The best of McLaren Vale was on show today at the annual McLaren Vale Harvest Festival. Held at McLaren Vale oval, festival goers enjoyed local world class wines, delicious gourmet food, music and art. Patrons had the chance to channel their inner master chef by attending cooking classes held by top cooks in the region. There was Celebrity Wine Spitting and Celebrity Bottling, and plenty of activities to keep the kids busy. One of classes on offer during the festival was Wine and Cheese Master Class. Adelaide Food Central was invited to experience one of these classes with all food and drink being provided free of charge.
The Wine and Cheese Master Class at Harvest Festival was run by Cheese-A-Holics and Gemtree Wines. Each participant was given a small board and knife, along with generous portions of four cheeses and crackers.
We started off with the Delice de Cremiers, a rich indulgent triple cream cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk. The cheese is made in Burgundy France, in the champagne region, and has a rind that gives off a flowery aroma. The interior is earthy, creamy and buttery, and is quite the opposite to the lively nature of the 2016 April’s Dance sparkling.
The Quickes Goat cloth bound cheddar is a sophisticated cheese made from goat’s milk that has been specifically grass fed. It was a vibrant and creamy cheddar with a luxurious butter flavour. The cheese was matched with 2016 Moonstone Savignin which had fresh, lively and zesty characteristics from nose to palate. The wine was clean and light with good natural acidity, and you could taste notes of lemon, lime and granny smith apples. An easy to drink wine that matches perfectly with the cheddar.
The Pyengana Cheddar is made from cow’s milk and is bound in an English style cloth and aged for 16-24 months. The cheese has an open texture, crumbly with reminiscent flavours of summer grass, herbs and honey. The cheese was matched with 2016 Luna de Fresa Tempranillo which has beautiful aromas of strawberry. The wine is light and dry with a lovely creamy texture. Opposites attract when it comes to wine and cheese, and this a great example.
Last but not least was the Reggiano. Known as the “king of cheeses”, this product is protected by the Italian government and can only be made between 1st April and 11th November using milk from specific Italian regions. The cheese is aged for a minimum of two years and is a feast for the senses. It has a lovely grainy texture and you can hear the crunch of salt in your mouth. The cheese was matched with the 2015 Phantom Red Blend Six, which like the cheese is a flavour explosion. The front palate experiences something that is rich and round, the middle palate produces a fruity sweetness while the back palate will bring out the tannins.
With packed crowds at the Harvest Festival, a group of 30 of us enjoyed the science behind wine and cheese pairing. Cheese-A-Holics are opening up a cheese bar at Plant 4 Bowden in late February. They also conduct cheese and wine classes, as well as have their own club and monthly newsletter. More information can be found at www.cheeseaholics.net. As for the wine we had, it was all very palatable and went down a treat. You can order Gemtree Wines at www.gemtreewines.com.
Adelaide Food Central would like to thank Harvest Festival McLaren Vale, Cheese-A-Holics, Gemtree Wines, and Girl About Town for inviting us up there. The perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
WHERE: Park Drive, McLaren Vale