Stef’s Wedding Cheese Board
Sometimes cheese is the binder in a friendship. Since I started blogging, so many of my relationships have grown organically around molds and cultures. Like my friendship with Stefania, who appeared like a wide-eyed owl at one of my first little neighborhood tastings.
She slipped me her graphic design card, and a few months later we were dreaming of new logos and a new blog design — first over breakfast at her house, then over lunch chez moi.
Pretty soon, we were meeting for coffee and scoping out obscure Italian pastry shops in South Philly. I met her beau, she met mine. Our lives intertwined.
Now she’s engaged and wasn’t I honored when she asked me to help her curate a nuptial cheese board, one that would pair her favorite cheeses with her fiancé’s favorite ales?
But of course, petal, I said, what else is a cheese courtesan for?
Planning a Wedding Cheese Board
Once Stef and her man Jon sent me a list of wedding beers, I shambled down to my local cheese shop to brainstorm pairings. I chose a rainy day, which is always my favorite time to chat’n chew at the counter. Ian Peacock, who has the mind of a beer buddha, conjured flavors with me. As it thundered, we sampled Cheddars. As lightning flashed, we knocked around a few heavy Goudas.
Oh, I do love cheese and strong weather.
Finally, I splatter-patted home with six cheeses. I wanted to give Jon and Stef two possible matches for each of their chosen beers. How couples-y. Later that night, we’d sample them together — Stef with her Jon, me with my Beau de Fromage.
Here are the beers Stef and Jon chose:
Here are the cheeses I brought over to pair (their favorites are in orange):
Choosing the Right Matches
Stef is Italian, so she wanted to serve at least one cheese from Italy. We made that happen with Pantaleo, a beautiful, waxen Pecorino-style goat cheese that always reminds me of sitting on a dock in summer — it’s all lemony sunshine and warm wood. Jon’s crispy, brisk Pikeland Pils paired perfectly.
Jon loves pale ale, and his selection from Flying Fish was glorious — herbaceous, a smidge sweet, mildly hoppy, with a peppery clip to the finish. It cuddled right up to Beecher’s Marco Polo, which is essentially a New York Cheddar loaded with green and black peppercorns. In my mind, it’s “the salami of cheese.”
Brooklyn Local 2 is all complex caramel. Paired with toffee-like L’Amuse Gouda, it made sweet butter-salt love.
Stef and John Make Dinner
After pairing beer and cheese, we moved on to another great match: polenta and meatballs. But not just any polenta and meatballs.
Look at this supper Stef and Jon put together for our little cheese gathering. And I thought we were just going to nosh and slosh.
Dinner: A cutting board in the middle of the table. Polenta poured straight on it. Then meatballs in homemade gravy. Oh, Stef!
You can’t see the real Parmigiano Reggiano sitting on the table, freshly grated. But of course it was there.
Cheese will always be the tie that binds.
For a glimpse into the October wedding where these cheese pairings will be served: jonandstef.com