Let’s face it, Valentines can be “cheesy”! Chocolate has been the center of attention for centuries, and it’s time to shake things up. For us, the sexiest thing going is an awesome wine and cheese pairing, or a cheese platter.
(Photo Cred: Chef James - Date Night)
If you’re preparing an elaborate Valentines meal, kick it off with a few samples of cheese paired with your fave wine. If you’re settling in for a movie night, forego the popcorn and snack on a cheese platter instead. This might actually be one of the best ways to enjoy wine and cheese! Want to try it but don't want the commitment of buying everything? Chef James has an awesome cheese platter to start our Valentines meal (served Fri., Sat., Sun.) at Eddies.
Pairing wine and cheese can be tricky, but one thing to keep in mind is the aging involved in both. Bloomy-rind cheeses like Brie remain gooey and spreadable, with earthy notes from the aging process. Older cheeses like gruyere acquire nutty flavours and Blue cheeses develop pungency from the mold in their veins.
Much like cheese, the complexity of wine can also be linked to it’s age. Young wines are typically fresh and spirited with lively aromas and bright flavours. Aged wines take on secondary flavours such as oak or earthy notes. In general, young cheese pairs with wines that are juicy and fresh and older cheese pairs best with wines that have more complexity.
White wines tend to pair better with cheese than red. If red wine is your thing, go for it, rules are meant to be broken.
Here are some of our favourite pairings:
Chardonnay – The flavours in a Chardonnay nod to the wine making techniques used. For example, aging in an oak barrel lead to notes of vanilla and smoke. The fruity flavours in Chardonnay can range from tropical fruits like pineapple to stone fruits (like peaches), citrus and apples.
Recommended cheese: Brie, Alpine Shepperd, Bucheron, Jarlsberg, Camembert
How to pair it: Have you ever melted Brie? OMG it’s melty and gooey and is hands down delicious. It makes for a great dip with water crackers. Don’t be afraid to try the rind on this bad boy!
Riesling – Rieslings are highly aromatic and a fruity grape variety. Because of Rieslings pure fruit flavours, there is no need for winemakers enhancements such as oak. Rieslings can range from totally dry to extremely sweet and anything in between. Typical fruit flavours include citrus, green apple, apricot and mango.
Recommended cheese: Colby, Cheshire, monteray jack, Saval, Asiago, Mascarpone, goat cheese.
How to pair it: Looking for a dessert pairing? Try spreading some Goat Cheese across a delectable piece of good quality chocolate (we like 72% cocoa Belgian chocolate) and pop it in your mouth. It’s like a little burst of chocolate cheesecake that you wont be able to stop snacking on.
(Yeah, yeah, we know we said chocolate is out for Valentines but this combo isn’t served in a heart shaped box.)
Pinot Noir - If you do prefer a red wine, our recommendation would be for a Pinot Noir. The low tannins and subtle flavours of cranberry, cherry or raspberry make them great for pairing.
Recommended cheese: goats cheese, gouda, Cheddar, Berkswell, blue.
How to pair it: Looking for a simple pairing? Try a great Pinot Noir with a traditional cheddar or experiment with different types of cheddar such as smoked cheddar or sharp cheddar.
There are so many great combinations out there that it really is best to experiment. If your selected pairings don’t suit your palette, don’t fret, you can never have enough cheese on hand for a great grilled cheese sandwich!