Wine and cheese I get, because it’s traditional. I’ve been to so many tastings where the two are the main fixtures but on a rainy Tuesday evening by the Thames, I learned how well brandy and cheese pairs together too.
It’s the first time anyone has tried to pair brandy and cheese. A combination no one has thought of until now but in their infinite wisdom as experts, St Remy’s Master Blender – Cécile Roudaut and World’s Best Cheesemonger, Rodolphe Le Meunier have paired them together so beautifully in a new global collaboration.
As someone not particularly fond of brandy in general, St-Rémy’s offering is hard to dislike. Both brandies; St-Rémy VSOP and St-Rémy XO are quintessentially French. 100% French grapes, distilled in France, matured in France in French Oak and bottled in France. Both are smooth and easy to drink, which makes indulging so easy, that is until the power of its alcohol content sneaks up on you.
St-Rémy VSOP is amber-yellow in colour with golden highlights; its alcohol notes are quickly replaced with rich fruity aromas of cherry, gooseberry and wild strawberry. It has floral notes that subtly blend with the woody and vanilla tones of oak, creating an overall impression which is pleasing, harmonious and smooth.
On the palate, St-Rémy VSOP is round and smooth with fruity aromas and wood combining to produce an oaky vanilla finish. It’s excellent neat, on ice or in cocktails.
St-Rémy XO on the other hand is rich and a bit more complex with its luminous amber colour, tinted with subtle and rich red hues.
On the nose, it has delicate oak and vanilla aromas, layered with hints of ripe fruits and honey.
It has an intense and aromatic taste with subtle notes of wood and vanilla enriched with flavours of gingerbread, candied apricots, dates, figs and nuts. The taste is subtly spicy and offers a long
finish. It too, can be enjoyed neat, on ice or in classic cocktails.
St-Rémy and Cheese pairings to try
St-Rémy VSOP X Swiss Gruyere
Swiss Gruyere and St-Rémy VSOP both have delicate floral aromas so this unifies on the palate when paired together to form the perfect balance where neither is overpowered.
St-Rémy VSOP X Stilton
My favourite pairing of all is this. The creamy texture and tangy taste of Stilton perfectly balance the smoothness of St-Rémy VSOP. The strong flavours of the stilton are softened by the smoothness of St-Rémy VSOP creating a surprising gourmet treat.
St-Rémy VSOP X Camembert AOC
I wouldn’t call Camembert a favourite of mine but paired with brandy, it could easily be in my top two. On the one hand, St-Rémy VSOP softens the powerful taste of the Camembert while the soft and creamy texture of the cheese calms down the alcohol in St-Rémy VSOP.
St-Rémy XO x Old Mimolette
Old Mimolette is brittle and has a strong character with a slightly spicy note that pairs beautifully with St-Rémy XO. The pairing produces a long, full and complex taste that highlights the aromas of apricots, figs and dates in St-Rémy XO.
St-Rémy XO x Wood smoked Goat Cheese
Wood smoked Goat Cheese has a thick smooth texture with aromas of hazelnut which compliments the French oak maturation used in making St-Rémy XO so they pair beautifully together. Bringing out a long, complex yet balanced finish that brings out notes of dried fruits, apricot and almonds.
The saying ‘you don’t know what you’re missing’, comes to mind when I think about pairing brandy and cheese. These pairings are delicious and I can see them being tried with other brandies but St-Rémy did it first and foodies everywhere will be in their debt. St-Rémy is available at Waitrose and Ocado in the UK.