Sensational Summer Pairings with Goat Cheese

One of my favorite summer wine pairings is fresh goat cheese with a light crisp white wine. Many summer days while traveling in France I would just buy a fresh baguette, goat cheese and a lovely Sancerre. The flavors complement each other so well! Recently I’ve been experimenting with a few variations and have come up with some stellar flavor combinations to share with you.

My 2 favorites include infusing fruits into the recipes to cut the sometimes pungent flavors. The goat cheese truffle with fresh grapes, sauterne and roasted pistachio was the hit of a recent tasting paired with a crisp white Entre Deux Mers from Chateaux Bonnet in Bordeaux. The second big hit is a strawberry, basil, reduced balsamic vinegar creation on a toasted crustini with a hint of cracked pepper on top. The strawberry and crisp bright flavors of a Seyval Blanc or Sancerre make a perfect marriage with the fresh creamy cheese.

If your a NY locavore I suggest Hudson Chatham Wineries Seyval Blanc and Nettle Meadows Farm fresh goat cheese for these pairings. Both are products of Ghent, NY which is an up and comer for all things foodie in NY. Nettle Meadows also produces infused goat cheese with lavender/honey, herbs, cracked pepper and an addictive aged goat cheese that will nock your socks off.

Goat Cheese Truffle w/ roasted pistachios

1 cup fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese or quark
2 tablespoons Sauterne
1 sm. bunch white grapes
2 cups toasted pistachios chopped fine

Blend both cheeses together with Sauterne till smooth. Roll cheese mixture around individual grapes to form small round balls. Refrigerate for 20 min till firm and roll balls in chopped nut mixture to coat well. Arrange on a platter with baby arugula and melon as accompaniments. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead tightly covered with plastic wrap. Let warm slightly at room temp before serving.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Crustini

2 goat cheese logs
1 Quart Strawberries, hulled, sliced and quartered
1/2 cup Basil cut into ribbons
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
25 crustini

Toss strawberries, honey, basil and balsamic vinegar together and let sit for 15 min. Slice cheese into rounds and arrange on top of crustini. Top each crustini with strawberry mixture and sprinkle lightly with pepper. This mixture is also fabulous on top of a salad of baby greens.

Whether you choose to try this with NY or French wines/cheese it is a great pairing for those hot summer nights when lighter fare is needed. I know all I need is wine and cheese for the perfect meal anytime!

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