Monday marks the start of Fellow Traveler's and my new diet and exercise regimen, something we discussed at our recent retreat. We will be engaging in a friendly competition/mutual accountability plan as an incentive.
So last night we had a kind of last hurrah for holiday indulgence -- a wine and cheese supper. The wine was Gill's Pier Cheerio Cherry. Now, before you go "Eeuw..." -- if fruit wines make you think of teenage indiscretions involving Boone's Farm, or scary homemade concoctions that your elderly relatives used to pull out of the root cellar, be assured that this is delicious, sophisticated stuff. The Cheerio Cherry is mildly sweet but not syrupy; it has a smooth mouth feel comparable to a shiraz or merlot. It tastes like fresh sweet cherries, but with a bit of a tart cherry tang; and indeed, it's made with a mixture of both cherry varieties. It goes well with turkey, ham and pork...and chocolate...and, it turns out, with certain cheeses.
I made a cheese board with little dibs and dabs of cheeses we had on hand, plus a couple of samples we recently bought at Eastman Party Store in Midland: some Michigan-made raclette from our trip up north; some Tilamook cheddar; blue Stilton; and a bit of Carr Valley cranberry chipotle white cheddar -- one of those oddball artisan cheeses that we saw in the Eastman cheese case and thought, "Well, why not?"
Our conclusion: The best-tasting cheese accompaniments for cherry wine were the raclette (surprisingly, I thought); the Stilton; and -- real surprise -- the cranberry chipotle cheddar. It's hard to describe this cheese; it starts out mild and smoky, and then the heat kicks in -- not a mouth-blistering heat, but enough capsicum to make your scalp tingle -- and then a finish of cranberry tart-sweetness.
So, anyway -- that's our final foodie splurge until Christmas. It was a pretty good supper, overall.