If heaven had a name other than heaven, I’m pretty sure it would be “Cheese”. And not just any cheese – the kind of cheese that’s EXPENSIVE and served with an accompanying glass of white. Sounds way too good to be true, doesn’t it? Something you’d only get in… a place called heaven? Lucky for EVERYONE, you can actually also get it at a place called Helm Bar, which hosts incredible cheese and alcohol matching nights every month or so.
My friend and I trotted along to the last one they had and were treated to some truly perfect matchings as the sun set over Darling Harbour. When you get to the venue, you’re assigned to one of four tables, where you will be continually topped up with a rotating glass of wine to match the rotating plate of cheeses. All up, you get to try four cheese and wine combos, and trust me, they come from the experts in the biz. As each matching meets your gracious lips, the aforementioned experts (including cheese expert Claudia McIntosh) explain what the cheese is all about – how it’s produced, where it’s made, the taste subtleties that only a truly trained connoisseur can pick up and how much it costs. One of the matured goats cheeses we tried had a price tag upwards of $90 a kilo. Hence, if we had not attended the event, we would never have known what heaven tastes like.
Not only do you get to do a little tasting session, but the cheese & wine guys also give you tips on how to match your own perfect combos. This is handy if, like me, you know nothing at all about the subject matter. When the evening is over, they even do a raffle for cases of the wine you have tried, and if you’re lucky, you’ll win your favourite one. I am not in fact lucky, but I won anyway, which possibly means that I am guaranteed a spot in cheese heaven. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Their next matching night actually involves beer and cheese with beer blogger Mark Chippefield and will be on June 29th. Tickets sell out quickly and are just $40, so call Helm Bar on 02 9290 1571 to book your spot.
words: Seema Duggal