastes would complement each other. We were advised to first sip the wine, then taste the cheese, and finally taste the cheese and wine at once, in order to appreciate the flavours. The way the flavours changed when experienced together was surprising. It’s the kind of thing you need to stop and think about in order to really appreciate how the subtle notes of sweetness in the wine were matched perfectly with the creamy tang of goat’s cheese. The fantastic cheese and wine ambassadors were great at answering our questions and were very attentive, visiting each group for a chat and to ensure we had enough bread and water to last the whole night.
We were given time to relax and nibble our delicious breads and sip our wine. Almost as soon as our glasses were empty, they were being filled again with a fresh, new wine to be paired with the next cheese. Over the night we sampled 6 different cheeses with their 6 matched glasses of white or rosé wine. It was a night full of spectacular wines and magnificent cheeses, some of which I’d never tasted anything like before. The Brillat Savarin was a particularly unusual soft cheese. It’s name famously comes from the celebrated gastrononomer who coined the phrase ‘You are what you eat,’ in reference to this decadent double cream infused soft cheese. It was paired with a slightly citrus wine that cut through the richness perfectly, it was one to remember!
At the end of what was a boozy and delicious evening, we were happy, full and had definitely learned a lot. The relaxed atmosphere of Brighton’s La Cave à Fromage meant it was ideal for a night out with friends. There was no long, over the top lectures on the wine and cheese, just to the point, interesting information with plenty of time for you and your company to enjoy the night. The experience came to an end at around 10pm. We were given plenty of time to peruse the fascinating shop, and to make any purchases of the cheese, wine and other delicious products we had tasted during the night!
This cheese and wine tasting is perfect for a romantic night out, a family get together, or for a more sophisticated night out with friends. I would recommend this experience to anyone, cheese and wine experts, or newbies alike!