beer & cheese pairing

Forget wine and cheese, pass me the beer and cheese!

I’m not much of a wine drinker. The ladies of Charlotte Food Bloggers seem to like beer as much as I do so all of us were pumped to experience a BEER and cheese pairing. Wine and cheese is old news anyway right? We are in the fastest growing craft beer scene in the nation after all.

CFB partnered up with The Unknown Brewing, Orrman’s Cheese Shop and a couple other local restaurants for a 5 course dinner pairing. The ticketed event was held in Unknown’s taproom. Owner, Brad Shell, gave us a tour about halfway through our tastings to mix things up a bit. If you’ve never been on a brewery tour with Brad, please do so as soon as possible. He is quite enjoyable to watch when he gets excited about the brew process. Hops like to make babies, that is all (ha!).

This wasn’t the first pairing event Unknown has been a part of. They hosted a sushi and beer pairing with O-Ku, see my story here.

All of the bites were put on display at the community table in the taproom. Flatbreads from Craft Growler Shop around the corner, boneless chicken wings from Duckworth’s down the street, homemade mango salsa, bacon wrapped dates, chocolate brownies and five different cheeses. My sweet tooth was thankful for the brownies among all of the savory plates!

When you’re with a group of food bloggers this is what you can expect…

Depending on how many of us there are, we can spend up to thirty minutes staging and photographing the food.

It’s a team effort too. Everyone is willing to hold up their iPhone flashlights or ring-light adapters to give just the right amount of light for that perfect photo. We are also patient with each other. Knowing that we are all here for the same reason, to take your turn, and not to worry about the food getting cold. Yes, we care about that too but…

Whether food blogging is your job or a just a hobby, documenting the food and supporting these local companies is what comes first. It’s why we do what we do. Food brings people together.

Beer, Cheese and Accoutrements

Ginger Wheat | Landaff | Mango Salsa
Pre Game Pale Ale | Flory’s Truckle | Flatbreads
Over the Edge IPA | Barren Country Blue | Buffalo Chicken Bites
Dirty Commie Heathen Russian Imperial Stout | Fourme d’Ambert | Brownies
Raisin the Roof Belgian Quad | Toggenberger | Bacon Wrapped Dates

A big thank you to Ashley, LeAndra, Brad, Scott, the other members of Charlotte Food Bloggers and our local vendors for a wonderful evening. Now, I will always suggest beer with my cheese instead of wine. Cheers y’all!

Connect with everyone on social media by clicking the links throughout this post.


tavolo

I had an amazing opportunity a couple weeks ago with my fellow food friends of CLT Food Bloggers. We were given the chance to learn how to make our own pizzas! Tavolo, located in uptown Charlotte at the corner of 6th and College, is an Italian restaurant focusing on fresh, local ingredients that fit right in to our modern and traditional expectations of great Italian food.

General manager Anthony Cardone and Executive Chef Deacon Ovall and his team show us their pizza making ways at Tavolo. They were all very proud about the quality, sourcing and preparation of not only the pizzas but their entire menu.

Their menu is full of classic plates like Eggplant Parmigiano, Chicken Francese and Shrimp Fra Diavolo. There are more modern options like Charcuterie Boards as well as a Bar Bites Menu featuring items like Meatball Sliders, Fried Zucchini and Fried Dough Bites. It was clear they really enjoyed and valued their process of pizza making, so let’s get right to that.

Only the Freshest Ingredients

Their dough is a 50/50 flour and semolina and shaped into 8 ounce rolls. Once risen and pounded, they’re ready for toppings. Although the pizza dough is made in house, their table bread is baked by Libretto’s Pizzeria.

Tavolo uses a cheese mixture of mostly whole cow’s milk with a bit of buffalo milk shredded mozzarella blended in for that extra punch of flavor. If you’ve never tried buffalo mozzarella, put it on your to-do list! The have three sauces: marinara, alfredo and garlic oil, which are all made from scratch in their kitchen.

Ranging from house-made balsamic and cherry soaked figs to 4 inch diameter Board’s Head pepperoni and spicy sausage, all of their toppings are of the highest quality.
Fun Fact:  Boar’s Head was the only company who could accommodate their request for such large pepperoni, high fives!

