Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pairing Casa Noble Tequila with The Cheeses of Europe...Featuring My Citrus Tequila Smash Cocktail #TequilaFromage

Photograph provided by Casa Noble
Today is National Cheese Lovers Day, a day set aside to celebrate the greatness of cheese. I'm definitely a cheese lover -- it's one of my favorite cooking ingredients, and I love creating flavorful and creative cheese boards. I was recently invited to try a new-to-me pairing to celebrate National Cheese Lovers Day: Casa Noble Tequila and The Cheeses of Europe. Tequila may seem like a bit of an odd pairing for cheese at first. However, my tasting experience has made me a believer -- and I think your tastebuds will love the combination of Casa Noble Tequila with flavorful European cheeses too! I received three different Casa Noble tequilas and a sampling of European cheeses specially selected to pair together. I put together a simple, yet elegant cheese board to pair with the trio of Casa Noble tequilas. My European cheese board included sturdy crackers, glazed pecans, and plump red grapes.
I included labeled cards for each of the cheeses so my guests would easily know which cheese paired with which tequila. I provided glasses, and we began our tasting. We started with the mildest cheese, the Mimolette. We then worked our way around the board clockwise, increasing the strength of flavor as we went, until we ended our tasting with the bold Fourme d'Ambert. We paired the tequilas and cheeses as follows:
  • Casa Noble Crystal paired with Mimolette aka Boule de Lille. I created a fun and fruity cocktail with the Crystal, which paired very nicely with the mild Edam-inspired Mimolette.
  • Casa Noble Reposado paired with semi-soft Époisses. The full-bodied oak barrel-aged reposado paired very nicely with the pungent cheese. This cheese definitely has a very distinctive aroma, but the flavor isn't overly assertive. We were pleasantly surprised. 
  • Casa Noble Anejo paired with Fourme d'Ambert. This extra-aged tequila stood up nicely to the flavor of this creamy, mild blue cheese. I'm not normally a fan of blue cheese, but this cheese was super smooth and very nice spread on a sturdy cracker.
  • Bonus cheese: we also received Comte cheese, which we paired with both the Reposado and Anejo tequilas. The Comte is a firm, nutty cheese that reminded us of Swiss cheese. It was very pleasant to eat, especially with the crackers! 
For me, no cheese tasting is complete without a fun cocktail. For this party, I created my Citrus Tequila Smash. It's reminiscent of a margarita, but a bit more fruity thanks to the addition of a generous amount fresh orange juice.
Citrus Tequila Smash
a Weekend Gourmet original 
Ingredients (for each cocktail):
  • 2 ounces Casa Noble Tequila Blanco
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1 ounce grapefruit vodka
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) orange juice
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tbs. agave nectar or simple syrup
  • Crushed ice
Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain the cocktail into a wine glass or rocks glass. Add crushed ice and serve immediately.
This Citrus Tequila Smash is bursting with citrus flavor, but the citrus doesn't overpower the flavor of the tequila. It really shines through in this cocktail! This refreshing cocktail paired very nicely with the mild Mimolette, nuts, and grapes. If you're used to pairing wine with cheese, I hope you'll plan a tequila and cheese tasting soon! Cheese tastings are an excellent way to entertain, and your guests are sure to love Casa Noble tequilas paired with these flavorful Cheeses of Europe.

Disclosure: I received three bottles of Casa Noble tequila and four cheeses from The Cheeses of Europe to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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