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Le Cordon Bleu News, 05/28/2009
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by Stephan Lublin


Stephan Lublin is an American student following Le Grand Diplôme program at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. His professional project is to become a culinary journalist and in this article he shares his food and wine discoveries.

" I’m sure people come to Paris, the city of love, for all sorts of reasons. From the beautiful architecture, the abundance of history, and the dozens of museums, Paris remarkably has something to offer everyone.

For me, and I have a feeling for many of my classmates, it was for the food and wine. And by some divine miracle, many wines and foods are perfect for each other. A match made in heaven, if you believe in that sort of thing. One of the most simple, yet mind blowing pairings I’ve been introduced to, was in the Essential Wines class at Le Cordon Bleu not long after coming to France.

The teacher of the class, Monsieur Allix, poured a Sancerre Blanc into each of our glasses and asked us to take a sip. He then instructed us to take a small bite of goat cheese, which was served in class. “They should compliment and not overpower one another, so you can’t even tell which you tasted first,” he explained.

Like magic, the wine and cheese melded together into one balanced and harmonious chord. From then on, I was on a hunt to find other matches. The hunt wasn’t difficult at all, as I went on a day trip to the Loire Valley. My accomplices and I were on a wine tasting mission and our first, and favorite cave of the trip was the winery Marc Brédif. After a tour of the caves, we were led to a tasting room where an array of wines and cheeses were set out. Of the wine and cheese pairings we were offered, a few stood out to me.

The first was Brédif Brut, a non-vintage sparkling Vouvray with Vacherin Mont D’or, a very ripe oozing cow’s milk cheese. The delicate summertime apricot flavors in the wine blended with the luscious, melting cheese, creating an almost viennoiserie flavor sensation. Next, was the 2003 Chinon Réserve Privée paired with an ewe’s milk cheese named Ossau-Iraty. This strong and spicy red with the buttery hazelnut flavored cheese tasted like I ought to be sitting in front of a fire escaping the winter’s cold. It was my favorite combination of the visit. The tasting concluded with a Vouvray Moelleux, a sweet, almost syrupy white wine, tasting of honey and quince. It was deliciously sweet without exhausting the palate. Accompanied by a blue cheese, Fourme d’Ambert, with notes of mushrooms and fruit, it was a perfect accompaniment to the wine. We all asked for a second tasting, and nearly finished the half-sized bottle and all of the cheese for our tasting.

We caught a train back to Paris after dinner and returned to the surreal city that it is. The hunt continues, along with a new hobby I’ve picked up. With each cuisine practical’s dish I bring home, I take suggestions for pairings from my local wine shop. The best so far has been a 2002 Saint-Estèphe with Intermediate lesson #24: Sautéed rumpsteak, celery flan, truffle sauce and potatoes in goose fat. The combination was stunningly perfect. If I ever have trouble finding new combinations though, I know I can always return to the pairing I was shown in wine class when I first moved to “the city of love,” Sancerre and goat’s cheese. May they live happily ever after ".

For more information about Le Cordon Bleu Wine and Spirits program please click here.

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Le Cordon Bleu Paris
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75015 Paris - France
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NOTE: Excessive consumption of alcohol is dangerous to your health. Please consume in moderation.

Stephan Lublin
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