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How to Pair: Matchmaker Make Me a Match

What this is: A guide to cheese matchmaking.

Who it’s for: Cheese fanatics who love a good cheese romance.

We believe pairing foods and drinks is the true key to happiness. When we pair two things together, whether it’s cheese, wine, chocolate, coffee, etc. we are ideally starting with two things we love and when we pair them together we love them even more.  Well, that’s the ideal. Sometimes we like one thing but the other...not so much, but when paired together you have a new respect for both. When we are pairing, we like to consider the following pathways for foodie nirvana.


This is pretty easy to understand. Italian wine and Italian cheese. Californian wine and California cheeses. Manchego, membrillo paste and Cava for a Spanish trifecta. If you’re looking for an idea for your next gathering, try an entire cheese plate (and wine selection) around this idea!


Sweet and Spicy. Salty and Sweet. Think about how you like to cool down your Indian curry with some yogurt Raita, you can do the same thing here with your food pairings and your wine pairings. Try a sweet riesling with some spicy chips and some funky Taleggio. Or pair salty blue cheese with caramel sauce or chocolate cookies. Take a spin on our Flavor Wheel to find a new combo that might be just crazy enough to work. 


When cheeses have a certain set of tasting notes that you can match up with similar tasting foods or wines, you can have a real powerhouse pairing. One of our favorites is goat’s milk cheese, any kind, and anything lemony. This could be a bright lemon curd, lemon crackers or candied lemon peel. It will keep you coming back for more. Other tasting notes you can pair up are brothy aged cheddars and jerky, nutty alpines and, well, nuts, and aged goudas with caramels.


Some things just go together, like peanut butter and jelly. There are things as a society that we enjoy that are easy to echo in cheese pairings, too. Cheddar and apple pie? Try cheddar and cider. Goat’s milk and lemon, try chèvre and Sauvignon Blanc. Chocolate and Peanut butter, try an aged gouda and dark chocolate bar. 


No matter which road you take in pairing, your goal is for both items you are partnering to have a beautiful relationship. If one is too bossy or forward, the other will cower and not be experienced. Try to match boldness or subtleness as you make your choices.


Pairing is easy once you have a few guide rails, and then you’ll get addicted to the thrill of discovering a new killer combo!


Use what you have. Go to your fridge and find three pairings and then the next time you are at the store, find a cheese that GROWS TOGETHER, one that OPPOSITES ATTRACT and one that celebrates LIKE BEGETS LIKE.


Click the icons to download a pdf of this lesson and our two handy guides: How Cheese is Made and Cheese and Pairing Types.

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How It's Made PDF Icon
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