Savvy Wine and Cheese Gift Baskets - All About Wine and Cheese Pairing
Wine and cheese are like PB&J, only classier. The aromatic subtleties of certain wines can elevate the tender but sharp bite of some cheeses to an alternate plane. The trick is figuring out which wines go with which cheeses. To be sure, there are some less than fortuitous combinations that will flatter neither the wine nor the cheese, and leave the palate confused or muddled, whereas a perfect wine and cheese pairing can be nothing less than pure culinary bliss. If you are going the classy route of giving wine and cheese gift baskets for gifts this holiday season, then check out this quick brush-up on the basics of pairing wine and cheese and prepare for your friends and family members to be talking about your famous wine and cheese gift baskets for months after the holiday season ends.
The Basics of Pairing Wine and Cheese to Make Perfect Wine and Cheese Gift Baskets
Delicious wine and cheese gift baskets are all about balancing complimentary flavors. In order to best pair our wines and cheeses, we want to first break down our cheeses into various categories and consider their defining characteristics. Doing so will allow us to properly balance the eccentricities of certain cheeses with the most complimentary wines. If ever you feel that you've reached a stumbling block and you're uncertain how to proceed, remember that successful gourmet wine and cheese gift baskets are about offering a balanced experience to the recipient.
These unique cheeses include favorites like Gorgonzola, Stilton, and Westminster blue. Most readily recognizable for their blue marbling, these delicious and diverse cheeses are made from cow's milk as well as goat's and sheep's milk. Famous for being traditionally aged in caves, blue cheeses can have a number of defining notes of flavor such as salty, sweet and sour.
Don't hesitate to include a couple of different blue cheeses when you're assembling your own gourmet wine and cheese gift baskets - especially if the friends or family members you're giving them to haven't much branched out into these cheeses. Blue cheeses are ideal for crumbling atop spinach based salads, placing as a garnish in soups, or enhancing beef or chicken dishes.
Pairing Blue Cheeses with Wine
Dessert wines are typically suggested as ideal pairings for the often intense family of blue cheeses. That's because dessert wines are known for their own intense and full-bodied flavors that won't be drowned out by the powerful cheeses. Try a nice dark glass of port alongside a few chunks of blue cheese for a truly sweet culinary experience. Wine and cheese gift baskets that include both table wines and dessert wines are all the more appreciated for the full-circle culinary experience they offer.
This soft French cheese is usually loved or hated by particular palates, but as a creamy soft cheese it is notable for its texture and subtle flavor. Gourmet wine and cheese gift baskets are often seen to include at least one small wheel of brie. Bries are made from skim cow's milk and features a light rind that is actually intended to be eaten. You can enjoy brie on its own or by spreading it onto crackers for a delicious snack. Brie comes in small to medium wheels and always makes a smart addition to gourmet wine and cheese gift baskets, especially when you're trying to challenge and excite the palates of the people you're giving your wine and cheese gift baskets to.
Pairing Brie with Wine
Foodies typically suggest pairing up brie with sparkling wines to add a lively note to an otherwise somewhat sedate cheese. The nice thing about designing your own wine and cheese gift baskets is that you can make room for as many different kinds of wine as you wish. You can choose sparkling fruity wines if you wish, or even champagne. Because too much brie on its own can bore or stultify the palate, these lively and effervescent wine selections are perfect for rounding out brie's richness while not allowing the palate to fall asleep. Wine and cheese gift baskets benefit from a good deal of variety, so take a stab at brie and offering up something lively alongside it.
Soft Goat Cheese
Goat cheese, made entirely from goat's milk, is a bright and soft white cheese that spreads very easily and delights with its sour but rounded flavors. Goat cheese is another perfect addition to dark green salads, or for stuffing pastries and adding a balancing softness to savory and intense meat dishes. Goat cheese is very delicate and, when it comes to wine and cheese gift baskets, is almost always spread on something like crackers or small pieces of toast. Remember to include something delicious for your lucky wine and cheese gift baskets recipients to spread their softer cheeses onto.
Pairing Goat Cheese with Wine
White wines are usually appropriate for eating goat cheese. A dry white wine will nicely balance the richness of goat cheese and make for a full and rounded taste. Avoid sweeter white wines so the palate does not become overburdened. Remember that successful wine and cheese gift baskets are about balance, meaning that every strong pronounced flavor should find its compliment in some other wine or cheese.
Parmigiano - Reggiano
A famous version of Parmesan hailing from Italy, this hard sharp cheese provides the perfect counterbalance to softer sweeter cheeses when placed in wine and cheese gift baskets. This hard cheese can be cut into chunks and nibbled on directly, without need for a cracker. Parmigiano - Reggiano is ideal for adding a tangy zip to sandwiches when cut into thin slices or shavings and many enjoy adding it to a mixture of pizza cheese before baking their own homemade pizza pie.
Pairing Parmigiano - Reggiano with Wine
Red wine is usually chosen as a compliment to this hard sharp cheese. Shoot for a high-quality red wine from Italy. Parmigiano-Reggiano is the perfect opportunity to include high quality red wines in your wine and cheese gift baskets. You can also pair Parmigiano-Reggiano with good quality chianti.