By Polly Campbell
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Where to try some special flavor combinations:
Tousey House in Burlington has a couple after-dinner tasting plates that pair some flavors that just go well together - port and chocolate and bourbon and cheddar.
Owner Kristy Schalck worked with Allison Hellings of Cork n'Bottle, and her sister, Lauren Hellings, who was with H. Dennert Distributing, to organize the chocolate and port tasting. Bittersweet chocolate and aged port is a classic combination.
"People get caught up in fancy chocolate desserts with port, but this is in its purest combination. It's just about nothing but flavor," Ms. Schalck says.
Two ports are paired with two chocolate bars each - a Quinta do Noval LB Port with a Sharffen Berger dark chocolate bar with chocolate nibs and Dolfin dark Belgian chocolate with pink peppercorns, and a Noval Port 10-year Tawny with a Dolfin dark chocolate with candied orange peel and a Duncan's dark chocolate from Scotland with ginger. The tasting plate, which is sized for one, is $17.
The bourbon and cheddar plate can be ordered before dinner or after, but most enjoy it after dinner, Ms. Schalck says.
"Kristy suggested putting together cheddar and bourbon," says Ms. Hellings. "I never would have put those two together. But we sat down one day with Kristy and her bourbon collection and a few cheddars, and I couldn't believe how well they went together. It makes a lot of sense, because they have some of the same mellow, nutty and butterscotch flavor profiles."
Ms. Schalck found a Kentucky-made cheddar for the plate, plus two others from Vermont and English cheesemakers to go with three bourbons. Pairings: Kenny's Country Cheddar with Woodford Reserve, Grafton Gold Cheddar with Hancock's Reserve and Keen's Farmhouse with Blanton's Single Barrel. The cheese is served on a bourbon barrel plank. The tasting is $18.
Because of diners' response, both tastings will be on the menu indefinitely, Ms. Schalck says.
Tousey House, 5963 Jefferson St., Burlington. (859) 689-0200.
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