The big cheese | Drink | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

The big cheese

In a pairing challenge to rule them all, Simon Thibault asked four wineries what to drink with these locally-produced cheeses.

1. Quark, from Fox Hill Cheese House
A tangy, eastern European spreadable cheese
Beatrice Stutz is playful with the quark, mixing it with chocolate and serving it with Grand Pré's Dolce Vita Red Dessert Wine, while L'Acadie's Bruce Ewert suggests either his Vintage Cuvée Rose or Prestige Brut. Benjamin Bridge's Jean-Benoit Deslauriers is also a proponent of effervescence with quark. "Fine, delicate cheeses require proportional elegance in its paring partner," he says. "The Brut 2008 will respect the understated qualities of the quark, thanks in part to its finesse."

2. Old Growler, from That Dutchman's Cheese Farm
A well-aged (over a year) and slightly crumbly gouda
Benjamin Bridge's Deslauriers suggests their 2011 Brut Rosé because "It's the perfect companion for the sharpness of the old growler. Its delicate effervescence and smoky notes combine for great compatibility." Over at Domaine de Grand Pré, Stutz leaves the grapes behind and recommends snacking on the cheese with pecans and sliced apples, served with its Pomme D'or dessert wine, made from apples.

3. Chèvre, from Ran-Cher Acres
A simple, creamy and classic goat's milk cheese
Blomidon Estate Winery's winemaker, Simon Rafuse, believes that Ran-Cher Acres' chèvre would best be suited with their 2014 Unoaked Chardonnay. "The classic citrus and tree fruit aromas of the wine get you thinking 'fresh.' And the lively acidity would be a great complement to the tang of the cheese." Ewert says that the fine mousse and toasty notes of of L'Acadie Vineyards' Prestige Brut Estate would be a great fit for this goat cheese.

4. Urban Blue, from Blue Harbour Cheese
A double cream blue, similar to gorgonzola
Stutz suggests serving Urban Blue with Grand Pré's Riesling Icewine, while Rafuse suggests Blomidon Estate's Vin De Paille, a dessert wine made from chardonnay. "We dried the grapes for two months, before pressing the juice," he says. "The wine fermented and aged in an old oak barrel for two years. The wine itself is a rich, golden brown, with raisin-y notes, honey and peach aromas." L'Acadie's Ewert leans towards appassimento reds, such as his Passito or Alchemy.

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