There may not be two things in this world we love more than wine and cheese. As far as we are concerned if you pair the two it is very hard to go wrong however, we do understand there is a lot of anxiety when it comes to finding the perfectl pairing of the two.
We have picked three of our favorite cheeses, all available to be shipped anywhere in the country from DiBruno.com, and some great wines to pair them with from Cellars Wine Club to get you started.
First rule of thumb I like to follow when putting out a cheese tray for guests is this – go for one firm, one soft and one semi- soft cheese. This way you have a nice variety that can be eaten on their own or paired with bread, crackers, or even crudite.
We will start with one of our favorite firm cheeses, The Old Man Pecorino Toscano. This is a firm or hard, sheep's milk cheese from Italy. It usually has a great salty bite to it especially if it has been aged for a long time (over a year which this particular pecorino has). Because of its salty bite it pairs lovely with drizzles of honey, or candied nuts. It is perfect just broken into large chunks onto an antipasti or cheese display and since it is Italian it pairs lovely with virtually any Italian wine. For this cheese we would recommend the International Wine Club on Cellars Wine Club.com. For less than $50 this club sends you one white and one red from around the world. Including the Epicuro Winery, Italy, 2006 Copertino Rosso Reserva.
Moving to our semi-soft cheese – one of my personal favorites is the Manchengo cheese. This is a sheep's milk cheese from Spain and is Spain's most popular cheese. The sheep whose milk make this cheese strictly feed on acorns,wild grasses and herbs and the cheese is bathed weekly in olive oil during its aging process which keeps it from becoming a firm cheese. This cheese is popular in tapas dishes and is perfect on its own in your cheese display or paired with Marcona almonds to bring out the nutty notes. Traditionally paired with Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Navarra, It really can go with almost any wine because it is on the mild side. For this cheese the West Coast Wine Club would be perfect. It features light, refreshing California, Oregon and Washington coast wines. For less than $50 you get one red and one white or two reds from different vineyards up and down the west coast.
Finally our soft cheese pick is the Colston Bassett Stilton Cheese. This is said to be the best stilton cheese you can find and is as English as it gets. It has a strong blue cheese flavor and should be paired with a strong deep red wine that can stand up to it such as Port. This cheese spreads lovely onto crackers or bread and also crumbles nicely into salads. We would recommend the Premium Wine Club membership with this cheese. This is a great way for novice wine lovers to learn about premium wines without spending a ton of money.
These are just a few tips to get you started but remember, as long as you pair good cheese, with good wine and good friends you really can't go wrong. Consider hosting a Gastropub Party!
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