About Kathy

Kathy Sullivan is the co-owner and writer at Wine Trail Traveler, LLC, a virtual website that focuses on winery experiences. Wine Trail Traveler includes companion websites for distilleries, food, winemaking and lodging. Kathy co-authored four wine books that are available on the Wine Trail Traveler online bookstore.

Manchego Cheese, A Delicious Cheese to Pair with Wine

Pair Mancheo cheese with wine!

My favorite to-go-to cheese for pairing with wine is the Manchego cheese sold at our local Costco store. I discovered Manchego a couple of years ago and find that its flavorful but delicate taste pairs well with white or red wines. Some suggest pairing the cheese with Sherry. Manchego taste profile does not overpower the yummy taste of the wine.

Curious about the origins of Manchego cheese, my research provided some interesting information about Manchego:

  • Manchego is produced in the La Mancha region of Spain.
  • The cheese must be produced with milk from Manchega ewes.
  • Manchego may be made with unpasteurized or pasteurized milk.
  • Traditionally Manchego cheese is aged for six months to 24 months.
  • The rind of the cheese is a dark gray color with a slight zigzag weave.
  • The natural rind of the cheese can be washed, covered with paraffin  and dipped in olive oil. Other clear materials that are approved may also be used on the rind.
  • Manchego cheese has  Spain’s “Denominación de Origen” protection.
  • The EU has designated Protected Designation of Origin for Manchego cheese.
  • Studies have shown that Manchego cheese was made back during BC’s Bronze Age.

The length of time for aging the Manchego cheese results in different flavors.

Decorative Manchego cheese rind

A few weeks ago, we served Manchego cheese with wine. Our guests decided that the rind on the cheese was edible; later an internet search revealed that the rind of the Manchego cheese is considered inedible. Fortunately our guests suffered no ill effects from eating the rind; however, I would not recommend eating the Manchego rind.


Adopting an Olive Tree!

Adopt an olive tree with NudoAdopt

For Christmas, we received a wonderful gift of olive oil. This olive oil gift is unique as it involves an adoption of an olive tree at an artisan producer in Italy. Shortly after receiving notice of our gift, we registered with Nudo Adopt. Our adoption tree will be ours for one year and we have the option of renewing the adoption for another year.

When registering we needed to choose the region in Italy where we wanted our olive tree. Participants can register to have their adopted olive tree located in one of three regions of Italy: Le Marche, Sicily or Liguria. To help decide which region we wanted our olive tree to be growing, the Nudo website offers a profile of each olive grove.

After registering with Nudo, we received a nice bundled package that included three 250ml cans of olive oil. Each can was slightly different and included: Olive and Garlic Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Infused with Chillies and Olive and Lemon Oil. All of the oils were made with 100% Italian olives.

A small pamphlet accompanying the olive oils describes the growth of the olives beginning with early spring.

Our next delivery of olive oil will take place after the olives are harvested and processed. According to the Nudo website under Will I get any olive oil from my tree? “All adoptive parents receive a Spring Delivery of three tins of extra virgin olive oil, provided the adoption has been registered. This ‘represents’ the produce form your tree. We say ‘represents’ because we don’t press the olives from each tree one by one. Instead we pick several trees at once and divide the resulting oil between the adoptive parents.”

Anyone who travels to the Italian region  where their adopted tree is growing is able to visit “their” tree, if the company is given enough notice.

For us this was a great gift as we enjoy using high quality olive oils in our everyday cooking.

For those who enjoy drinking tea, Nudo also offers a tea garden. Check the tea gardens out on the Nudo site.


Finger Lakes Cheese Trail

Have you heard about the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail? The trail consists of eight destination farms including: Dutch Hill Creamery, Engelbert Farms, Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery, Jerry Dell Farm, Muranda Cheese Co., Shtayburne Farm, Side Hill Acres Goat Farm and Sunset View Creamery.

If you are planning to visit any of these cheese makers, plan extra time to visit some of the many wineries in the well-known Finger Lakes region.

Cheers, Kathy

While in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, Stop at St. James Cheese Shop

If you will be in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, be sure to check out St. James Cheese Shop. The shop is located at 5004 Prytania Street.

The shop offers a wide variety of cheeses as well as offering sandwiches and other menu items to go. Before opening St. James Cheese Shop in New Orleans, the owners, Richard and Danielle Sutton, worked at a renowned cheese shop in London’s St. James neighborhood.

