This weekend I get to do one of my most favorite things again: Cheese War! Again, at Bacchus Wijnfestival, or in the Lion’s Den in Amsterdamse Bos, one hundred people get to enjoy four cheeses paired to wine and beer, and decide which pairs best – three times during the weekend!Beer and cheese is of course a classic combination, but it has been forgotten about for far too long. On the wings of the increasing interest in tasty brews, a renewed appreciation and rediscovery of beer as a companion at any table has taken off. Many festivals nowadays can’t do without having beer feature in one way or another: paired to burgers, fish, in cocktails – or with cheese. And for those of you still unfamiliar with the concept:
- The ‘cheese girls’ of Fromagerie Kef selected four classy cheeses
- The experts of Wijnkoperij Okhuysen carefully chose four perfect wines to pair
- Fer Kok (brew master and co-founder of Amsterdam’s De Prael brewery) and yours truly searched long and hard for the best beers
- The audience gets to try all combinations and chooses a winner per cheese
- Et voilà!
A taste sensation can be so easy – and believe me, all eight pairings will be winners! Wine will win a few, beer will triumph the next time. The Cheese Wars we’ve ‘fought’in recent years actually showed there is no real winner: beer and wine both pair perfectly, really. Both have their unique characteristics (beer has cleansing gas, wines bring warming tannins) triggering their own mouthwatering effects on the cheeses. Last year, for example, IJ Wit by Brouwerij ‘t IJ revealed a whole new dimension in a Brie de Meaux that brought tears to Xavier Kat’s eyes (he is the ‘champion’ for wine, as Fer Kok is for beer).
That said, if your calendar for this weekend shows blanks, consider dropping by. Friday from 17:00 until 17:45 and Saturday-Sunday from 15:45 until 16:30, in ‘Winelife Winebar’ at Bacchus Wijnfestival, I’ll be hosting Fer, Xavier and Kef’s Marike – plus three-hundred lucky participants in Cheese War. And then there’s all the other tasty activities at the Festival. See you!