Quickly consider what to pair with tequila and the options seem tragically undergraduate—lick of salt and bite of lime, anyone? Surely, there must be more. Tequila and cheese may not seem like the most intuitive pairing, but Adam Goddu of New York’s Murray’s Cheese swears together they sing—complementing each other in unexpected and sophisticated ways. “There are general rules you can use with certain styles but you really need to try the idea with that specific bottle as no two are alike,” Goddu explains. Here, Goddu and Casa Noble tequila founder and maestro Pepe Hermosillo delve deeper into how to select compatible cheeses for a distinctive range of Casa Noble spirits—it’s everything you need to put together an unforgettable tasting.
Joven & Cornelia: Joven is a fresh, high-proof tequila that opens up to big floral notes after a few minutes in the glass. You need a cheese that can stand up to the alcohol but not overpower those honeysuckle and citrus flower notes. Cornelia is a washed rind (so a stronger flavour profile) with a voluptuous dense paste that coats your palate and eases the burn from the high-proof tequila.
Reposado & Bianco Sardo: Casa Noble’s reposado is aged 364 days in oak (the max as 365 would make it an añejo) so the vanilla, caramel, and melon notes dance on the palate and linger for a while. I chose Bianco Sardo, an Italian sheep’s milk with nutty, salty, funkiness that really brings out those melony fruit notes that are hiding when you taste the tequila on its own. The sheep’s milk has a higher protein and butterfat content that again helps ease the booziness of drinking a spirit straight.
Añejo & Annelies: On the scale of “mild to wild”, the Casa Noble añejo is paired best with a milder alpine-style cheese, such as Annelies. The añejo is aged for a full two years in French white oak barrels, which results in a deeper, more aged spirit. The añejo has complex aromas of dried fruits and spice complemented by flavours of toasted oak, butterscotch, vanilla and sweet cooked agave. This pairs well with the Annelies, a cheese from northern Switzerland’s Appenzell valley that’s aged for a year. Murray’s Cheese sources cheese from this Swiss region that has been aged for three months, and then lets it age for the additional nine months in its alpine caves in New York. The result is a cheese that has sweet flavours of roasted hazelnuts and vibrant alpine grasses, with lush undertones of butterscotch and cocoa. The toasted oak and butterscotch of the añejo is the perfect complement to the roasted hazelnut and cocoa tones.
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