It’s becoming fairly well established by now that wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly.
But, because the taste is a little more refined than our go-to mac and cheese pairing, simply throwing together any old bottle of plonk and cheddar cheese is not going to guarantee a gourmet snack.
Choosing the perfect bottle of white or red and matching it to a complimentary cheddar or brie is a science. And it takes time to make sure that the flavours and the nuances are paired to perfection, to create a dreamy taste sensation.
If that sounds like too much work, fear not. Because here is the ultimate cheese cheat sheet, so you can enjoy the ultimate indulgence and impress your unenlightened dinner guests in the process.
And best of all, all the cheeses included are from Canadian cheese makers.
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon
Cheese: Old Cheddar – Black River Cheese
Black River has been making cheese along the banks in the picturesque Prince Edward County for 114 years which means by now they’re pretty damn good at it. The milk that’s brought in by the farmers, is used the very next day to create this delicious artisan cheese which is a match made in heaven with a glass (or two) of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine: Pinot Noir
Cheese: Poplar Grove Cheese – Naramata Bench Blue
When it comes to Pinot Noir, the choice is pretty much yours cheese-wise. So why not start with this “beginner’s blue cheese”, a creamy, mild-flavoured specimen made in the Okanagan Valley. The pinot noir will cut through any sharpness in the Naramata Bench Blue, which is hand flipped for three weeks as it matures.
Cheese: Gouda – The Farm House Natural Cheeses
Located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, this old-fashioned farmhouse style Gouda has been aged for two months in wax and has a slight sweetness to it. By pairing it with a fruity red like a Beaujolais, with hints of dark fruits and spices, you’ll bring out all the nutty, creamy flavours of the cheese.
Wine: Pinot Grigio
Cheese: Feta – Fox Hill Cheese House
You’ll need a white wine like a Pinot Grigio to pair with this fresh, soft Fox Hill cheese. The farm is perched in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia and only the finest and freshest milk from their Holstein and Jersey cows is used to make this sharp and salty Feta. Choose a sweet and fruity Pinot Grigio so that the salt in the cheese heightens the sweetness in the wine, to make it a perfect pairing.
Cheese: Black Truffle – Bothwell Cheese
When it comes to Riesling, the general rule of thumb that anything goes holds true. But this Monterey Jack, which has a creamy, texture and an earthy, black truffle flavour, complements it effortlessly. Serve with a fruity Riesling with lots of character, to enhance the mild flavours of this cheese from Manitoba’s dairy belt.
Cheese: Comfort Cream – Upper Canada Cheese Co.
A soft cheese, like this Camembert-style Comfort Cream goes well with chardonnay, as the wines acidity cuts through its richness. The cheese comes from the local Guernsey cows at this Niagara creamery, and has mushroom flavours with a buttery palate and a tangy finish, which compliment the Chardonnay rather than being overpowered by it. A triple cream brie also works well.
Wine: Dry Rose
Cheese: Provolone – Tre Stelle
This firm Ontario cheese has a tangy and fruity character, and since it’s a firm cheese it is best matched with a bottle of dry rose. The cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a pale to golden rind and a buttery taste. Sipped with your favourite glass of pink wine, the flavours will cut through the creamy flavours of the cheese and make for the perfect patio hors d’oeuvre.