Nibble and Nosh: Tips for Planning a Wine/Beer and Cheese Pairing Party!
Summer is here, so we'll be spending more time outside with our favorite people! Since we love eating while socializing at Maison Midi, we want to help you plan a really fun event that you can easily do at home: a drinks and cheese pairing party! Whether you're a craft beer expert or a wine connoisseur, we're here to give you a few tips on how to take that knowledge and build a perfect cheese board to accompany your favorite drinks. We love a good champagne and creamy Brie, but the possibilities are endless!
As a general rule, pair wine and cheese with equal intensity.
This tip is the most important advice for creating your own pairings. The delicate flavors of Gruyère would be overwhelmed by a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, but are perfectly balanced when paired alongside a Pinot Noir
As a general rule:
- Wines over 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavored cheeses.
- Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavored cheeses
Sparkling wines pair perfectly with soft, creamy cheese.
Sparkling wines have high acidity and carbonation, which offer a palate cleansing effect to creamy, gooey cheeses such as Brie, Muenster, Camembert, Cremont, or Époisses de Bourgogne.
Wines and cheeses from the same region are ideal complements.
More often than not, trust local traditions and match wines and cheeses from the same region together. A few great examples of this include Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese (Loire Valley, France), Chardonnay with Époisses de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France), and Garnacha with Manchego (Spain).
As with cheese and wine, your cheese and beer should balance each other.
The secret is to avoid overpowering flavors with each other. For example, if you pair a mild, semi-soft cheese with an IPA, the beer will overpower the subtleness of the cheese. On the other hand, a cheese can be so potent, like a washed rind Camembert, that a lighter beer is necessary to tone down the pungent taste.
Choosing cheeses and beers from the same region is also an excellent way to find phenomenal pairings.
Like wine, this philosophy also applies. For example pairing an Oregon Blue Cheese with an Oregon micro-brewery Stout brings out the best in both.
Texture is important with cheese and beer.
Rich cheeses seem to be amplified, taste-wise, when paired with a more effervescent beer. Feel free to have your own taste-test to double check!