A cheese tasting party is similar to a wine tasting party. First start with the mildest tasting cheese and then move up to the strongest. A nice way to set up a cheese tasting party is to have a buffet with a variety of cheeses displayed on different platters and surrounded with complementary fruits, vegetables, mild breads and plain crackers. Another creative approach is to have 6 mini stations each one with a featured cheese paired with a wine and accompaniments of fruits, crackers and bread. Include a card that describes the origin and facts or trivia of the cheese and wine. Have a tasting sheet where your guests can write down their notes about the cheese.
TIPS FOR GREAT WINE A CHEESE PAIRINGS
When cheese and wine is perfectly matched the experience is wonderful. Both the cheese and wine flavors will be enhanced almost jumping out at you. There are so many choices and combinations for cheese and wine pairings. However, below are 4 popular wines and general descriptions for cheese selections from Artisanal Premium Cheese read more at their website.
Pairing Cheese with Cabernet Sauvignon - The Cabernet Sauvignon grape generally favors cow’s milk cheeses and generally works well with washed rind variety of cow’s milk cheeses, from young to well-aged. Cabernets also tolerate many milder blues. The prominent cedar, lead pencil, and tobacco flavors associated with this varietal often clash with the acids that are typical of most goat’s milk cheeses. When paired with sheep milk cheeses the grape blends fairly well at the start but the finish is usually less rewarding.
Pairing Cheese with Pinot Noir – Pinot Noirs with their red berry flavors and floral aromas meld well with natural rinded cow’s milk cheeses, and many of the sheep milk cheeses, including the Iberian thistle-renneted cheeses. Pinots are rarely successful with blue cheeses, washed rind cheeses, or goat milk cheeses. The acids in these cheese types can ruin a fine Pinot Noir. One exception to the rule is with mixed milk cheeses that have goat’s milk, these have the potential to pair well with Pinot Noir.
Pairing Cheese with Chardonnay - Chardonnays work well with washed rind cow’s milk cheeses as well as many cow’s milk blues. The apple, pear and citrus flavors of the grape generally meld with the acids found in goat’s milk cheeses as well. Even the super-aged cow or goat’s milk cheeses can dissolve well into this varietal. 100% sheep’s milk cheeses are usually much less successful, especially the Iberian thistle-renneted cheeses.
Pairing Cheese with Champagne - The success Champagnes enjoy with cheese can be largely attributed to their effervescence – the bubbles have a wonderful “lift” and help break down the acids and butterfats. Champagnes also have a degree of acidity and sweetness that gives them special affinities.
Shopping Tip: Rule of thumb is one-half bottle of wine and 4 ounces of cheese person.
Serving Tips: Serve the cheeses at room temperature. Offer a minimum of 6 cheese from soft, semi-hard to hard. Present the cheese in blocks or wedges and have a cheese plane, slicer or cheese knives handy so guests can cut their own. Offer thinly sliced or cubed baguettes and plain crackers in a basket.
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