Ignorance is not always bliss. Sometimes bliss comes from learning. I remember wondering, in my youth, what the appeal of wine was. I remember believing that cheese was the powder that came in the box of macaroni. Now I’m older and wiser, and fatter and drunker.
Learning about wine and cheese, like learning about jazz, is easy and deeply rewarding. It just takes a lot of exposure. A quick way to get a lot of exposure is to attend something like the Wine and Cheese Show in Toronto this weekend.
There are countless paths into the twin gardens of wine and cheese. Options are almost endless. When John Cleese finds his first three requests unavailable at the cheese shop, he asks for 40 other kinds, and that’s just the tip of the Jarlsberg. I think it is very likely that Monty Python‘s “Cheese Shop” sketch was what prompted me to begin exploring cheese.
Here are some cheesy words you may not need…
- Umami: The fifth taste. The word is Japanese, but what it describes is universal, that distinctive flavour that isn’t sweet, salty, sour or bitter. It’s that savoury taste of, amongst other things, cheese.
- Sommelier: wine expert
- Oenophile: wine lover
- Cheesemonger: sells cheese
- Affineur: maintains, ripens and ages cheese
- Fromager: cheese expert
- Caseophile or turophile: cheese lover
To read some other tips I’ve picked up over the past quarter century of self-indulgence, please read this short piece I wrote for Post City. http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Eat/March-2012/The-Wine-and-Cheese-Show-is-in-town-Herewith-a-crash-course-in-becoming-a-connoisseur/