If you read this site even semi-regularly then you’ll realise I tend to be quite the sociable type. Between review meals, helping organise food festivals, keeping Baby Fork socialised and being an active participant in the York Bar Billiards League, I tend to have quite a few demands on my time and I thoroughly enjoy all the networking and chatting that those demands put at my disposal. That being the case, the lockdown has been something of a shock to the system (not to mention a massive impediment to most of those activities) so I’ve been craving the opportunity for social interaction, something I’ll be eternally grateful to Love Cheese for providing via their second virtual cheese and wine tasting that took place last weekend.
Love Cheese has been serving top quality cheese to the people of York for over half a decade now and has earned a place in the heart of many of the city’s residents thanks to a sharp combination of service, quality and a friendly cafe. In common with many other York businesses though the current situation calls for a a good chunk of lateral thinking, so they’ve taken to the internet to start delivering wine & cheese evenings that pair the comfort of your own home with their quality produce against a back drop of knowledge from Harry, the self styled Love Cheese “Big Cheese”.
We signed up without hesitation, thinking that £40 for a couple seemed perfectly reasonable for a selection of 5 paired cheeses and wines delivered to the front door. These arrived as promised the day before the event was due to take place, giving me plenty of time to figure out if I could come up with 10 presentable wine glasses and what constituted essentials to augment the cheese in as far as our permitted shopping sorties allowed.
It’s relatively easy to find time for indulgence in this lock down but little in the way of a sense of occasion to match, so I was very happy to make this an evening staring at the laptop with a more productive outcome than the usual aimless browsing. I lined up some cured meats, olives, crackers and a Tommy Banks chicory & onion jam to go with the cheeses and wines, leaving us ready to join the webcast in anticipation of getting stuck into our evening’s treats. I must confess that, while compulsive, Ritz crackers perhaps weren’t the most appropriate accompaniment to such good produce but that’s all I could find in the cupboard and I didn’t want to push the definition of ‘essential’ far enough to justify a trip for crackers.
Harry broadcast his tasting instructions across Facebook, a platform that gives the opportunity to get interactive and chat via text with both the Big Cheese himself and fellow participants, something I was very happy to take advantage of with a number of friends also joining. The five pairings showed off bubbles, white wine, rosé, red wine and port against cheeses ranging from Pecorino to Baron Bigod and Bleu D’auveurgne. The opening cheese of the evening was a very soft Baron Bigod that in my case was ripe to the point of making a (very literal) run for it. With a quality Prosecco to enjoy alongside it, the scene was set for an hour or so’s cheese related indulgence. Richard III Wensleydale with a light, white Bacchus came next before a Rosé gave pecorino a chance to shine before a finish of soft blue against a Cotes Du Rhone. Breaking those up was a penultimate pairing of a cheddar like Doddington with a Tawny Port that rivalled the opening Bigod/fizz delight for appreciative noises.
Aside from a brief hiccup with the webcast at the start of the event, the evening went without a hitch, doing exactly what it set out to do in providing a convincing impression of socialising in hard times. I’d expected nothing other than top quality from Love Cheese and Harry didn’t let us down, delivering a series of great cheeses and wines that set us up for a tremendous evening and demonstrated that we can still enjoy great food and drink with company in these strange days.