Whether you are hosting for the Holidays or just having a cozy night in front of the fire, there’s no denying that wine and cheese add to the pleasure. And while a good wine and cheese pairing can be excellent for self-care, it can also be very confusing and intimidating. After all, most moms wine knowledge is based on what’s on sale at the grocery store. Few of us pay attention to grippy tannins and our idea of “full bodied” conjures up images of our postpartum booty rather than a glass of zinfandel.
Here are a few of our fake-it-till-you-make-it wine and cheese pairing tips to help you glide through the holiday season and enjoy the finer things in life – even if we don’t fully understand their complexities. Remember, cheese is the reason for the season.
Tip #1 When creating your own cheese board, you want to have a variety of flavours and textures: Aged, Soft, Firm, and Blue is a good rule of thumb that’s easy to remember.
Soft: Milder in flavour. A velvety brie or Camembert (basically rated PG in the cheese world).
Aged: Sharp and/ or bold flavours – the kind that really turn-on your taste buds.
Firm: Bold flavoured cheese. The typical firm cheese that comes to mind is Parmigiano Reggiano (Or “Parmesan”, if made anywhere outside of certain Italian provinces)
Blue: Pungent and pucker-worthy. This cheese is funky, and sometimes gets a bad reputation. And by funky, we mean less Saturday Night Fever funky and more kids hockey bag funk, but in a delicious kind of way. Give it a try, you may just surprise yourself!
Tip #2 Serve your cheese room temperature. Take it out of the fridge 1 hour before serving.
Tip #3 If you would put it in a sandwich, don’t put it on a cheese board. If it comes pre-sliced, save it for your kid’s school lunches and not your fancy board.
Tip #4 Add seasonal fruit (grapes, figs and dried cranberries), something salty (cured meat, nuts and olives) and a few carbs (sliced baguette and crackers).
Tip #5 Ignore the wine snobs. They’re like the dreaded judgey moms in the playground. They’ll always have an opinion. The truth is, they’re probably faking it, too. Life is short, drink what you like.
Tip #6 If you’re hosting, make sure to label your cheeses, otherwise you’ll spend your night reciting the list to all the other fakers guests. Plus, labeling makes Mabel proud.
Tip # 7 Taste everything! Then simply play a game of matchy-matchy. Here are a few examples of some safe, go-to pairings:
Brie + Chardonnay
Milder soft cheese such as a brie pairs nicely with a crisp white wine such as chardonnay.
Goat Cheese + Sauvignon Blanc
This is a regional matching – what grows together, goes together!
Cheddar + Cabernet Sauvignon
Bold with Bold is a good hint. This sharp cheese pairs well with a bold wine.
Gruyere + Pinot Noir
A nutty flavoured cheese is BFF’s with a light red wine.
Stilton + Port
This funky blue cheese pairs perfectly with a glass of port (you fancy, huh)
Parmigiano Reggiano + Sparkling
…because the list wouldn’t be complete without a bottle of bubbly.
Christmas is the time of year where it is perfectly acceptable to park yourself in front of the fire and sweat your way through a cheeseboard with a glass bottle of wine. Don’t worry too much about creating a perfect pairing and have fun with the tasty experimentation.
Enjoy mama, you deserve it!