Airing on NBC since September, the Kelly Clarkson Show is one of the hottest new national television talk shows, drawing an average of 1.9 million live viewers since its premiere (it’s a good thing cheese doesn’t get stage fright). We loved getting the chance to show off some of Wisconsin’s finest cheese and it certainly seems like Kelly Clarkson loves cheese as much as we do. Honorary Wisconsinite anyone?
The "Ambush Christmas" show that aired on October 25th celebrated Kelly’s love for all things Christmas, and started the two-month countdown to the happiest day of the year. Kelly invited singer and former Glee star Lea Michele, who sang a duet with Kelly to showcase her new holiday album, "Christmas in the City.” The show also featured William Jackson Harper, known to many as "Chidi” from NBC’s “The Good Place.” The two stars joined Kelly and cheese expert, Liz Thorpe for an on-set cheese tasting. Here they learned some quick and easy tips on pairing wine and cheese for the holidays. After all, what holiday celebration is complete without Wisconsin cheese?
Liz Thorpe featured a variety of Wisconsin’s best cheeses ranging from Upland’s soft and creamy Rush Creek Reserve to Sartori’s award-winning parmesan, SarVecchio.
We’d recommend watching the full episode to hear everything Liz Thorpe had to say, after all, she’s written three best-selling books about cheese.
For the sake of brevity, we’ll condense some of the tips here:
- For bubbly drinks like Champagne, Liz recommends pairing a soft cheese, like Upland’s Rush Creek Reserve. You’ll enjoy the rich creaminess of the Rush Creek Reserve stet each sip of the Champagne cleanses your palette. This way, you can enjoy each bite like it was your first.
- For a light white wine like chardonnay, pair a semi-soft cheese, like Marieke’s Belegen Gouda. This gouda perfectly matches the buttery mouthfeel of the chardonnay, while bringing some exciting tang and nuttiness to the table.
- For a medium to full-bodied red wine like merlot, pair a hard cheese with a big bite, like Sartori’s SarVecchio. Red wines demand a stronger dance partner to balance out their tannins and an award-winning parmesan like Sartori’s SarVecchio fits the bill perfectly.
The cheese table on set also featured Roth Grand Cru and Deer Creek’s the Fawn, and a complete holiday cheese party display. Sadly, the stars didn’t get a chance to try those on-air. Luckily for you, we’ll include some pairing tips for those Wisconsin classics as well:
- Roth Grand Cru is Wisconsin’s pride and joy when it comes to alpine-style cheese. We’d recommend pairing Roth Grand Cru with a wine that can match this alpine-style cheese’s robust flavor. Try a fruit-forward red like cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel.
- Deer Creek’s the Fawn is one of our favorite cheddars in Wisconsin and you’ll understand why after trying it. Pair this cheese with a white wine—we’d recommend a riesling. With just a touch of sweetness and extra dryness, this wine will help bring out the best the Fawn has to offer.
Kelly, Lea, and William ooo-ed and ahh-ed about the delicious cheeses, Kelly noted it must be hard for the audience members to hear how wonderful they were and not get to taste any. After all, cheese is meant to be shared! Much to the audience’s delight, Kelly announced that everyone was going home with a selection of award-winning artisan cheeses from Wisconsin – the State of Cheese! The audience also went home with branded cheese boards, cooler bags, wine openers, and wine tumblers. Christmas definitely came early this year.
For this appearance we told audience members to purchase Wisconsin cheese at Whole Foods and Amazon. But, did you know that you can find Wisconsin Cheese in 98% of grocery stores nationwide? Just look for the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge to know you’re getting the world’s best cheese!
Inspired to throw your own cheese party this holiday season? Dive into the world of cheese and wine pairing with our cheeselover’s guide to pairing wine and cheese that covers everything a budding cheese enthusiast needs to know. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our website packed with over 300 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin cheese. Share your creation with us on Instagram or Facebook and become part of the largest cheese community in the world.
To watch the full episode, visit KellyClarksonShow.com