City Cellar in City Place, West Palm Beach has a full time manager/Fromager on staff who has created an extensive and enviable cheese menu. Jeremiah Bennett, Fromager is highly passionate, educated, and trained in all things cheese. Bennett holds gastronomic distinctions in cheese from Le Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and Le Confrérie de St. Gustav. So with that said, the man knows his cheese; and the cheese experience at City Cellar is probably not what you would expect to find outside of a boutique cheese shop or fromagerie in some wonderful tiny pocket in France. Bennett’s passion for cheese has allowed him to create an impressive menu of exquisite and hard to find cheeses from around the world. In attempt to make the cheese program enticing for his guests, Bennett changes the menu regularly, keeping his guests vacillating on their next favorite cheese; goat, cow, sheep; Spain, Tasmania, Australia, Italy, Switzerland. The cheese is the star here, there is no question about that, but it is the wine and beer pairings that accompany the cheeses that hook you, completely. Think yin-yang.
Jeremiah Bennett also happens to be the wine buyer/director at City Cellar which sets the guests up for a rather memorable cheese and wine pairing. City Cellar boasts a list of 400 bottles of wine from around the globe and more than fifty wines are served by the glass making wine and cheese pairing possibilities infinite.
Wine and Cheese pairings are experience driven, you have to have some sense of zeal for this type of sensory activity or you won’t be moved, or worse, you won’t be impressed. My afternoon wine & cheese pairing at City Cellar was much more than I thought it would be, starting with the astounding knowledge Jeremiah possesses about this particular food. My pairing included 6 cheeses, 5 wines and 1 beer. Along with the cheese were palate cleansers, white truffle honey and a slice of quince paste. Of course, the purist that Jeremiah is, he doesn’t desire palate cleansers, I on the other hand found them rather enjoyable. My particular pairings were all interesting, educational and enjoyable. I commented below on my top three favorites.
Brie de Meaux from Seine et Marne Valley of Champagne with Chandon Brut Rose, California. In my opinion, this was the best pairing. The Brie was superb; creamy with a subtle refined taste. Ideally, what is obvious and interesting about these types of enthusiast indulgences is that you realize you’ve been eating and drinking average product; and now you have a whole new respect and outlook for better quality. These types of food and drink practices expose you to a much greater “tasting” world. So yes, up until this taste of Brie de Meaux, I’ve apparently been eating sub-par mass marketed Brie.
Hook’s 10 year aged Cheddar from Wisconsin with Orval Trappist Ale from Belgium. This was my most enjoyable pairing. The proper aging of cheese, domestic or imported opens door after door of appreciation for any style of cheese. I thoroughly enjoyed the Ale with this aged Wisconsin Cheddar. The pairing was in perfect balance, neither one overpowering or absorbing familiarity of the other, they both existed in unison, harmoniously.
Pappillon Roquefort from Rouerge, France with Merryvale Antigua from Napa Valley, this was my favorite pairing. If you are a fan of rich, creamy, powerful cheeses this Pappillon Roquefort is a winner. Merryvale Antigua is a dessert wine; sweet and lush, extraordinarily paired with the pungent Pappillon. This is a perfect definition of opposites attract.
The other pairings were,
Laura Chenel tome de Chevre from Sonoma Carneros with Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, Napa
Epoisses from Burgundy with Van Duzer Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Boschetto al Tartufo from Umbria, Tuscany with il Bruciato Super Tuscan, Italy
City Cellar hosts a weekly cheese day on Thursdays called: Cheesy Thursdays where diners are able to order 5 cheeses paired by Jeremiah with 5 beverage tastes. The cost is $30/person. This offering is available from open to close every Thursday
Daily, guests can order cheese in the restaurant; Three 1 oz. pieces for $15 or five 1 oz. pieces $20. Cheese To Go is available by the piece (1 oz.) or the quarter pound.
City Cellar West Palm Beach 700 S. Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33401