Wine, cheese, fruit and nuts naturally go so well together. They all contain natural flavors that all have certain levels on sweetness, bitterness, saltiness and acidity that can be mixed and matched when being paired together. You can choose pairings that focus on the same quality, such as a bitter wine with a bitter cheese; or you can choose pairings that focus on a contrasting quality, such as a sweet wine with a salty cheese. Cheese also pairs well with other mixed drinks and liquors. In this blog, you will learn some simple pairing tips as well as some great cheesy recipes along with drink suggestions.
The number of ways to pair wine with cheese is infinite, and while there are guidelines, it truly comes down to what you really like. So where do you start? Begin with deciding which flavor you want to stand out? If you want the cheese to stand out, then the cheese should be bolder than the wine. If you want the wine to stand out, then the wine should be bolder than the cheese. If you prefer balance, then match strong cheeses with sweet wines, dry cheeses with red wines and soft cheeses with sparkling wines.
For pairing wine with nuts, you should factor in sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and acidity. Then decide if you want them to complement one another or contrast one another. This is purely an individual preference. Try out some different combinations to see what you enjoy the most.
The options for pairing fruit and wine seem endless as well. Pay attention to the sweetness and bitterness. Then decide if you would like to compliment or contrast the main flavor of the fruit in order to choose your wine. Dry wines go well with fresh fruit and many prefer white wine with sweeter fruits, such as berries. Reds go better with mellow fruits such as cantaloupe or other melons.
What if you do not just want berries and nuts? What if you are looking for an entire cheesy meal to pair with your favorite wine or cocktail? Then you must also take into consideration the flavors of the food, but you are still going to look at these basics the most: sweetness, saltiness, bitterness and acidity. To learn about some great pairings, we will explore some decadent cheesy recipes, grouped by their prominent cheese.
Cream cheese is often trumped by the flavors around it, as it is in our Jalapeno Popper Dip. We could pair this spicy dip with a nice Riesling to add some sweetness. A Bloody Mary would also go great with it. In fact, some places serve a jalapeno popper on the rim! Finally, an ice cold beer always goes great with a spicy jalapeno dip.
This fabulous Bacon Cheese Dip has both cream cheese and blue cheese, but the blue cheese stands out, so we will be looking at its qualities to pair it with a drink. While a fruity red wine always goes well with blue cheese, you may wish to try something new and pair it with vodka. Blue cheese has a pungency that brings out the bitterness of the vodka in a way that makes them a perfect match. If you do not prefer plain vodka, then try a light flavored mix such as soda and lime.
Mozzarella is another mild cheese, so we will look at the other flavors in the recipe to help decide on the best pairing. Our Cheese Pull Apart Bread is loaded with flavor! Garlic, butter and salt all overtake the mozzarella a bit. Dry whites such Pinot Grigio or Gavi pair well with this recipe because they are light on flavor, allowing the cheese and garlic in the bread to shine. A classic margarita, not a fruity margarita, also pairs nicely if you would prefer a cocktail.
Whiskey may not be the first thing that you think to grab when having a nice turkey sandwich, but Bourbon, in particular, has hints of citrus flavors. Brie enhances that fruitiness in the Bourbon making it an interesting pairing for our Turkey Brie Sandwiches. For desserts with brie, such as Cherry Pecan Brie, you may prefer a fruity red wine.
There are many yummy cheddar-based cheesy recipes. In our Pub Style Mac & Cheese and our Broccoli Cheese Casserole, the cheddar is truly the starring flavor. In a surprising match, cheddar and chardonnay pair excellently together! The cheddar brings out the fruitiness in the wine, and the wine brings out mellowness in the cheese. Feeling less formal? Rum pairs great with cheddar! A classic rum and cola would also compliment either of these recipes. In our Pimento Stuffed Cheese Burgers, the cheddar-based, pimento cheese truly stands out! Beer is the best compliment for this outstanding burger. If it is a cocktail that you prefer, why not contrast the salty and cheesy burger with a sweet daiquiri? The flavors will be bold, but if you like a contrast, then they are perfect together!
Cheese sure makes meals decadent! A nice wine, cocktail or beer always goes great with cheesy dishes. We hope that you learned some awesome tips for pairings, and we hope that you enjoy trying some new recipes!