Pair your cheese and wine for merry X-mas

Celebratory Food

Panning a lavish Christmas meal for your extended family or calling over friends for a New Year bash? Turkeys, cakes, puddings etc. can be thoughtfully paired with different cheeses and wines, adding ‘the spark’ to your celebrations.

In the West, ‘wine and cheese parties’ are common. However, due to a lack of wine and cheese culture in our country, few know that the two form a great pairing. Wines consist of a natural organic compound called Tannin. Winemakers squeeze grape seeds and stems to release tannin into the fermenting wine. When there’s a lot of tannin, the wine leaves a bitter aftertaste at the back of the mouth. Less tannin, and the bitter taste is reduced. 

Scientists have found that high fat, high protein foods like cheese balance the taste of tannin. That makes cheese the perfect food to go with wine. Of course, the discussion doesn’t stop there, as there is always question of which cheese goes best with which wine.

Bishan Singh, Chef De Cuisine at Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon, says, “It all depends on how hard or soft a cheese is. Soft cheeses like Blue Castello, Boursin, Brie, Bucheron, buffalo mozzarella, Camembert, feta, Gorgonzola etc. generally go with white wines, which include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Risling, Champagne, White Zinfandel, Vidal, Beaujolais and others.”

“On the other hand, hard cheeses like Asiago, Derby, Edam, Emmentaler, Gruyere, Jarlsberg and Manchego taste better with red wines. These would be Bardolino, Tawny Port, Madeira, Sherry, Sancerre, Rioja, Cabernet, Barolo, Barbaresco etc.”
Dheeraj Mangothra, Executive chef, Drool Kitchen, adds to that: “Some new wine mixes have also emerged which can be easily made and enjoyed at home. For example, Gluh wine – made of cooking red wine with oranges, cloves, cinnamon and sugar – is a current hit in Europe during Christmas. It can be had with Adam’s ball cheese and Rollino cheese.”

“Also,” he says, “You can enjoy pairing lots of fruits and dry fruits with wines. For example, you can go for olives, apples, grapes (red or green), watermelon, tomatoes, breads, grissinis, walnuts, prunes etc..”

Lastly, to add some more fun to your gathering, you can give a geographical theme to your ‘wine and cheese party.’ Go for all Italian cheeses and wines, or Spanish, French or Italian. Christmas is incomplete without wines and cheese. Don’t forget to pair them right!

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