Wine and cheese have gone hand-in-hand for centuries, and today there are more options than ever to choose from on both sides of the pairing equation, which can be intimidating to many people. But Melanie McMullen and Fran Avery, owners of Crave, a gourmet food and gift store in Lake Charles, says there’s really no right and wrong when it comes to pairing wine and cheese. "Cheese with wine is one of the simplest, yet most refined, gourmet pleasures – one that everyone should enjoy,” says McMullen. "There are no set rules pairing. It’s a matter of which tastes and combinations appeal to you.”
The best place to start? With your own favorites, according to Avery. "We recommend experimenting with different combinations of the tastes you are familiar with first, and then trying out new flavors and textures. Searching for the perfect harmony between wine and cheese should be a culinary adventure – and you never know where it may lead you. That’s part of the fun!”
Crave offers the following tips as a starting point for wine and cheese pairings:
Stay within the Same Region
Like best friends who grew up together, cheese and wine produced in the same geographic region are a good match.
Pair bigger, bolder wines with bigger, strong-tasting cheeses and lighter, refreshing wines with milder, delicate cheeses.
Red wine is usually best with hard cheese and white wine with soft cheese.
Creamy with Tannic
Triple Crème cheeses are buttery, smooth and gentle, the perfect contrast for the rougher tannins in young red wines.
Acidity with Acidity
The acidity in goat cheese gives it a tangy zip that matches perfectly well with the crisp acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc.
Salty with Sweet
Saltier cheeses balance out the sweetness of dessert wines.
Rich and Creamy With Bubbles
Champagne or any sparkling wine paired with a rich, creamy cheese is an ideal combination.
"Remember, these are only guidelines,” says McMullen. "Don’t hesitate to pair the wines and cheeses that are a perfect match for your taste.”
For more information about wine and cheese pairing, call Crave at (337) 421-0040 or stop by 2801 Ryan Street in Lake Charles.