As a final touch, they dust their pizzas with a spice blend made special for them by Motown Spice Provisions in Mooresville.

Wood Fired Oven

Tavolo uses hard wood cherry and white oak for their wood-fired oven. At a temperature between 700-800 degrees, the pizzas only take about 6-8 minutes to cook. We almost burned the demo pizza, so it’s obvious their pizzas require a lot of attention to make sure they come out perfectly.

The pizzas start off in the very back of the oven where the embers are hottest. Then, they are turned slightly and moved along the sides for equal distribution of heat. Once all the turns are made and it reaches the front of the oven, voila!

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My Personal Pizza

Since I couldn’t decide on just a few toppings and didn’t want my pizza to weigh 5 pounds I decided to create a half and half. One half just had to be those 4 inch pepperonis and nothing else because they are simply impressive. For the other half, I also chose spicy sausage, portabella mushrooms, fresh tomatoes and buffalo milk mozzarella. Then I doused my edges with their house-made garlic oil.

Great company, strong cocktails and amazing pizza, what a fantastic evening. See more about my friend’s Allie, Jess, Chrissie, and Tanya and their experience at Tavolo!
EatDrinkCLT | SliceofJess OffTheEatenPath | MyForkingLife | CLTFoodBloggers

Connect with Tavolo on the socials! Facebook | Insta | Web


pizza

Some of the most memorable moments in life revolve around pizza and pizza alone. We are no New York or anything, but Charlotte has several pizza joints that are on point. Making all your wishes and dreams come true with that sweet yet salty sauce, all of the meats and veggies your heart desires, and that freshly baked flaky crust. Glorious Pizza!

Let’s start with one of my most recent pizza discoveries. Rooster’s Woodfired Grill has a roasted chicken pizza, pretty much a personal size pie with 4 generous slices. If anyone knows my pizza habits, you’ll know that I don’t order chicken on my pizza, EVER. But, I was at Rooster’s and they do chicken justice so I couldn’t go wrong here. That and I didn’t like the other two choices. This is my most favorite pizza adventure so that’s why I have it at number one. They aren’t typically known for their pizza, more known for their simple and quality ingredients. Locally sourced and perfectly executed. Part of the Noble Food Group, you will never be disappointed. Oh, and on Sunday’s they have half price Bloody Mary’s!

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Meats. All of them. Loaded up with bacon, Italian sausage, roasted chicken and pepperoni. Called The Meatlovers, appropriately named, at Selwyn Pub. Huge outside patio with several TVs, ice cold buckets of beer or local beers on tap. And add this pizza, you’ll have the recipe for a perfect summer afternoon. Only a half mile from my apartment, it’s a nice little walk down the street to burn off  some of those carbs. Neighborhood bars are always welcoming, you’re bound to be talking to the other tables around you by the time you’re done eating.

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Next up is a Charlotte favorite, a classic among those first ever wood fired style pizza makers. They’ve been around for almost 20 years with their first store located in Historic Dilworth. They not only know pizza, they know the community and play a big part in by sponsoring and supporting local as well as national charities. This particular pizza used to be slightly different, the sauce base was not sriracha and came with rock shrimp. Over the past year or two they’ve switched to a sriracha base sauce and much larger shrimp. I prefer the tiny ones because they’re easier to eat, but I still order it, every time! Spicy Shrimp Pizza.

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Another stellar pizza restaurant is Hawthorne’s. It’s been around for just over 10 years and people keep flocking there. For pizza, wings, calzones, pasta, or heroes. I personally go for the pizza, obviously. I think I’m starting to realize I like neighborhood pizza restaurants. I’ve tried several different pizzas here and you can’t go wrong with any choice. Huge slices means leftovers. Be sure to grab their brownie dessert!

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Last up is relatively new in town. Just opened up their 10th location back in June 2015, new to NC. Benny Pennello’s is next to Heist Brewery off North Davidson. A fast-paced in and out type feel, you order by the slice or if you dare, a whole pie. And by whole pie, I mean all 28 inches. It’s the largest pizza I’ve ever seen. The slices are about the size of a small child. Be sure to get their garlic marinated mushrooms as a topping, they are incredible.

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Pizza is love, love is pizza, I love pizza, and pizza loves me.