Creating the ultimate cheese pairing experience.
When it comes to pairing cheese with wine and other foods, or even other cheeses, there's only one rule and that's this: it's up to you. Taste is, after all, purely personal. But, here are a few simple guidelines to demystify the pairing process Ã¢â‚¬â€ and help ensure a successful cheese pairing experience every time.
Few things go together as beautifully as cheese and wine - they work together to bring out the best in each other. Determining what goes best with what can be mind-boggling. But it needn't be. There is no right or wrong when it comes to pairing wine and cheese.
Follow these guidelines and you can't go wrong.
- Light, smooth fruity wines go well with soft, creamy cheeses with stronger flavors.
- Full-bodied wines match best with hard cheeses and milder flavors, like cheddar and provolone.
- Fruity and sweet white wines (not dry) and dessert wines work best with a wide range of cheeses.
- The more pungent the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
- Cheeses should be served at room temperature and displayed on a pretty platter or wood or marble cheese board.
The most common wine and cheese pairings.
Mozzarella, Monterey Jack and Muenster: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot.
Brie & Camembert: Sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Madeira, Port, Sherry.
Aged Provolone: Sweeter wines, such as Port, Amarone, Sauternes and Eiswein.
Swiss & GruyÃƒÂ¨re: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot.
Ricotta: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet.
Gouda & Edam: Pair with Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Beaujolais and some lighter-styled Chardonnays.
Aged Cheddar: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauternes, Port, Madeira, Rich Sherry.
Roquefort, Blue & Gorgonzola: Red or white sweet wines, fruity red wines (Amarone, Port).
Aged Asiago & Parmesan: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Burgundy, Merlot, Barbera.
Fontina: Chianti, RosÃƒÂ©, Chenin Blanc.
Goat: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, RosÃƒÂ©, Shiraz/Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc.
Nothing could be more welcome at any gathering than a cheese board. And contrary to popular belief, nothing could be easier to prepare. Especially when you follow our top 10 cheese board tips.
Follow these guidelines the next time you're planning a cheese course for your party:
- Remove your cheeses from the refrigerator an hour before serving to allow the flavors and aromas to fully develop. Remove wrappers, but leave the rind.
- To create a basic cheese board, start with three cheeses - a hard cheese, a soft cheese, and a surprise. You can add as many variations as you would like from mild to strong cheeses, or use cheeses from different milks (cows', goats' or sheep).
- Looks are everything. Make sure you have various sizes and shapes of cheese on your board. And serve the cheeses on a tray or platter that is large enough to keep them from touching.
- Serve each cheese with its own knife. For soft cheeses, use a butter knife. If the cheese is spreadable, use a knife with a wider blade. Firmer cheeses want a sharp knife.
- Don't limit your cheese board to cheese. Apples, pears, grapes, peaches and melons all go very well with cheese. Dried fruits and nuts are also good accompaniments.
- Make sure your cheeses are easy to cut. Small cheeses go in the middle, with soft cheeses arranged around them. Hard cheeses that are more difficult to cut go along the outside edges of the cheese board.
- Let the cheese be the star. Serve crackers and breads that don't have strong flavors so they won't detract or clash with the flavor of the cheeses.
- Quality is everything. Insist on only the finest, freshest cheeses.
- When serving a variety of cheeses, consider accompanying them with a white wine, which goes well with almost every cheese selection.
- Remember that there is no right or wrong. Your cheese platter can be as simple or as extravagant as you like, depending on the occasion.
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