Throughout the month of April, The Independent will feature “Fare Pairs,” highlighting food and beverage combinations on the East End.
It’s a pair as old as time. Wine and cheese pairings date back hundreds of years throughout Europe. This culinary tradition has turned into an art form within itself, each region throughout the world boasting a unique varietal of grapes to match locally sourced dairy. Fortunate for East Enders, Long Island Wine Country sits in our own backyard, and we are nothing short of our own mixed masterpieces.
On April 21, from 4:30 to 5:30 PM, The Old Field Vineyard, 59600 Main Road, Southold, will host a wine and cheese pairing with Perry Bliss, co-winemaker and general manager of The Old Field, and Jessica Affatato, owner of Harbor Cheese & Provisions. This session will include four Old Fields wines: a 2009 Blanc de Noir sparkling wine, a 2016 barrel-fermented chardonnay, a 2014 cabernet franc, and a 2010 commodore perry merlot.
“I feel like these wines showcase our Long Island wine terroir. We sometimes rotate our wines with new releases and the changing seasons,” Bliss explained. With the weather warming up, and cravings gearing towards the sea, Bliss continued, “So many foods can be paired with these wines! Local oysters and strawberries always go great with sparkling wine and chardonnay. Try a smoked lobster with our cabernet franc and a grilled pork chop with our merlot.”
Affatato feels the same, as she changes the cheeses every tasting to go along with the season. The food pairing will be showcasing raw milk cheeses to celebrate Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day, on April 21. In addition, guests can try an aged, Dutch knuckle cheese made from raw milk from brown Swiss cows at Sugarhouse Creamery, a husband and wife team based in the Adirondacks.
Envision a 26-pound wheel with hints of nutty, hay, and field notes.
“Harbor Cheese is proud to focus on small artisanal and farmstead cheese producers, both domestic and foreign,” Affatato said. “I also get to help customers discover new favorites, and help other customers find the right product for them. Wine and cheese are both, at their heart, an expression of the land from which they came. Those notes of creation really shine through their production.
When you encounter a well-made wine or cheese, it is complex and nuanced.”
“I get to wake up on this magical property that hasn’t changed in at least 100 years, work the land, and make a beautiful product, from start to finish,” Bliss said. “Not too many people these days get to do that. And I get to do it with my family by my side. It is pretty perfect.”
To celebrate 100 years of family ownership, on July 14, the vineyard will host its Centennial Celebration, an evening to be enjoyed on the great lawn by the bay with hors d’oeuvres and wine. In addition, those interested can sign up for a mozzarella making class with Affatato on April 26.
The price for the pairing is $45 each for Wine Club Members and $50 for Non-Members. To sign up, visit www.theoldfield.com. To learn more about cheese, visit www.harborcheese.com.