Cheese lovers will discover a variety of cheeses from around the world. In addition to cheeses from several states, cheese is also available from Germany, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.

Check  out the St. James Cheese Shop website.

Note: I have not been there but it sounds wonderful for cheese lovers.

Cheers, Kathy


Pineapple Dessert with Ice Cream and Balsamic Vinegar

Baked Pineapple with Ice Cream

Serving 4 people

Photo by Acetaia di Giorgi


1 medium size and ripe pineapple
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons orange liqueur
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Extra Old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Cut the pineapple lengthwise in 4 parts, removing the rind and the
  2. Then put the four quarters on a buttered oven pan and powder
    them with the 4 spoons of sugar.
  3. Sprinkle some orange liqueur and add
    some butter flakes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake for about 10
    minutes, then let it cool.
  5. Put every pineapple quarter on a dessert dish
    and put on every quarter a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  6. Then pour some Extra Old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar or Cherry Traditional Balsamic Vinegar on the dessert.

Recipe and photo provided by Acetaia di Giorgio, Modena, Italy

7 New Year’s Cheese Resolutions

Considering this is only the 4th day of 2013, there is still time to create a list of resolutions for the New Year. Below is a list of several cheese related suggestions to add to your 2013 resolutions. Enjoy!

1. Tour a local artisan creamery. Not all creameries are the same; check before you go to make certain the creamery produces cheese and that they offer tours.

2. Discover different artisanal cheeses. Each month try a different type.

3. Keep a cheese journal. As you try different types of cheese, keep notes including how you used the cheese, where the cheese was made and where you purchased it.

4. Make feta cheese at home using milk that is pasteurized at the minimum FDA requirements. (Most milk is pasteurized at much higher temperatures.)

5. Attend at least one cheese festival. Frequently cheese vendors will also be available at wine and food festivals.

6. Support your local farmer’s market by finding one that has locally made cheese.

7. Check cheese making websites for recipes to add to your personal cookbook.

Oregon State University Selling OSU Beaver Classic™ Cheese

Cheese produced by Oregon State University students is now available for purchase online.  The OSU Beaver Classic™ Cheese is an alpine-style cheese. The description of the cheese notes that the cheese is produced with milk from the Oregon State University’s dairy herd. The OSU Beaver Classic™ Cheese characteristics include “creamy, buttery and caramelized notes.”

The cheese is sold through their online site. The cheese packaged in 5.3 oz wedges is shipped on Mondays using flat package rates.

More information is available online. Check out the Oregon State Marketplace website for this special cheese.

Wisconsin Cheese Festival in November

The Wisconsin Cheese Festival takes place November 9 – 10, 2012. This amazing event provides great opportunities to learn about cheese. This two-day event includes tours, tastings, seminars and dinner featuring cheese.

On Friday night the Cheesemaker Gala offers numerous tastings of specialty cheeses as well as a dozen artisan foods including crackers, preserves and chocolate. Register soon as not many tickets are left.

On Friday, three small group tours are offered. These tours include transportation, lunch and cheese tastings.

  • Tour A: Driftless Cheeses of Wisconsin (Sold Out)
  • Tour B: Green County Cheese & Beer Experience
  • Tour C: Wisconsin Farmstead Dairy Backstage Press

On Saturday a variety of seminars are offered so that people can learn about cheese making and cheese pairings. In the morning the keynote, “Wisconsin Cheese – Past, Present and Future” is presented by Ari Weinzweig from Zingermans. The keynote is followed by lunch and then attendees can choose two of the four seminars to attend.

More information and tickets are available on the Wisconsin Cheese Festival website.

Cheers! Kathy

Olive Oil & Artisan Food Festival on Waiheke Island

View on Waiheke Island, New Zealand

If you will be on the New Zealand’s North Island near the end of November, take a ferry from Auckland

to Waiheke Island to attend the Waiheke Olive & Artisan Food Festival. Buses are available from the ferry to the festival. The festival is November 24 and 25, 2012 at the Rangihoua Estate.

The event celebrates Waiheke’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils and will have more than 10 artisan food producers offering free tastings. Tickets are $15 and children under 12 are free.

Numerous wineries and vineyards are on Waiheke Island. Some have cellar doors (tasting rooms.) Before visiting picturesque Waiheke Island browse the Waiheke Island website. Perhaps your one day at the olive festival will turn into spending two or three days more days on Waiheke Island.