Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc with Artisanal Blue Cheese Ice Cream?

In the expansive canon of wine pairing, the allure of contrast often plays second fiddle to the harmony of similarity. Traditional paradigms dictate pairings that complement or echo the intrinsic characteristics of the wine, aiming to enhance rather than challenge the palate. This paper posits a radical departure from conventional norms by proposing a pairing that, at first glance, might seem antithetical to established gastronomic principles: Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc with artisanal blue cheese ice cream. This analysis ventures beyond the boundaries of typical pairings, delving into the intricate dance between contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures to craft an experience that is both intellectually provocative and sensorially enriching.

Theoretical Framework

The Wine: Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc

The Howell Mountain AVA, distinguished by its volcanic soil and elevation surpassing the fog line, yields Cabernet Franc grapes of unparalleled intensity and complexity. The wines derived from these grapes are renowned for their robust structure, pronounced tannins, and a kaleidoscope of dark fruit, herbaceous, and earthy undertones. The elevation ensures a significant diurnal temperature variation, imbuing the grapes with a balance of ripeness and acidity that is critical for the development of their distinctive flavor profile.

The Pairing: Artisanal Blue Cheese Ice Cream

Blue cheese, with its bold, pungent flavors and creamy texture, stands as a culinary challenge to many, often polarizing consumers. When reimagined as a base for ice cream, it transforms into a confection that straddles the line between savory and sweet, offering a rich, umami-driven experience. This innovative dessert capitalizes on the intrinsic creaminess of blue cheese while introducing a cooling, velvety contrast to the palate. The addition of a sweet component, such as honey or fig compote, balances the cheese's sharpness, creating a multifaceted flavor profile.


Contrasting Flavors and Textures

The pairing of Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc with artisanal blue cheese ice cream embodies a study in contrasts. The wine's tannic backbone and vibrant acidity cut through the ice cream's creamy richness, resetting the palate with each sip. Meanwhile, the ice cream's cooling effect tempers the wine's alcohol perception, allowing its complex flavor profile to unfold without overwhelming the senses. The juxtaposition of a chilled dessert with a room-temperature wine further enhances this sensory exploration, challenging conventional expectations.

Complementary Flavor Profiles

Despite their differences, there exists a subtle undercurrent of compatibility between the two components. The earthy notes in Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc resonate with the mold-veined heart of blue cheese, creating a common ground that bridges the gap between the wine's dark fruit flavors and the ice cream's savory richness. This unexpected harmony underscores the potential for innovation within the realm of wine pairings, demonstrating that contrast can be as compelling a unifier as similarity.


The pairing of Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc with artisanal blue cheese ice cream represents a bold foray into the uncharted territories of gastronomy. By embracing the principles of contrast and complexity, this unconventional combination challenges the palate and stimulates the mind, offering a novel experience that transcends the sum of its parts. It serves as a testament to the boundless possibilities that await when we dare to explore beyond the familiar confines of tradition. As the culinary landscape continues to evolve, such pairings will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of food and wine appreciation, inviting us to reconsider our preconceptions and discover new horizons of taste.