Join Danielle as she plans a wine and cheese party with organic cheeses and wines, and as she learns about wine and cheese pairings with Kimberly Koharki, the Director of Programming at the Astor Center in Manhattan. (Nick Scott/MNN)
Danielle: First, I just want to show you one way you can present your wine and cheese table. All my bread and cheese are displayed on these sustainable chopping blocks, which you can get at Tools for Living, which are gorgeous and super hardy. For the bread, we chose an organic San Francisco sourdough and an organic sunflower flax sourdough. For the cheese, we have an organic dill havarti and an organic olive bianca, which is a soft cheese; the organic edemer and an organic aged alpine.
Danielle: This décor took ten minutes to do. Just cut some flowers, place them around. I stuck some organic baby’s breath in some open bottles of wine I had just laying around from another night. And here’s just a selection of organic wines that we used for the display.
Danielle: We’re here with Kimberly Koharki at Astor Center. She’s the director of programming here. Kimberly’s gonna talk to us a little bit about organic and biodynamic wines, and help us pair with some of these delicious cheeses. And then we’ll be on our way to our wine and cheese cocktail party.
Kimberly: So at its face level, organic wine simply means that the grapes were grown in a very sustainable healthy way. There were no chemical fertilizers or pesticides or herbicides used. And what’s meant to happen is the vineyard is supposed to encourage a natural environment with healthy natural pests as opposed to –
Kimberly: - chemical fertilizers.
Danielle: So you are the wine woman who we trust. So if you could tell us a little bit – I see you've selected a few different wines to talk about and you knew what cheeses we have. So, if you can just kind of –
Kimberly: So I’ll start at the beginning. With wine and cheese pairing, you want to think about the cheese first, in my opinion, ‘cause that’s sort of the main component. So we’ll start with the olive. That’s a really creamy, fresh, soft cheese. And in my opinion, that pairs well with something like Sancerre, which is a really minerally fresh wine from Loire Valley in France. It’s a sauvignon blanc. So what that’s gonna do is cut through all of the fat of the cheese and just cleanse your palette.
Kimberly: So next with the alpine cheese, that would be very well paired with something like this. And this is from Burgundy and it is again a certified organic wine and natural. And this is aged with a little bit of oak. So you get a much rounder, creamier, almost toasty mouth feel. And that works best with something that is itself a little bit rounder and more intense and sort of nutty. It echoes the flavors in this wine.
Kimberly: Something like this, this is also from Loire Valley. It’s a Cabernet Franc. And it’s a rich rustic red. And that is a great way to go with cheese pairing. Because cheeses tend to be really salty and really fatty, and this wine can stand up to the fat but cut through the salt. There’s great acidity in it.
Danielle: That’s gonna help me for sure. And hopefully all the viewers.
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Danielle Venokur, creator of a Manhattan-based sustainable event planning company, hosts MNN's "The Green Party." In this series, Danielle offers her easy and elegant ideas for hosting intimate gatherings and big events in an eco-friendly way. Danielle has mastered the art of blending stylish and hip while being sustainable and responsible. You can learn about her party style by looking at other chapters of "The Green Party" video series.