Figuring out what kind of cheese you’d like to try or what kind of cheese you’d like to share with friends can be quite confusing because of the variety of flavors and textures involved.
It’s kind of like how it is with wine.
The conundrum also mirrors wine when attempting to pair cheese with various types of food.
And it can be really challenging when trying to pair cheese with wine.
Since you have enough on your mind during the busy holiday season, here’s a quick cheese primer, along with a few wine-pairing suggestions.
There are so many types and styles of cheese that entire books have been written on just small subsets of the topic. But in general, we can think of the most common cheeses as falling into one of five categories: fresh, soft, semi-soft, hard and blue.
A few examples from each category:
* Fresh — Cream Cheese, Feta, Goat Cheese, Mozzarella.
* Soft — Brie, Camembert.
* Semi-soft — Havarti, Jarlsberg.
* Hard — Cheddar, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano.
* Blue — Cambozola, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton.
Both fresh and soft cheeses are ideal for baguettes or crackers, and also pair nicely with sliced apples. Soft cheeses also work well with a holiday ham or turkey.
Semi-soft cheeses work nicely with everything from sandwiches to burgers, and from salads to quiche.
There’s nothing better with hard cheeses than fruit, nuts and chutney, effectively creating a munching smorgasbord.
Steaks and burgers are most accommodating to blue cheeses, which also pair nicely with baked pears and add a strong flavor to salad dressings.
Not all cheese pairs with wine, but certain types are outstanding pairing partners. A few pairings were love:
* Goat cheese with Sauvignon Blanc.
* Brie and Jarlsberg with Chardonnay or Beaujolais — especially Beaujolais Nouveau.
* Cheddar with Sauvignon Blanc and Italian Barbaresco.
* Stilton with vintage Port.
Use these suggestions as a starting point, and then experiment with your own pairings. Who knows? You may discover a cheese-and-wine pairing you love that’s not found in any book.