Worshipping cheeses

Sampling wine and cheese at the Corner Table

If I had to subsist on two things alone, I would pick wine and cheese.

There’s something so simple and satisfying about the combination. While some culinary wizards say it can be daunting finding a perfect match, my taste buds were thoroughly impressed by the selection at the Corner Table in Kingfield.

On a recent evening, I met a friend at the cozy restaurant on Nicollet and sampled a variety of cheeses and sipped on a glass of red wine.

I have yet to meet a cheese I don’t like, but am often wracked with indecision when I consider my options so I relied on our server to choose a selection for us to taste – a trio of cow’s milk cheeses (one from the Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont; a Mobier, a French cheese; and a piece of Fence Line Trumpeter Meadow).

The Mobier cheese is a creamy rich cheese with a subtle blue cheese flavor as was the Jasper Hill cheese. My favorite was the Fence Line Trumpeter Meadow cheese – a saltier piece named for the large population of Trumpeter Swans near the dairy farm it’s made in Wisconsin. It had a parmesan flavor and tasted even better when combined with the apple slices that come with the platter. Each piece of cheese had a rich, but not overpowering flavor.

Good cheese and wine are meant to be savored, but I had a difficult time pacing myself and sharing with my friend – must be my Wisconsin ancestry. My parents grew up on farms, and cheese has always been an important staple of our diet.

For most of my life, I have stuck to basic cheeses, like cheddar, colby and Swiss. Now, I’m trying to broaden my dairy horizons, and the Corner Table is a great place to try out some new varieties.

Since I was in a decadent mood, I agreed to try a $12 glass of zinfandel wine from the Seghesio Family Vineyards in California. The three-year-old Home Ranch Zinfandel, an almost-purple, deep-red wine, was incredibly smooth and complemented all of the cheeses I sampled. The Corner Table selects wines that are produced by vineyards committed to organic and sustainable practices.

This time of year, the Corner Table has more red wines on its menu than whites – varieties that pair better with heartier dishes on the menu.

When asked how he selects wines and cheeses for his restauarnt, Corner Table Chef and co-owner Scott Pampuch said: “I eat and drink a lot. I have a relationship built with purveyors. That’s where I start.”

Pampuch grew up in southern Minnesota and buys a lot of his ingredients from local farmers he’s know for years.


The Corner Table is at 4257 Nicollet Ave. For more information, go to www.cornertablerestaurant.com.