We are taking a trek through The Alps with this month’s Food Explorer theme, and I couldn’t be more excited about the amount of food and drink hailing from this area. What exactly makes up The Alps? It’s more than the mountainous and picturesque Austrian countryside depicted in The Sound of Music. You’ll find the following countries as specified by The Alpine Convention, which exists to oversee the sustainable development of The Alps: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. With that in mind, grab your picnic basket and enjoy some of my favorite wines and cheeses from this area and keep reading for more food inspiration!
EMMI CHEESE FONDUE BLEND
With 70% of the Switzerland’s agriculture made of pastures and the majority of the farmers having fewer than 30 cows, Emmi contracts for the milk and this easy-toprepare, velvety Alpine herdsman originated fondue is one of the prizes! Dip in crusty bread, fruit, meat, or vegetables.
Inspired by its home in western Austria’s “hay belt,” it’s both a feast for the palate and eyes. Its coating of flowers include marigold, rose petals, lavender, and chervil. It’s rich, full-bodied flavor has hints of umami and a slight sweetness to the finish.
Made by a single producer at the mouth of the Val Campelle in Trentino, Italy. It’s smooth, creamy, and slightly tangy, pairing well with cured meats and a hearty wine.
PRÉSIDENT EMMENTAL SWISS
The old tradition using pure cow’s milk and a maturation period of at least four months allows Emmental to develop into a mild, slightly nutty tasting cheese.
COMTÉ ST. ANTOINE GRUYÈRE
This cheese is made in the cooperative dairies of the Jura Mountains and aged for 18 to 22 months in the renowned caves of Marcel Petite Fort St. Antoine. It’s smooth with assertive flavor and particularly good with a white wine from the Savoie, such as Abymes.
ABYMES VIN DE SAVOIE
Savoie is located in eastern France, very close to the Swiss border near Lake Geneva. Made from the grape Jacquère, this wine is extremely vibrant and crisp, with a dry finish. It’s a very pleasing wine perfect for lunch or light dinner dishes.
DÖNNHOFF RIESLING TROCKEN
The Dönnhoff family first came to the Nahe region of southwestern Germany 250 years ago and Helmut, who took over from his father in 1966, makes simply breathtaking wine! This dry wine is extremely balanced with flavor nuances and speaks to Helmut’s personal philosophy for wine making. “I express myself clearly and so do my wines,” he says.
From one of the grand old estates in Germany, this wine is easily one of the best white wines in the world! Amazing complexity, with ample fruit, minerality, and very well-balanced acidity.
BOTTEGA VINAIA TEROLDEGO ROTALIANO
From Trentino, Italy, this wine is dry, full-bodied, with soft tannins and a long, well-rounded finish that seems to be wrapped in raspberries! Wonderful paired with roast chicken, grilled meats, or a charcuterie board.
ELENA WALCH VIGNA CASTEL RINGBERG PINOT GRIGIO
Castel Ringberg is the hotel and restaurant that the Walch family owns near their vineyards in Italy. This single vineyard Pinot Grigio is easily the most intense, wellstructured, vibrant Pinot Grigio we have ever had. No watered-down version here!
NIGL FREHEIT GRÜNER VELTLINER
Tucked deep in the Krems Valley in Austria is Nigl, easily one of our favorite producers. They’ve been farming this land for over 200 years! Stunning vibrancy, minerality, and length in this dry wine that is lovely on its own, but best with food.