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What to Know about Cheese and Wine Pairing

By Edited Feb 2, 2016 0 0

Cheese is made with an enzyme found on the inside of a stomach of an animal and most cheeses are covered with mould on the rind. Yet, we still love them and can’t seem to get enough of them.

My parents often talk with fond memories about their sixties cheese and wine parties and many cheese fondue dinners.

In the sixties (apparently) you would usually find a couple of cheese sticks and grab a glass of wine, being it red, white or champagne. Not a lot of emphasis was placed on proper wine pairings with food, but today, standards have been improved and there is lot more focus on pairing food and wine.

A good wine pairing should improve the flavor of the wine so you would normally choose a red wine with a hard cheese like cheddar and go for a soft cheese when drinking white wine.

You should choose a wine that compliments the cheese you are using. For example if you are you using a strong cheese such as Roquefort you wouldn’t use a light wine, but instead choose one with a heavy body.

cheese course

credit:flickr.com/photos/ulteriorepicure/493134781

Another popular thing to do is to choose cheeses and wines from the same area or region. The first obvious example that comes to mind is a Swiss cheese and then you would choose white wine from the same region.

In some European countries the best wine is reserved for the cheese course, being the last course. If you have not tried deep fried goats cheese with cranberries I suggest you give it a try. Serve it with a good wine and savor every bite.

Cooking with cheese and wine can be quite an education. Sometimes you just have to experiment a little.

A Parmesan wine paring, for example would consist of a red wine, along with a couple of poached fruit such as pears in a spicy sauce. The reason for this selection is that this type of cheese is extremely rich, so you need something to calm it down.

Have a look at this cheese and wine pairing chart

Bleu

Port, Sherry

red

Brie

Champagne, Sweet Sherry

white

Camemberet

Cabernet, Chenin Blanc

both

Cheddar (mild)

Cheddar, Chardonay

white

Cheddar (strong)

Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc

both

Cheshire

Riesling

white

Chevre

Champagne

white

Colby

Riesling, Champagne

white

cream cheese

White Zinfandel

white

danish blue

Cabernet

red

Edam

Riesling, Dry Champagne

white

feta

Beaujolais

red

Gorgonzola

Sauternes-Bourdeaux

white

goat's cheese

Vouvray

white

Gruyere

Chardonay, Sauvignon Blanc

white

Roquefort

Port

red

Stilton

Port

red

Swiss

Gewurztraminer

white

wine pairing

credit: flickr.com/photos/pengrin/292858436

Let's end off with the ultimate - Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

I’m wondering what the culinary world would do without Mozzarella cheese. Yes, you can make a Pizza with Cheddar cheese, but it’s hardly the same as you can imagine. It definitely does not do justice.

For one thing the melting properties are just not there. It does not look good with strands of yellow cheese holding your ingredients together and since the first impression is not good you are hardly expecting it to taste as any good pizza should.

Italians have been making Mozzarella through the ages and they make it so well. You might ask yourself why that is. My thoughts are that they concentrate on one area and they do it well. Yet, so many of us choose to buy the plastic processed slab, which the supermarkets call Mozzarella.

There are various stages of production that Mozzarella cheese has to go through

To make 1kg of Mozzarella cheese 5kg of buffalo milk is needed

  1. Buffalo Milk is stored in big metal containers
  2. The milk is heated, treated and poured into a separate cream container
  3. Curdling takes place and it is left to mature
  4. Hot water is poured on the curd so that it softens
  5. The cheese is shaped with special rotating machines
  6. It is drenched in cold water for cooling to take place
  7. Cheese is placed in original whey for a pickling process
  8. Cheese is placed in packaged and sent to shops

mozzarella cheese

 

If you find this in one of your local supermarkets this is definitely not Mozzarella, but in fact an insult to an Italian. If you have never had the proper Buffalo Mozzarella then do yourself a favor and try it out on a pizza or even a calzone and you will never turn back.

When I was in Chef School my chef was giving us a lesson on different cheeses. When he opened the Buffalo Mozzarella it looked so fresh. A lot of people are put off by the price of food, but when you are educated about care that goes into the preparation and taste the difference between the two you might change your mind. 

When ingredients are fresh there is not a lot you have to do to them, but if you have a cheap, processed ingredient you really need to dress it up, adding extra flavour. Sometimes it becomes quite technical because you can’t just add anything, the ingredients have to work together.

The things you can do with Mozzarella are endless. How about a slice of Buffalo Mozzarella with a spoonful of pesto, tomato or  slice of chilli and a Caprese salad is always extremely popular.  Deep Fried Mozzarella is definitely a treat and once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to do.

So the next time you are in the supermarket don’t even think of buying cheap, packaged Mozzarella that tastes of nothing, but try splash out a bit. You will be amazed.

Wine pairing with Mozzarella
There are a couple of good wines that will go very well with this lovely cheese, but you really can't go wrong with a Chianti, especially since this comes from Tuscany so you are going with the Italian theme as well!

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