Since wine became a culinary component rather than an alcoholic beverage, people began studying the right food to pair with wine. And it has become critical to create the perfect wine pairing menu, especially if it is the highlight of your party.
Ditch the typical finger foods and steak with a simple menu that can still complement the bursting flavours of your wine – the cheese.
Know Your Cheese
Understand the kind of cheeses that you will have at your party by categorising them according to their outstanding characteristics.
There are the fresh ones like cream cheese and Buffalo mozzarella. They are usually pale in colour and do not have any outer layer. Then, the semi-soft cheeses that you can buy in blocks like the Fontina and Havarti. There are also the semi-hard cheeses that come in whites and yellows and sometimes contain air bubbles. Good examples of semi-hard cheese are cheddar and Gouda.
Parmesan falls under the hard cheese category that is strong in flavour. On the other hand, bloomy rind cheeses like Brie and Camembert, have creamy centres as they ripen from the outside due to the applied mould on their rind. While the bloomy muster cheese has a coloured rind due to the briny water or liquor used. Finally, the blue cheeses with streaks of blue mould like the gorgonzola and Roquefort.
Find the Right Match
Culinary professionals from The Barn Pub & Restaurant recommends pairing wines and cheeses that originate from the same region. And there are two things to consider in wine pairing: complementing and contrasting flavours.
Fresh cheeses go well with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio while semi-soft, semi-hard and hard ones are good pairs with red wines, such as Chianti, Bardolino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Heavy flavours combine well with the crisp acidity of lighter wines as mild flavoured cheeses are good with heavy red wines.
Moreover, bloomy and rind cheeses complement sparkling wines, like Champagne and Chardonnay. Then, sweet dessert wines like Port and Riesling are the perfect matches for blue cheese. These pairings balance the wine’s sweetness with the saltiness of the cheese not overwhelming the palate. The wine brings out the richness of the cheese’s flavour through its acidity.
You can also add other accompaniments to spice up your guests’ palate, like fresh fruits and vegetables, peanuts and chocolates. Make sure that they won’t overwhelm your cheese and wine pairings. Also, encourage your guests to make their own pairings to add more thrill to your party.