A new attraction at the Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel is the Coffee and Cheese menu. “As everyone is aware, wine and cheese have been married for centuries now but people are largely unaware of the affair cheese has been having with coffee since ages,” says Tapas Palai, pastry chef. On the menu are cheesecake with Americano, English cheese muffin with cafe latte and cheese cigars with cappuccino. Excerpts from an interview with Palai:
What are the advantages of pairing coffee and cheese?
It is in the notes. The notes of coffee and cheese go very well. Usually, people have a cheese sandwich, a cheese croissant or a cheese cake with coffee and never look closely to realise it’s not the bread or the crust but plain and simple coffee and cheese which tastes so well.
What were the challenges of pairing coffee and cheese?
In my perception, there are no challenges to any project once the ground work has been done. Since we work with a variety of cheese at the hotel, the pairing became easy. During research, we understood the pairing concept, the logic behind pairing and how to pair so many other things.
Which combinations work best? And what doesn’t?
Ricotta works the best and, in order to know why, just add a spoon of it to a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Any cheese which contains good amount of salt doesn’t go well with coffee. In order for the cheese to work with the acidity of the coffee, it needs to provide roundness on the palate with a hint of sweet, just like cream.
What’s your advice to home cooks trying the same combination?
Just add one teaspoon of soft cheese in your coffee and ensure the coffee is not steaming hot, you will fall in love with it.