Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Danish Blue and Château Au Berton

Danish Blue was invented early in the 20th century by a Danish cheese maker named Marius Boel with the intention of emulating a Roquefort style cheese and is known in Denmark as Danablu. Danish Blue has a milder flavour than Roquefort and is characterised by a sharp, almost metallic taste, a salty bite, and feels very creamy in the mouth. The cheese has dark blue-green marbling that tends to decrease towards the outer edge of the cheese.

Tradition has it that, as a child, Marius Boel had noticed that mouldy bread had a distinctive, piquant taste and that, when he was an adult dairyman, he transformed this memory into innovation. From 1914 he experimented with adding a little dried, pulverised mouldy bread to fresh curd. And when, in the 1920s, he also found out how to homogenise milk, he had created an original, unique Danish blue cheese.

Chateau Au Berton (£6.60) goes really well with Danish Blue as it is low in tannin. It's a very honest, good value Bordeaux that comes from a good 1998 vintage. It has been allowed to age and is drinking very well and will do for the next 3 years. The colour is definitely mature with a tinge of brown at the rim and is of medium density/body. It has the flavours of blackberries, plums, spice, vanilla and oak. In the mouth it produces a nicely balanced, clean, fruity flavour with a silky finish. It's a really attractive easy drinking wine and is mellow and round.

Au Berton comes from the vineyards of Queyrac which is a small commune lying 6 miles away from the mouth of the River Gironde Estuary and 8 miles from the Atlantic coast. Prior to the 17th century the land around the estuary was marshy but vines have been grown on the gravel slopes since Roman times. This terroir produces remarkable red wines that are complex, elegant, fine, delicate and aromatic.

Blue Cheese Crusted Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

4 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch thyme, chopped
1 cup beef stock
¼ cup dry red wine
75g Danish Blue, coarsely crumbled
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
4 fillet steaks

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and thyme. Sauté until the onion is tender. Add the stock and wine. Boil until sauce is reduced to ½ cup,. Set sauce aside. Blend cheese, breadcrumbs, and parsley in small bowl to coat the cheese evenly. Cover separately and chill. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Add the steaks to the pan and cook to your preference. Remove the steaks and press the cheese mixture onto the top of steaks, dividing equally. Grill until the cheese browns. Transfer steaks to plates.

Pour the sauce into the pan that you fried the steaks in and bring to the boil, scraping up browned bits. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce around steaks and serve.

No comments: