Okay, here’s the obligatory bandwidth warning. If you’re living in Asia or the US, you’re all sweet. If you’re living in that godforsaken broadband suckhole that’s called Australia, then strap a padded cushion to your modem because after this post it’s not going to be able to sit for a week. It’s basically SOP after every Cooking with Mervyn session :)

Today, I didn’t do much besides sit on my ass at home. Why? Because I’m still so full of cheese that has yet to be digested. No, not the metaphorical cheese of which Erica thinks I’m full of (that girl just doesn’t know comedy gold when she sees it), but actually cheese cheese. Cheese, fromage, solidified bovine udder crud…. Whatever you call it, I’ve got 20 different sorts all packing my arteries from last night.

The reason for this was that Cookyn with Mervyn held a Cheese and Wine tasting session that featured about 20 different types of cheeses from all over the world. The session more accurately should have been called Cheese and Whine. Because after eating all that cheese we all whined for the remainder of the evening about how full we were. A little fromage sure does go a long way. A lot of fromage on the other hand has the effect of making you not wanting to have any more of it until such time that your tongue regains it’s sense of taste back and your dietician forgives you.

This experience has truly taught me that there definitely can be too much of a good thing and that no matter how good, too much cheese, like sex, will leave you almost comatose on your ass and in a most vulnerable state. Anyway, back to the class.

This Cheese and Wine session of CWM basically involved the class blind sampling about 20 difference cheeses from all over the world, and trying to guess which ones they were from the list of cheeses and associated descriptions given on our info sheets. Like the beef tasting session before this, at the end of the class, all would be revealed. And given that I left my info sheet, which I admittedly haven’t even read through because I was too busy taking photos *cough* pigging out *cough*, I am unable to label the cheeses in this post because I really have NFI which one was which 😛

The group waiting for the show to start

One of the many sampling tables

The class for this session was located in a condominium clubhouse that Merv and Amanda had managed to source for the evening. It suited the job perfectly. I couldn’t help but laugh at the big sign saying “No food and drinks allowed”. It was given a big slap in the face and the clubhouse ended up packed to the rafters with stinky cheese and sweet chilled vino. Lovely.

It’s great to see word of M&As gastronomic soirees spreading and this is evident by the increasing numbers of non-LJ peeps in attendance. Word of mouth, random web browsing, etc etc. It’s fantastic to see and meet new people coming into the sessions all the time. I wasn’t aware of any new LJ faces this time, but again if you’re there, stand up and be counted :)

This was a larger session that any of the previous with a quite impressive 24 people rocking up in attendance. Because of the logistics involved in importing the cheeses from their various countries, the more people the merrier as having a large surplus of excess dairy goods will probably result in quite an abundance of wastage!

The class kicked off in the usual fashion with Merv asking us to each give an answer to a question that was related to the subject matter at hand. The question for today was “What’s the most memorable cheese that you’ve had and where did you have it?”. For me, I took the time to give a shout out to my very misunderstood and unfortunately much maligned friend, The el cheapo Kraft Parmesan that you get in cheap supermarkets everywhere. Everyone hates it and baulks at the mention of it. Pffft…. how easy you people turn your backs on this childhood stalwart!!!

No one I know can stand the smell, much less the taste. And to even call these yellow granules of dubious nature Parmesan Cheese would be considered sacrilege by many so called cheese aficionados. But to hell with these heathens, I love my Kraft Parmesan and I’ll happily eat it with anything!!! I absolutely cover my pastas and pizzas entire with it. I even munch on heaped tablespoons of the stuff and grin in orgasmic pleasure! So good… you people don’t know what you’re missing :)

The non-cheese spread

Parma Ham, boccocini, and cherry tomato salad with a balsamic dressing

A wonderful pear and apple salad, with a blue cheese dressing, that I absolutely adored

Crackers and caviar

Slices of Parma Ham and Chorizo

Anyway, in addition to all the cheeses on offer, our wonderful hosts prepared a selection of meats, salads, and caviar. Everything was sensational with my only regret being that I completely forgot about the caviar and as such only had like 2 crackers of it. I absolutely loved the salads and really need the recipe for the Apple and Pear one especially.

The feedback from the majority of the group prior to the green cheesy light flashing Go, was the that there weren’t many blue cheese fans in the class. The pressure to finish them then unfortunately fell on those that were quite partial to them, with one of them being me. With so much cheese to go through, I hardly even touched any of the bread and instead scoffed down all the cheeses by themselves. Less room filled with bread, more room to be filled with cheese. I’m here for cheese and cheese is what I’m gonna have.

Merv finally dropping the flag and kicking off the session

The session in session

The T man looking a bit bashful after being sent to the naughty chair for stealing some cheese before the official start

Merv doing his thang

Selection of caviar. Salmon, trout, vegetarian, and avruga.

