We were very excited and very honored: The fabulous “crazyfrenchwoman” Isabelle Légéron (MW!) took her RAWfair of natural wines and vignérons to Berlin, to Markthalle Neun (where else?!)! Obviously, we had to live up to the occasion, here on the eastern outskirts of the continent (as the good people in London, the RAWfair home town, see our situation). Heinzelcheese had teamed up with the highly knowlegeable Alex Zülch from Vins Vivants to explore with you the pairing of natural wines with natural cheeses.
What are natural wines – those of you who tasted happily along during the RAW will have a much better idea now. “Nothing added, nothing taken away” is how some winegrowers put it. The grapes are grown the most natural way possible: “More than organic” somebody at the wonderful Ten Bells (natural) wine bar in NYC’s Lower East Side wrote down for me very late one night. Alex has been offering an expert selection of “living” wines for years and introduced us to some of his favorites.
What is natural cheese? Same game: no legal definition, not even a well established term. But taking clues from natural wine, it should be made from the best untreated, raw milk using the most natural methods, including the rennet. Heinzelcheese had put an international selection of that very special stuff on our good old table opposite the Markthalle’s wine stall…
We started with the Chiascuro from Seresin Estate in New Zealand, which Leah Seresin paired with a very nicely matured Lincolnshire Poacher – both showed aromas that reminded us of dried pineapple. Then we moved on to France with Alex, and Italy for the cheese: Montébore comes from Val di Giarolo in the utmost southeast of Piedmont, and dates back to the 15th century. Then Évora from Portugal, Alpe Loch from Bregenzerwald/Austria, two sheep’s milk cheeses from Rancho Frontiera in Mazury/Poland, Burduf from Romania… all these cheeses, and the wines Alex poured and explained to us, were full of character, but not necessarily loud. The final red, Clos Cristal from the Loire very quietly told us a fascinating story, about raw and natural. Thank you, Heinzelcheese friends, for your openness. See you all soon and cheesio always.
HeinzelCheeseTalks take place regularly, usually on a Friday at 6pm at Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I bring some interesting cheese, open a few bottles of wine, and we sit around the large table opposite the Suff wine stall, tasting, drinking, talking, discussing (mostly in German – but we usually manage to cater to English speakers too). Invites are sent out about ten days before we meet, to a mailing list you can join here. Reservations need to be confirmed and are strictly by first come first serve – so be quick! And please do let me know if you can’t make it after all – there is always a waiting list. A donation of ten euros per person (or one or two euros more if you really had a lot of fun…) is much appreciated. Cheesio!