Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cheese and Wine Tasting at Artisanal

Artisanal Premium Cheese Center - 500 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
A/C/E Train to 34th Street or 42nd Street

Four of my girlfriends, Rikki, Katie, Julie, Janel and I took a really fun and educational Cheese and Wine 101 Class at Artisanal last Saturday. Aside from doing something different with friends and pretending to be grownups, we learned about various cheeses and how to pair them with wine.

Our Setup
The class included a fun welcome reception with snacks and champagne. I think that it was meant to be a meet-and-greet with fellow classmates but first impressions could be awkward and everyone hung out with people they knew. After that, we walked into a classroom-style setting, fully stocked with individual cheese plates and four types of wines for everyone. To say that we felt a little woozy after sampling the wine is an understatement--but no surprise there. We did pay $60 to drink and eat cheese for two hours--not a bad deal. Note that this class actually costs $75 but if you book it with a group of four or more you get a $15 break for each person.

Our Instructor
Our instructor was a lovely man by the name of Max McCalman. He's a cheese extraordinaire and author of two respected books called, The Cheese Plate and Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best. He's got a great sense of humor, more than once telling us that the only thing left after good cheese is good sex. I doubt he's wrong!

Our Cheese
We tried 8 different types of cheeses, which spanned from a luxurious silky brie to a stinky Swiss Beer cheese. My favorite was called the Old Kentucky Tomme, which is a goat's milk cheese with mushroom overnotes. It has a smoky taste, which might be nice to crumble into a salad.

Our Wine
An offering of 2 whites and 2 reds was what we got with our cheese plate. From an '06 Gruner Veltliner from Austria (gentle and dry white) to an '00 Tempranillo from Spain (a dense fruity red), each had a distinct taste before and after the various cheeses. It was fun to observe how the taste of the wine changed on your tongue after each cheese--sometimes intensified and sometimes dulled.

Overall, the tasting was great experience for everyone. We bonded whether by agreeing about a particular cheese and wine pairing or getting grossed out about a cheese's "unique" smell. I can also see it being a fun thing to do with couples.

Interested in joining the next one?
Click here


  1. Nice! I'd totally do something like this. I noticed that your post said the 101 class was 60 bucks, but the Artisanal website now says it's 75...did they raise their prices that quickly?

  2. Good question. The class is $75 but if you get a group of 4 or more together to book at once, you get a $15 break. I will add that to the post so it's not confusing.



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