In the Kitchen: Autumn Seasonal Foods

(WTNH)– Chef Educator and Owner of Global Local Gourmet Nadine Nelson shows us how to host a wine and cheese tasting showcasing Autumn’s seasonal foods.

When the air turns cool and the trees blaze with color, it’s time to fill up your basket and taste the autumn harvest. Fall is the time to taste the farmers bounty. When grapes and crops come into fool bloom. Few food and drink combinations are as festive, exciting, and romantic as the age old pairing of cheese and wine. When put together, cheese and wine add up to more than just food and drink; they are an experience.

So what better way to enjoy the experience of cheese and wine than to have a party that puts these classics center stage? It’s very easy since all you need is cheese, wine, and a few accompaniments. And, because there’s no last-minute cooking, you get to enjoy the party from start to finish along with your guests.

The wine-cheese pairing possibilities are endless, but to simplify the strategy, we can divide cheese into four major categories:
-Bloomy: Creamy, decadent cheeses, with a soft rind.
-Hard: Stiff cheeses, which are often sharp and/or salty. They can also be aged.
-Blue: Pungent, often salty cheeses, with a blue tinge.
-Fresh: Soft, often spreadable cheeses that can be tangy or mild. They are not usually aged.

If you have a specific cheese in mind, first contemplate the category it belongs to. You can then consult our wine and cheese pairing examples for ideas. Just as with any food pairing, it helps to think of either complementary or contrasting flavors. A lush wine works well with a triple-cream cheese, while an acidic wine will cut the cheese’s sweetness. As you begin to experiment, taste the cheese first by itself, to get a sense of its character, and then put another bite into your mouth with some wine to see how they mingle. Many experts say that white tends to pair better with cheese, but a light-bodied red and cheese pairing is still possible.

From apples to sweet potatoes, autumn’s bumper crop of fruits and vegetables offer a range of intense flavors and substantial textures – onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, beets , apples, pears, and more unusual produce like fennel make good condiments to go with your wine and cheese tasting. We will make a non traditional but tasty hummus form the South of France using fennel and chickpeas. Often mistaken for celery or dill, fennel is a true original. All parts of the plant (the bulb, stalk, and feathery fronds) are edible. It originated in the Mediterranean and those cultures have long used it for culinary and medicinal reasons. With the flavor of sweet anise and licorice, fennel is divine raw or cooked.

Global Local Gourmet is an interactive culinary event company which specializes in culinary education. They use food as a catalyst to provide services like cooking classes, culinary tours, team building events, wellness workshops, and experiential epicurean occasions.

Nelson is curating series of interactive cooking events all over the city for Project Storefronts a program through the New Haven Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism. She just finished a pop brunch that lasted three Sundays in Ninth square and she seeks to continue to create visitor destinations in formerly empty spaces in order to derive new consumers into underutilized areas, increasing foot traffic and business to not only these spaces but neighboring ones as well. As part of the series Nelson will be doing tasting events with wine, cheese and other artisnal foods like honey and olive oil. She will also be doing a passport cooking series teaching about foods around the world including France, Italy, Vietnam and many other cuisines. The new series with details will be launched later in October.

For more information, go to www.globallocalgourmet.com.

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