For the Love of Cheese & Beer

And so another year has come and gone, and here we are in 2017. Though many were glad to see 2016 off, I realized our 2016 was actually pretty great: we bought a house, did lots of traveling, and spent time with lots of the people we love. With the onset of the new year, many people choose to make resolutions. I, however, do not like the word “resolution;” that implies there was a problem to begin with. I prefer the term “goal,” and I made several goals for this new year:

  • eat less school food
  • read more
  • blog more (no more 4 month hiatus)
  • practice trombone more (get new books, try new solos)
  • eat at our dining room table more
  • exercise 3-4 times per week (volunteered to be a buddy for the Girls on the Run 5K)
  • limit alcohol to one glass on weeknights
  • eat slower
  • stop worrying about weight and focus on being healthy and feeling good

I tried my best to keep all my goals on the positive side and focus on things I want to do more of and add to my lifestyle, rather than cutting things out.

Tonight, however, I definitely did not stick to my one glass of alcohol per night goal, since Hubster and I went to a beer and cheese dinner at our local Wegmans. Four courses of pairings of delicious food and beer from Stone Brewing Company. Hubster and I agreed that we hadn’t had a proper date night in a while, so this was the perfect excuse to go spend an evening together. When we arrived, they offered us sparkling water along with soft pretzels and sopressetta with cheese and mustard dipping sauces. The meal started with a flight of beers paired with a flight of cheeses. Wegmans was featuring their cave ripened cheeses, which are distinct to their stores. We started on the right with their “Winter in Italy” cheese (coated in a juniper wash) paired with Stone’s traditional IPA. Stone’s beers are definitely on the hoppy side, which is not always my favorite, but the pairings were excellently chosen. Then we moved to a Hudson Valley Camembert, which was super earthy and creamy, paired with a coffee milk stout (how cute is that little beer stein??). Now, I don’t normally like stouts or toasty coffee beers, but this was definitely something I could drink on a regular basis. Lastly, we had my personal favorite, a Tarentaise, which was firmer than the first two cheeses and slightly nutty, paired with Stone’s “Who You Callin’ Wussie” pilsner. These were all accompanied by the usual cheese plate palette cleansers: dried apricots, dried cherries, and almonds.Each of the dishes in our following courses featured one of the cheese course cheeses. We first moved on to the appetizer: a roasted fennel and marinated beet salad with Winter in Italy crostini and citrus vinaigrette. This was paired with the Stone Delicious, which is their reduced gluten IPA. I’m not a huge fan of fennel (I don’t really like the licorice flavor), but the beets were delicious and paired well with the cheese and crostini.Dinner course was a NY strip steak with herb butter, charred broccolini (which Hubster liked, but I did not care for), and a savory bread pudding made with the Tarentaise. The steak was delicious, and the bread pudding was beautifully concocted with crispy edges and a soft interior. Dinner’s beer was the Arrogant Bastard dark ale, which was not super hoppy and picked up the nutty notes of the cheese well.Dessert was by far my favorite, and the only course where I completely cleaned my plate. The Hudson Valley Camembert was warmed to a lovely gooey consistency and served with cinnamon sugar puff pastry and a pear and walnut compote. Other than the walnuts being a bit over toasted, this dessert was utter perfection. Everything about it just melded so well and paired with the Ruination double IPA (which was a bit too hoppy for me), made for a beautiful end to the meal.For the price we paid for this experience, we definitely got our money’s worth; four courses, and alcohol was more than included. We were very stuffed to the gills by the time we finished, and were exposed to some truly delicious new edible options. 10/10, would do again, would highly recommend.

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