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Cheese Plates, Charcuterie…and Orange Wine?

img_0618On a drizzly fall evening, Stephanie, Eilis, and I schlepped through Cambridge to visit central bottle wine + provisions, and let me tell you, it was worth braving the weather.

After a brief tour of the facilities, we were entertained with three separate wine and cheese pairings. Cabra La Mancha, an aged goat’s milk cheese with an unbelievable texture, was paired with a 2011 Muscadet. My favorite cheese of the three, the buttery and luscious Kind of Blue from Woodcock Farms, was paired with a sweet 2005 Vouvray. Finally, a garlicky, creamy Fromage Fort made from cheese odds and ends topped a soft baguette, and was paired with a 2011 Lagrein Rosé.

From the shop, we took a short cruise to their sister restaurant, belly wine bar. Central bottle’s cheesemonger Stephanie accompanied us, and arranged a cheese plate here as well. The cheeses available at belly are labeled with descriptors instead of names, in an effort to make cheese selection accessible to the average patron. Among my favorites of the spread were Delice de Bourgogne or “Butter,” Willoughby or “Funk,” and Sweet Emotions or “Whole.” As you may have noticed, I’m a sucker for any ripe, gooey cheese.

We were also presented with rich, house-made charcuterie, cheese accompaniments, and two unique orange wines. What’s orange wine? I know, I was hesitant too. These uniquely colored wines are whites fermented like reds, and happen to pair perfectly with cheese. They’re astringent, and even a bit rough on their own, but when enjoyed with a fatty hunk of cheese they strike a perfect balance.

Foodie Bostonians, stop by belly or central bottle if you get a chance. I know I’ll be back, with one of my cheese-loving family members in tow.

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