A wine and cheese party is probably one of the easiest ways to entertain. You buy a few wines, select a few cheeses, pick up a charcuterie board and BAM! You've got a party.
But wait – how do you know which wine and cheese to buy? What wine pairs well with gorgonzola, and what cheese won't bombard your beaujolais? What kinds of fruits and nuts and chutneys will make your wine and cheese party unforgettable – for the right reasons?
Here in Wisconsin, we've got a lot of experience with wine and cheese parties, because we make a lot of cheese. So, we've tried a lot of wine and cheese pairing combinations, we've got a pretty good idea of what kinds of wines make our cheeses happy.
So, here's a quick introduction to cheese and wine pairing, along with some ideas for your charcuterie board. You don't have to thank us – just invite a few of our cheeses to the party. They'll always RSVP with an enthusiastic "yes!"
Here's our best advice for pulling off a memorable wine and cheese party.
1. Start with 5-6 cheeses. Choose a variety of textures and different types of cheese, including a hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, soft, and blue cheese. Label so everyone knows what they're eating and use a different cheese knife to cut each cheese.
2. Choose a good wine pairing for each cheese. Our favorite pairings include:
3. Add variety with fruits, nuts, and charcuterie. Fresh and dried fruits pair beautifully with a variety of cheeses. Raw honey adds sweetness to aged cheeses. Chutneys, jams, and fruit preserves provide texture and flavor contrast. Marcona almonds, pistachios, and candy pecans pair well with bigger cheeses. Olives have a salty brine that contrasts the creaminess of soft cheeses. Make sure to include crackers and crusty bread.
The secret to a great wine and cheese party is the combination of flavors that arise from the wine, cheese, fruit, nuts, and charcuterie on the table. Choose wine and cheese that create interesting and pleasing combinations, and add nuts, dried fruits, honey, olives, and bread or crackers for more texture and flavor.
A great wine and cheese party will usually have 4 to 6 cheeses that represent different textures and intensity of flavor. You can't go wrong with a selection that includes an aged cheddar, a blue cheese, a creamy cheese, a gouda, a parmesan and any alpine-style cheese.
You'll want to ideally choose wines that pair well with your cheeses, but if you include a cabernet, pinot noir, chardonnay, a Riesling, and a prosecco, you're off to a good start.
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You know your wine and cheese party will be awesome when the cheese is from Wisconsin. That's because, to be uncharacteristically blunt, Wisconsin makes the best cheese in the world.
You say, "No, seriously?" We say, "Um, yeah. We make more cheese, like 600 styles and flavors, then anywhere else in the world. We're the only place in America where you are required to have a license to make cheese. To drive the point home, our cheesemakers have won more awards than any other state or country on the planet. So, yeah, we'd say the best cheese in the world comes from the Dairyland of Wisconsin." (We're not usually this talkative, but once you get us started on cheese…)
So, next time you're feeling a bit of anxiety as you try to decide which cheese to take home for your wine and cheese party, relax – just pick the cheese with the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge on the label and all will be well.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.