Do you feel like you could take a sip? Tempting, isn’t it.
When it gets as hot as it has been, I don’t like to turn on the oven. Removing things from the fridge on the other hand, that I can do. I had some Fruli Strawberry Wheat beer chilling and had been planning on doing a cheese pairing. No time like the hottest day ever. Fruli is a Belgian fruit beer that is fermented with 30% real strawberries. It’s also scented with coriander and orange peel. If you find beer too bitter but cocktails too cloying, this might just hit the sweet spot. It’s refreshing and easy to drink (and only 125 calories per bottle–ideal during bathing suit season, unless you have a wrap, in which case go for it with the iced Frappucinos).
The Fruli is fruity, sweet, with a soft carbonation and a little bit of tang. A classic pairing would be to serve chevre, with it’s creamy texture and smooth acidity. But I wanted to indulge myself. (Hey, if the beer’s only 125 calories…)
I treated myself to a wheel of La Tur which is also a bright, tangy cheese (aged about 10-15 days before hitting the market) with a buttery mouthfeel. Made in Piedmont, Italy, it has a wrinkled bloomy rind and ripens from outside in, usually firm in the centre. There is an earthyness to the cheese and mushroom notes at the rind which worked nicely with the natural fruit flavour of the beer.
The Fruli’s bubbles cleansed the palate between bites–allowing me to enjoy what is a fairly rich cheese for a humid, hot day. The sweetness of the strawberry beer contrasted nicely with the tang of the wedge. This combination would make a great finish to a special meal. (Or just at any time of day–like Tuesday at 4:17 pm).
Ricotta Salata (salata means salty) was my second pairing. This is a sheep’s milk ricotta which is pressed and aged about 3 months giving it a firm, slightly spongy texture. The salt-factor was a perfect counterpoint to the sweet flavours of the beer but the cheese itself was mellow and milky so didn’t overpower the Fruli. This cheese goes well with grilled veggies and I think the strawberry wheat beer, this ricotta, fresh bread and some grilled zucchini would make a fine, fine meal.
Also a very portable and picnic friendly match–cheese in one hand, Fruli in the other. Someone rubbing sunblock on your shoulders. That’s the life.