On Tuesday, February 20, a group of six NOVA culinary students, accompanied by Chef Mike Herbert, visited Cheesetique, a specialty gourmet cheese shop and restaurant in Alexandria.
Front of the House Manager Scott Freestone conducted a wonderful presentation about cheeses, which included a description of the cheeses, the moisture content, fat content, country of origin, production standards and protocols, and how the cheese is aged and stored. Scott emphasized how quality cheesemakers use only the finest quality cow, goat, or sheep’s milk, and whether the milk is raw or pasteurized. He explained what differentiates a soft cheese from a semi-firm and a firm cheese. Scott also set out samples for tasting, including a soft goat’s milk Rondin aux Fleur from the Loire Valley in France and a cow’s milk Brie de Nangis from France. The semi-firm cheeses included a cow’s milk Vento d’Estate from Italy and a sheep’s milk Paski Sir from Croatia. Featured in the firm cheese category were a seven-year vintage cow’s milk cheddar from Quebec and the cow’s milk Swiss Emmentaler AOP. Rounding out this variety was sheep’s milk Serra de Estrela from Portugal, an English Colston – Basset Stilton with cow’s milk, and a cow’s milk Gres des Vosges from France.
Scott answered questions from the students about cheese making, cheese purchasing, cheese storing, how to pair different wines with certain cheeses, and how to present cheeses for tastings. Everyone agreed that it was an informative and enlightening endeavor, and left the event full and happy!