I love hanging with friends. I love eating. And I love drinking wine. But unless I’m on a foodporn high from watching MasterChef, I don’t love the hassle of getting everything ready.
So to help myself out, I have developed a two-step system. Want to hear it?
Step one: Get some cheese. Step two: Get some wine. Then I’m done!
So why is cheese my number one go-to food for entertaining?
1) It’s easy to prepare: nice plate, nice cheese, a few crackers and you’re sorted.
2) Pretty much all cheese tastes great and everyone loves it (except people who are lactose-intolerant – if that’s you, please accept my deepest sympathies).
3) Drinking wine while eating cheese makes both taste infinity times better than when nibbled and sipped alone.
But here’s where things get a little tricky. I wanted to make things easy on myself, but now I have a whole world of cheese and wines to choose from. Where do I start?
I assumed I wasn’t alone in this dilemma. So to keep things hassle free for you, I’ve put together some ‘go to’ pairings to help make your entertaining that little bit smoother.
The Classic Combo: Cabernet Sauvignon & Cheddar
What you’re looking for here is a strong, crumbly cheddar that can hold its own against the might of a cab sav.
Not a fan of cheddar? Try a Danish blue cheese if you can handle it.
The creaminess of the brie offsets the crisp and fruity flavours of a pinot grigio. The combination of rich and refreshing is a great balance. If you find pinot grigio particularly sharp, up the cheese stakes to a triple-cream brie to counter it.
Need a break from brie? Try some fresh mozzarella. It’s also creamy but offers a bit of texture.
Because pinot noir is versatile, it’s a great option if you have a lot of different cheeses. However, if you want to bring out its light flavours, a relaxed cheese like gouda fits the bill. It’s a little creamy and a little sweet, but not overpowering.
Bored with gouda? Try a gruyere, as it’s also creamy but a little more exotic.
The Locals: Sauvignon Blanc & Goat’s Cheese
See that sav blanc in your hand? Even though it may be from Adelaide Hills, it originated back in the Loire Valley, France. This area isn’t just known for its vineyards, but also for its numerous goatherds, and as you can guess, their delicious goat’s cheese. And I’ll give the Frenchies one thing, they know how to pair their foods. This firmer, spicier aged cheese will make your glass of sav blanc stand up and be, ah, herd (sorry).
Don’t like goat’s cheese? Play it safe with a camembert.
The Foolproof Match: Champagne (and sparkling wine) & Any Cheese
Champagne will work with almost any cheese, so long as the cheese isn’t too funky. Brie will accentuate the bubbly’s creamy notes, cheddar will bring out its sharpness and acidity, chevre loves the fruity and tangy flavours, while an edam or gouda will bring out any nuttiness.
And there you have it… You always knew wine and cheese worked well together, but now you know how to pair them, it’s time to up your game!