I still don’t understand why people look surprised when they find my camera pointed at them. And Erica of all people…

Andrea instructing her best friend on the finer points of cheese eating. First open mouth, then insert cheese, then chew, and finally swallow. No Nooo!! Chew first THEN swallow!!! *face palm*

Yes Tiffany, I did see you steal Andreas cheese plate. Don’t try to look all innocent and clueless whilst she’s still searching high and low for it. Give it back you pig…

Twas nice meeting you Lynette :)

The smelly table with the sponge cake and twinkie cheeses that got no lovin’…. except from me. Sometimes, the discrimination is so blatant it hurts to watch…

My rojak plate of cheese and other assorted delicious crap…

Tilden, you definitely ain’t no lady…

Sigh… Tiffany, size isn’t everything. No need to disparage the lesser men out there like that. Rachel, stop showing off.

Grillmaestro Merv roasting the peppers

T man demonstrating why his number is written on so many toilet walls in manly scrawl….

Roasted Peppers with Fetta cheese in progress

After about half an hour into the gorging, I have to say, my tongue is dead. With so many different cheeses of textures both hard, soft, and in between, my tongue feels like it’s been coated with pungent wax. Everything just simply started to taste the same. I started hoeing into the tomatoes in an attempt to use it’s juicy acidity to break through the cheese and offer my tastebuds some reprieve from the cheese suffocation. It worked quite well.

I can imagine that, for my tongue, it would be akin to me finally being allowed to remove a gimp masked that I’ve been forced to wear during a long bondage session. Oh how sweet and fresh the air tastes. This is a purely hypothetical analogy by the way…. I do not know, or do I ever want to know, what a gimp mask ever feels like. Yarg….

Merv also prepared a couple of grill specials for us. One was roasted peppers with fetta cheese which is always a classic, and the second is the a roasted wheel of molten cheese! Oh yeah baby, this is what I’m talking about! But unfortunately this came at the latter end of the session so despite my compulsive craving for the cheesy lava, I just couldn’t fit more than one cheese spread focaccia into the ol’ belly.

Huge wheel of cheese roasted on the grill

Merv, pardon his manners, cutting the cheese in front of everyone.

Ooey gooey melty cheese on oven dried foccacia. Mmmm….

The cheeses revealed

Eventually it was time for the unveiling. I can’t remember how many people got their guess right, or wrong for that matter, as I didn’t really pay attention to much besides snapping away. But everyone had their favourites cheeses. Some were by far the crowd favourites whilst others, namely the twinkie shaped salty and smelly cheese, only had me as a fan. By the end there were still an absolute ton of cheese left over which were more than M&A knew what to do with, and so they assigned them to everyone to take home via a lucky dip.

They were all placed into takeaway containers, assigned numbers, and we all picked those numbers out of a hat. As a result, Erica and I, not helped by some sneaky cheese smuggling by Tilden, ended up with 4 containers of cheese to take home… reluctantly I might add!!!

Pat, don’t worry about that bit of cheese that got away, There’s plenty left on the table!

Really!! Just let it go!!! If you’re hungry there’s so much more cheese! Without the taste of floor on it!

“And then, whilst I was peeping through the bushes and hoping no one would catch me……..”

A truly blissful tyrant…

Empty wine cup + basic arithmetic = Fail. No, 2+2 does not equal 5. Sigh… No Amelia, the answer is not wrong….

Ahhh, the bottom of a wine cup. The source of answers to so many of life’s questions…

Merv with the Garlic Brie that tried to get away…

Cow bell Daisy herself with her new toy…

The Ta Pau lucky dip (no idea how it’s spelled)

Hey girls, did you hear the one about the horse that walked into a bar and the bartender said “Why the long face?” I know! I’m hilarious right?! See, that’s what I keep telling my wife!

Shorty McShortshort just can’t play pool for squat…

Your posture is all wrong AM. See, you gotta do it like how I do it. Take a tip from a pro.
Your gut has to be dragging along the table and pushing all the balls out of position. You’re just so doing it wrong…

By the end of the evening, most of us were craving something fresh and tangy to cleanse our pallets. My feedback for this session would be to have a tub of citrus sorbet or something in the ice filled cooler box or a freezer for future cheese tasting sessions! :) My mouth my just craving a fresh tangy sorbet or granita to freshen it up. Erica and I decided we would walk on over to Clarke Quay after the session to pursue that sorbet!

A few of use hung around for a game or two of pool before leaving. Erica and I ended up at Clarke Quay having some yummy Churros with stacks of icing sugar and cinnamon, following by Mango Sorbet and Strawberry Ice Cream at Haagan Daas…. Boy did that hit the spot. Unfortunately Clarke Quay is severely lacking a proper gelato place like Gelatissimo which resulting in me being unable to find any tangy sorbet! Boo….

All up, another great Cooking with Mervyn evening hosted by Mervyn and Amanda. Thanks guys, and it was great meeting everyone else whom was there :)