Best Wines to Serve with Cheese
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What wines to serve with cheese? The World Loves Melbourne loves nothing more than to sit down with friends and enjoy a cheese platter featuring gourmet cheeses with top-notch wines.
The Australian foodie has more sophisticated tastes these days; busting out from a camembert and brie focus into greater cheese adventure. That's not to knock camembert and brie of course! Aussie consumers are becoming more savvy and are opening up to the wider world of Australian and European cheeses.
European cheese varietals from the various cheese-making regions of Europe are steeped in tradition where artisans have produced authentic cheeses from Camembert to Raclette for centuries, including parmesan and Gorgonzola.
Soft cheeses - Brie, Camembert, Ricotta, Burrata, Halloumi, Feta, Goat's Cheese
How good are creamy soft cheeses? In the past consumers were likely to grab a brie as their soft cheese preference, or a creamy camembert. Now consumers are more savvy to wider choices. We like Aussie double cream cheeses, an ash brie, and Italian style burrata.
French soft cheeses are also a hit in our household. The Brie Ile de France for example, available in Australia, is a classic French cheese is a creamy, mild and buttery cows-milk cheese. The Brie Ile de France features a distinctive pale white rind with a creamy heart.
Another cheese which is becoming popular in Australia and very popular in Europe, Chaumes is a round, soft-ripened cheese with a bright orange washed rind and a rich, creamy paste and hazelnut aftertaste. It takes 15 litres of cow’s milk to make a 2kg wheel of Chaumes cheese. A very popular after-school children’s snack in Europe, Chaumes goes perfectly with figs, raisins and crusty bread.
Of the Italian cheeses, burrata is seen on more and more menus. Creamy Italian goodness.
In recent times Goats Cheese has seen a rise in popularity. Even our young kids love to enjoy Goat's Cheese with bread or part of a platter. In Australia we're used to the easily spreadable goat's cheese, but you can also get Goat's Cheese in "harder" form.
Recommended wine match: Riesling, Moscato, Champagne or Prosecco, Pinot Grigio.
Semi Hard Cheeses - Cheddar, Gruyere, Edam, Jarlesburg, Havarti
We love cheeses with a firmer texture. Do you treat yourself to a crumbly mature cheddar cheese? Cheddar cheese was originally from Cheddar a town in England; a place The World Loves Melbourne has visited and has imbibed the cheese. While a mild cheddar is enjoyable, we also enjoy a degree of sharpness and maturity from an aged cheese. We also appreciate a smokey cheddar for nuance.
Gruyere is becoming more popular as the best of Alpine cheeses; recently we enjoyed gruyere in a decadent toasted sandwich that was incredibly flavoursome. Gruyere is a semi hard yellow cheese named after the Gruyeres town in Switzerland; featuring a creamy and nutty taste when it's still young, and with growing sophistication as it becomes older.
Recommended wine match: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Port and Sherry.
Hard Cheeses - Comté, Aged Cheddar, Pecorino, Manchego, Aged Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)
Lately we've been eating more "hard" cheese than "soft" cheese. Hard cheeses often take more time to produce, and tend to bring a greater saltiness and nuttiness. We've fallen in love with the French comté style; it's nutty, earthy and creamy in a hard cheese. The World Loves Melbourne finds it's hard to stop eating this cheese once you start; moreish, long lasting and versatile. Buy Comté as a wedge, and it's easy to cut into manageable portions for snacking, or larger wedge is perfect for a dinner party.
Parmigiano Reggiano is often grated, say, on to pasta dishes, but quality Italian Parmigiano Reggiano (from Italy) can also be enjoyed on its own as a stellar cheese out of the packaging. Italians advise even to eat the hard outer layer.
The World Loves Melbourne is also partial to fine Italian style Pecorino; a hard and rustic sheep's milk cheese with a sharp and salty flavour. We can easily devour a block of Pecorino with fine wine.
Recommended wine match: Hard cheeses love big wines! Get out your Cabernet, Shiraz, a Nebbiolo, as well as sweet wines.
Blue Cheeses - Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort
We love to get our hands on Gorgonzola, and even add it to a pasta dish for extra decadence. Blue cheeses have strong bold flavours and a saltiness that needs big wines to match. The World Loves Melbourne likes to imbibe Blue Cheese at room temperature, and as it warms up the stinkier it becomes. We love the rustic nuance of the "stink" and the bold flavours of the cheese. These are big "in your face" cheeses with creaminess and complexity. We can't get enough.
Roquefort is the great French blue; with a long history in Europe and a lingering richness and gamey quality in taste.
Recommended wine match: Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay.