When we lovingly refer to our cheese as “Wisconsin’s most famous residents,” we mean it! Wisconsin Cheese has won more awards than any other state or country and is beloved around the world. While it surely stands on its own, pairing Wisconsin Cheese with the right accompaniments and beverages can elevate the flavors and take your tasting experience to the next level. Start with the very best Wisconsin cheese and you are already on the path to success. For everything else, this guide will help you hook your cheese up.
- Order the tastings from lightest mouth feel and lowest alcohol content. By working your way toward the heaviest and most complex tastes, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience without running the risk of lighter tastes being overpowered by stronger, bolder flavors.
- Room temperature is ideal when tasting cheeses. In order to experience the full range of notes and flavors, be sure to remove your cheese from the fridge with enough time to come to room temperature before you taste.
- Balance is key: the cheese should not overwhelm the beverage, and the beverage should not overwhelm the cheese.
- There is no right or wrong way to enjoy a pairing, but as a general rule, taste the cheese, then taste the drink, then try together as a pairing.
Pairing Cheese & Wine
Wine makes a great match for cheese – the flavors and acidity in the wine serve as a palate cleanser between bites of cheese helping cut the fat that coats the mouth. When choosing cheese to pair with wine, keep these tips in mind:
- Pair Like with Like: The pairing rule of “like with like” rings true when pairing wine and cheese
- Fresh is Best: Avoid pungent cheeses that could overwhelm the delicate flavors in the wine
- Skip the Sweet: Reach for dry wines
- Sparking white with a bold blue cheese
- Bubbles are a fun, forgiving pairing partner. The crisp acidity of a sparkling wine pairs nicely with a bold cheese.
- White wine with a buttermilk-rich gouda
- Rosé with a soulful, legendary parmesan
- Rosé is known for its fruity notes – pair cheeses that complement the wine with underlying fruity flavors.
- Red wine with Colby
Pairing Cheese with Beer and Cider
Here in Wisconsin, we take both our cheese and our beer seriously. Think of beer and cheese as perfect soul mates. The yeast in beer matches the yeast in cheese. Bubble cut creaminess. Malt mellows things out.
- Pilsner with a rich, creamy cheese like Havarti
- IPA with an aged, medium-body cheddar
- Stout with a salty cheese like a gorgonzola
Pairing Cheese with Spirits
Wisconsin’s inventive, innovative spirit has led to the development of specular specialty and craft cheeses. It should come as no surprise that they tend to pair well with craft cocktails. However these pairings can be a bit more challenging since an intense liquor can overwhelm your sense of taste and smell.