An awesome cheese pairing will increase gustatory pleasure. Who doesn’t like to have an enjoyable eating experience?
Because cheese has a complexity of flavor, it makes it an ideal food to pair with fermented beverages such as wine, beer, cider and even spirits.
If there’s one takeaway, this is it: The BEST pairing is the one you like best.
I know it sounds simple… except it is not if you have no idea where to start.
Tip #1: When in Doubt, Choose White Wine Over Red Wine
I’m not saying that red wine is not a good combination, it can be an excellent choice when pairing with your favorite cheese.
Nevertheless, what I’m saying is that most white wines goes better with most cheeses in general as compared to red wines (as red wines can be a little too overwhelming for many cheeses).
So when in doubt choose white wine! Here’s why…
White wines or sparkling wines tend to be a little milder in flavor. They compliment one another and are certainly not ‘fighting’ for attention in your palate like most red wines would.
If you feel like you have to stick to red wine then I would suggest going for cheeses with stronger and bolder flavors.
Think of red wine like a strong and independent companion, it needs someone strong and unique in character.
Therefore, pairing firm aged cheeses, blue, and stinky cheeses will have an infinitely higher chance of harmonizing with red.
Tip #2: Dare to Include Beer and Cider to the Mix
It is as if beer and cider were created to co-exist with cheeses. They are soulmates.
There’s something interesting about bubbles (in beer and cider) and butterfat (in cheese) that percolates up into ether and creates an enjoyable eating experience.
Also read: How to Pair Cheese With Beer (GUIDE)
In America, the demand for cider has been increasing for years.
Cider brisk, crisp acidity is a refreshing contrast to the richness of cheese.
The richness of cheese goes exceptionally well with the refreshing contrast of cider’s brisk, crisp acidity.
However, beer can be a little more complicated to pair. The truth is, there are endless varieties of craft beers, from stouts to IPAs to pilsners, and believe me – there is a cheese for every one of them.
Tip #3: What Grows Together Goes Together
If you know the geographical location of certain food you can use this knowledge to your advantage when pairing cheeses.
You will rarely be disappointed if you follow this tip.
For instance, dry Normandy cider goes extremely well with Camembert which is originated in Normandy, France.
The well-known stinky Limburger that is incredibly popular in Germany, pairs absolutely well with rich lager beers (which is also very popular in Germany).
Sweet balsamic vinegar from Modena is an ideal and fun option to pair with Italy’s Parmigiano Reggiano.
Tip #4: When in Doubt, Go With These 6 Classic Cheese Pairings (FAIL PROOF)
1. Triple Cream Cheese & Champagne
The dense and buttery textures of the cheese are lifted up by the acidity and effervescence of Champagne.
2. Alpine-style Cheese & Off-dry White Wine
Any cheese that originated in the Alps are consider ‘Alpine-style cheese.’
They are usually well aged, rich, and dense and have the grassy, nutty, toasted and creamy flavors.
Because Off-dry White Wines have a hint of flowery and fruity sweetness and a slight of acidity mixed in to them, they tend to pair naturally and beautifully with these noble cheeses.
3 of the Best Off-dry White Wine to Go With Alpine-style cheese
- Chenin Blanc
3. Cheddar and Strong Ale
Cheddar is a wild, strong, sharp, and acidic type of cheese which has a hint of allium attribute.
The malted qualities in strong ale is the perfect balance to harmonize and tame the wildness of Cheddar.
4. Blue Cheeses & Sweet Dessert Wine
Blues are strong, earthy, peppery and can be incredibly divisive. They need a high-octane beverage in order to match their robustness.
Sweet dessert wines can certainly provide the sugar rush needed to balance the intensity of most blue cheeses.
2 of the best Sweet Dessert Wine to Match Blues
5. Bloomy Rind’s Cheese (Cow’s Milk) & Dry Cider
Anything that has a white, fluffy, Brie-like rind is considered ‘bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese.’
The sourness and bracing acidity of dry cider goes extraordinarily well the subtle funk endemic of this type of cheese.
6. Aged Gouda & Whiskey
Whiskey is way too strong and is not a common companion to cheese. Pairing Whiskey with cheese will likely destroy and overwhelm your palate.
Nevertheless, a aged Gouda (2 years or more) is up to the task.
The dense Gouda tastes sort of like caramel, nuts and sweet cream and the combination goes surprisingly well with the warmth-spicy barrel-aged Whiskey.
This classic pairing will set the tone for a warm belly and sated palate.
12 Delicious Cheese and Food Pairings That We Like
Below are some of our favorite pairings that we took many trials and errors and years to figure out.
- Soft, sweet blues with dark chocolate
- Aged Gouda with caramel
- Alpine cheese with spicy whole-grain mustard
- Camembert with fresh berries
- Feta with watermelon and/or mint
- Blues with buckwheat honey
- Fromage blanc with heirloom tomato
- Aged sheep’s milk cheese with membrillo (quince paste) or goiabada (guava paste)
- Sharp cheddar with garlicky dill pickles
- Washed-rind cheese with sour cherry preserves
- Tomme with candied pineapple
- Chèvre with Meyer lemon marmalade
Pairing cheese is a fun, educational, and adventurous experience. Do not get too bogged down trying not to make a wrong turn or you will miss out on an entirely adventurous and positive experience.
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