We love simple food and wine pairings and so do our Hosts and Guests. Pairing wine with cheese and chocolate is the perfect way to showcase wine! The variety of flavors and characteristics in different chocolates and cheeses bring out the complexities in wine—even pairings you might not have thought of before! Wine Guide and Team Leader Jessica Landisio has a few tips for hosting the perfect wine and cheese or wine and chocolate wine tasting at home!
CHEESE AND WINE PAIRING
Admit it: we all love cheese! With the wide variety of cheeses available, there’s something for everyone to explore, especially when it comes to wine tasting. When pairing cheese with wine, Jessica suggest that you “follow the saying ‘what grows together goes together.'” This is simple—wherever the wine was grown, choose a cheese from the same region. For example, she says, “if you’re showing an Italian wine, choose an Italian cheese. This could be as simple as mozzarella and Parmesan, or go crazy with Asiago!”
When figuring out what type of cheese should go with each wine, think about the profile of the wine. Is this a big, bold wine or a light, delicate wine? You’ll want to match the profile of the cheese to the profile of the wine. Jessica says, “When you have a big, bold wine, you want to pair it with a big, bold cheese. If you were to pair the same bold cheese with a light, delicate wine, the cheese would taste overwhelming.” The goal is balance!
Jessica recommends blue cheese, sharp cheddar, Parmesan, Manchego, and Gouda—these options will give you a good variety at your tasting. Ready to impress your guests with a “wow” cheese pairing? Jessica recommends “horseradish cheese with an off-dry white.”
Cheese and wine pairings are simple, but they can be presented in a beautiful way. Remember those amazing cheeseboard photos you saw on Pinterest? This is your opportunity to create an Instagram-worthy cheeseboard! Jessica recommends creating “little signs for each type of cheese or placing the cheese on a cutting board.” Remember to have fun and show your creativity.
CHOCOLATE AND WINE PAIRING
Another essential wine pairing is chocolate. Similar to cheese, the broad variety of chocolate lends itself to a perfect wine tasting pairing menu. With options like caramel chocolate, white chocolate, orange chocolate, dark chocolate covered dried fruits and mint chocolate—the variety is sure to “wow” your guests.
Jessica’s wow pairing has to be mint chocolate with a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. We have a feeling it will be your new favorite.
Consider the characteristics of the chocolate before pairing with your wine. For bold, fudge-like chocolates, pair with your favorite bold red wine. For lighter, sweeter chocolates, grab your favorite light-bodied wine and watch the magic happen. When all else fails, grab your favorite sweet wine because sweet wines and dessert wines pair with nearly anything sweet.
Jessica recommends a chocolate and wine tasting for those who “want to have a few pairings for each wine, but are also juggling a crazy schedule.” Grab-and-go pairings like chocolate are simple to find, hassle-free and allow you to spend more time tasting and mingling with your friends.
Try these go-to pairings at home, or Host with us to experience the education and fun that only a Traveling Vineyard wine tasting can offer. Cheers!