A Little Wine & Cheese Goes a Long Way
As we start the new year, Jacksonville can take pride in its achievements, especially when it comes to its culinary scene. Whether you prefer fast casual, ethnic, or fine dining, growing numbers of chefs and restaurateurs are tempting us with newer, better, and more intriguing offerings.
Of note are the restaurants that dazzle us with their constantly evolving menus, foods of remarkable quality and flavor, and innovation that makes every visit a delightful adventure. These are the places that have earned Gold Star status and are featured in the pages that follow.
Assuming a highly enjoyable culinary experience is on your agenda, you might want to start with a well-crafted bottle of wine accompanied by a few slices of artisanal cheese and charcuterie. Considering their exotic origins, your meal can quickly become a journey of global proportions.
If you’re heading over to Riverside and the Five Points neighborhood, check out Black Sheep. Renowned for its American farm-to-table cuisine, Black Sheep’s house made charcuterie and artisanal American cheese selections adhere beautifully to these parameters. While these offerings are updated on a regular basis, there’s always a tasty selection.
Having found that wines produced by St. Helena-based Orin Swift Cellars are consistently remarkable, Black Sheep recommends a bottle of their Blank Stare 2017 Sauvignon Blanc as a perfect companion. With hints of lemongrass, fresh cut grass, lavender, and jasmine on the nose, coupled with flavors of kiwi, lime, and minerality on the palate, it pairs exceptionally well with cheeses including Vermont Creamery’s Double Cream Cremont (Vermont), Cascadia Creamery’s Glacier Blue (Washington), and Jason Wiebe Dairy Cottonwood River Cheddar (Kansas). Black Sheep’s house made Pork Terrine and Boudin Blanc are also well suited to this occasion.
According to Allan DeVault, managing partner for Black Sheep: “One of my favorite pairings is Sauvignon Blanc with cheeses made from goat’s milk. In particular, the Vermont Creamery Cremont, made from both cow’s and goat’s milk, goes particularly well with the Blank Stare, a fuller bodied Sauvignon Blanc.”
Should the weather be inviting, and no matter which wine, cheese or charcuterie you select, it is highly recommended that you enjoy them on Black Sheep’s rooftop deck, taking in the fresh air and remarkable views of the city.
Another of Jacksonville’s highly acclaimed dining destinations is Orsay. Located in Avondale, Orsay is a self proclaimed French bistro embracing both French technique and southern influences. Offering elegance without pretense, patrons are treated to incomparable cuisine at a leisurely pace.
When it comes to their cheeses and charcuterie, Orsay embraces both domestic and imported products including Nettle Meadow’s Kunik (New York), Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog (California), Rogue Creamery’s Oregonzola (Oregon), Reypenaer (The Netherlands), Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme (Georgia), and Pierre Robert Seine-et-Marne (France). With the exception of Parma Proscuitto (Italy), all of Orsay’s charcuterie is house made, including its Beet Cured Lomo (Berkshire loin), Duck Prosciutto, and Bresaola (Wagyu eye of round).