Wine and Cheese Gift Baskets: Giving the Perfect Thoughtful Gifts

The 'ageless companions' of wine and cheese are a traditional gift. The wine and cheese gift basket speaks of wishing prosperity and abundance to the recipient.

One of the most commonly purchased gift selections, any wine and cheese can be done as easily as joining your own personal favorites and tastes.

Sommeliers and cheese mongers hold extensive knowledge and specific training in the selection of fine wine and cheese pairings. The experience of tasting a gourmet cheese board along with a paired quality wine is a very enjoyable experience. A natural progression for gifting is to place your selections into a 'gift' basket.

Historically, bringing a basket of specialty food and drink items to any occasion is a long standing tradition all over the world. An easily recognizable symbol of gifting the recipient with wishes for happiness, abundance and prosperity.

Wine and cheese pairings

The basic guidelines for wine and cheese pairing are traditional ones:
-White wines match best with soft cheeses and stronger flavors.
-Red wines match best with hard cheeses and milder flavors.
-Fruity and sweet white wines (not dry) and desert wines work best with a wider range of cheeses.
-The more pungent the cheese you choose, the sweeter the wine should be.
-Sweet white wines commonly tend to have do well for almost all 
varieties of cheese if you are uncertain.

Some of the classic and standard cheeses that are available through your local market and common wines found in the average spirits and liquor shop are recommended to pair as follows:
Aged Provolone: Ivory to pale beige in color; full-flavored, becomes sharper with the texture more crumbly with age.
Paired with
: Sweeter-styles wines, such as Port, Amarone, Sauternes and Eiswein.

Swiss & Gruyère: Swiss heritage, alpine cheeses. Ivory-yellow in color with a nutty, 
full-bodied flavor. Paired with: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot.

Brie & Camembert: Rich, creamy in texture with a color of pale ivory. Soft-ripened cheese with earthy mushroom flavor.
Paired with: Sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Beaujolais , Pinot Noir, Madeira, Post, Sherry.

Gouda & Edam: Gouda is smooth, creamy and slightly sweet. Edam is lighter and has a firmer texture. Both are pale yellow in color and buttery in texture.
Paired with: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Beaujolais and some of the lighter-styled Chardonnay.

Monterey Jack & Muenster: Semi-soft, creamy white in color cheeses with mild to mellow flavors. Paired with: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot.

Aged Cheddar: Golden or white. Becomes sharper with age and more crumbly in texture as it ages. Paired with: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauternes, Port, Madeira , Rich Sherry.

Blue & Gorgonzola: Creamy ivory with blue-green veins in color. Firm and crumbly in texture. Piquant, full, earthy flavor.
Paired with: Red or white sweet wines, fruity red wines (Amarone, Port).

Brick: Creamy in texture. A 'surface-ripened' cheese with flavor and aroma that intensify with age. Paired with: Mild Brick would lean to the fruity red or white wines. Aged Brick towards a Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais , Pinot Noir, Merlot.

Aged Asiago & Parmesan: Italian heritage and hard cheese cheeses. Ranges of color and texture are: pale yellow, buttery, nutty and granular.
Paired with: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc , Burgundy, Merlot, Bolcetto, Barbera.

Components of a wine and cheese gift basket

Pulling together a great wine and cheese gift basket may need some professional assistance. Gift basket designers can be found easily online with ranges in cost and ability.

If pulling together your own basket, your local gourmet deli or food shop can help with cheese selection. Other items you may wish to consider adding to your basket are artisan breads, rolls or crackers. Gourmet olives also make a nice addition and also add flavor and texture. Pairings for olives and wine run along similar lines of the general rules of thumb listed above. Not to forget a way to slice your cheese, you may wish to have the slicing done for you at the store. Small cheese knives are also readily available for purchase at most shops or markets.

Stopping at the wine shop or section, do not forget that the wine will need to be opened and served. Acrylic wine glasses or goblets are often also readily available where wine is sold. As are wine glasses and goblets.