What cheese do I use?

Joined Jul 22, 2009
I am going to have a great gala this upcoming month and it is going to be amazing! One of the events that we are going to have is a wine tasting party. I honestly don't know what kind of gourmet cheese we are going to need. But, my neighbor had an amazing party and he had some of the best Gourmet Cheese ever. It helped with the wine tasting 100 fold. I think that little things like this make the difference in the party. Please if you have any ideas on what type of cheese or a good presentation tell me!

Joined Sep 28, 2008
My first question would be - where do you live? I believe that the best ticket is locally produced fare. I usually calculate about 90g (3 oz) of cheese per person, and try to have a decent selection of 6 or so cheeses. I also belive it is a cardinal sin to cut up the cheese for presentation. You can cut it up into managable chunks for presentation, and have cheese knives for service. As for garnish, I think you will want to stick to grapes, some nuts, and givent the season, apples might be nice. Sundried berries are spot on. Finally, make sure you have lots of cubed bread on hand! I hope that helps!
Joined Feb 24, 2009
Pairing wine and cheese can be tricky if the main focus of the event is to taste different wines. The purpose of cheese at a wine tasting is to clear the palate so that one wine won't affect the taste and experience of each successive wine. Therefore, it's better to steer away from particularly strong tasting cheeses, as they can affect how each wine is experienced as well.

Like WellDoneChef suggested, try to find something made locally. There are many small farms that make goat cheese and I've never encountered much difficulty finding a local fresh chevre of good quality. Here in upstate NY there are some fabulous raw milk cheese makers who offer cave aged cheeses in the cheddar family. If you can get some from Bobolink, you'll be very happy.

However, when offering a cheese board, it's nice to offer a variety of cheese styles such as a hard aged cheese, a monastery style, some type of triple cream, a mild bleu (avoid really strong ones) and some kind of semi soft.

My favorites of widely available cheeses are
Hard aged- Varay, Basque Etorki
Monastery-Tomme de Savoie or Pont LeVeque
Bleu-Cambazola or Maytag
Semi Soft-Tomme de Pyrenee, aged Morbier
Triple Creme-St. Andre

In addition, you might want to look for Brin D'Amour which is a creamy fresh cheese with a delicious herbed crust-very nice with full bodied reds.

These are just a few of the more widely available varieties and new ones come available all the time.
When looking for locally made cheeses, always check out your nearby farmers markets. Small cheese makers make some terrific stuff. Near us, there's a convent of nuns that make a couple varieties called Bogart and Ouray that really sing and a man that makes a Sheeps milk Camembert that has spoiled me for any other kind of brie or cam.

Oh, one last thing, I used to be able to find a wonderful 60% butterfat Canadian Brie that was wonderful. Can't remember the name, but it had a kind of burgundy colored label. If you see it anywhere, pick up a wedge, you won't be sorry.
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Stay away from blue entirely! It will kill your wine. In fact, if wine is the star of the show and you don't mind wines taking over your cheeses somewhat, stay with mellower cheeses. Going local is a nice idea but it can limit you. The problem with pairing wine and cheese is that more often than not, you get contrast as opposed to complementarity. You are more likely to get the latter with beers and ciders. Contrast very easily turns into "fighting", and with red wines especially, someone always loses the fight. If you have big reds, have alpine cheeses or big cheddars that can withstand the tannins. With very few exceptions, blues need sweet wines, late harvests etc. Triple cremes are a hard match as well as the rinds are almost always bitter. Washed rind cheeses are phenomenal with beers but trickier with wines so make sure you try your matches first.

If your wine soiree is a guided one, then you can offer a good selection of cheeses and tutor your guests with regards to the right matches. Otherwise, I hate to tell you, but I can't think of any cheese that goes with all wines, or vice versa.

Good luck!
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Actually the cheese does not clear the palette, the wine does. Like anything worthwhile learning about you need to study and practice(taste).

A few very basic concepts to keep in mind.

The body and age of the wine should be used to determine the cheese.

Light whites like a Chenin Blanc go nicely with a young goats or sheep's milk cheese, Whites higher in acid to better with cheeses higher in acid, like an aged Chevre.Lower acid wines like lower acid cheeses, say a Gouda with a Cali chardonnay (un-oaked), Strong wines like a big syrah, Cabernet or red Rhones work perfectly with an aged cheddar. Like Anneke said, stay away from blue veins unless your show casing some sweet wines, these wines love the saltiness and fattiness of the blue-cheeses.

And as always, wine and cheese from the same region.

Have fun and good luck.
Joined Sep 4, 2009
There are a lot of food you can pair up with wine. Here are some suggestions.

*Chevres (Goats milk)
*Cream Cheese
*Monterey Jack

Just search on the internet I guess for these types of cheese. Hope you'll have a great whine tasting party! :)
Joined Aug 25, 2009
I agree with Anneke and Cape Chef on this one.
Here are some serving tips that may help you.....

Serve cheese at room temperature; this brings out their fullest flavors.
Arrange the food items 30-60 minutes before the guests arrive. Cheese should be brought out three hours before serving.
  • Cover the platters with plastic wrap to keep them fresh, but remove just prior to serving
Leave space between cheeses to keep flavors from blending
  • On the same idea, each cheese should have its own knife or spreader.
Chill white or sparkling wine for at least 1 hour prior to serving. Decant red wines prior to guests' arrival.
Wine charms can help guests distinguish their glasses. Alternatively, one may use marked wine glasses for the same purpose.

I hope you have a wonderful party....

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