Sour: the one that makes you pucker up

Sour: the one that makes you pucker up

What it is: This Flavor Profile is the one most likely to start a fight on Thanksgiving between the fans and the fan-nots. 

Who it’s for: The perfect pairing for the sourpuss in your life.

The Sour Flavor Profile 

People who love this category are usually cult-like fans. They are always excited to see handmade pickles on the restaurant menu and they go gaga over pickled red onions on sandwiches. This category offers a lot of fun, from the pure joy of pickling mixed to geeking out over olive varietals, and everything in between. 

  

This Category includes

  • Pickles
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Pickled fruit
  • Pickled mustard seeds
  • Relish
  • Piccalilli
  • Capers
  • Olives

Cheeses it pairs with

Wines it pairs with

  • Sparkling
  • Sweet White
  • Dry White
  • Rosé
  • Light Red
  • Medium Red 

Favorite Mixed Flavor Profile pairings

  • Sour + Nutty → dill pickle nuts
  • Sour + Spicy → pickled jalapeños 
  • Sour + Spicy + Sweet  → sweet and spicy bread and butter pickles 

Favorite combos

  • Taleggio-stuffed olives
  • Cheddar and piccalilli toasts
  • Pickled mustard seeds and pâté with any smooth&melty cheese

Unexpected 

  • Spicy pickled veggies and Comté on crostini slices
  • Chopped olives and cream cheese dip with salami chips
  • Dill Pickle pretzels dipped in Époisses

On a cheese board

Have fun with these sour pairings—but use caution! Many a cracker has been ruined on a cheese board by olive juice that soaked into it. Consider quarantining your sour selections in bowls, or highlighting them on mini skewers with cheese as a board highlight. Also, think about your placement on the board. Put these on a board next to what you want them to be savored with—if you don’t want someone to eat chili olives with blueberry covered chèvre, don’t put them next to each other! 

Summary 

Adding a sour kick to your cheese board is as easy as adding olives or pickles, but you can really have fun with interesting choices, placements or combo pairings.  

Homework

Stuff some olives for your next cheese board. There are all sorts of things you can stuff them with, and you need very little to make the magic happen.

  1. Find your favorite olives (the bigger the olive, the easier your work will be). We like Castelvetrano for a gourmet project like this.
  2. Collect a number of items from your pantry or the store, cut into small pieces, and stuff the olives.

Here are a few items you can stuff them with: cheese dip, hummus, nuts, red peppers, blue cheese, goat cheese and herbs, anchovies, feta, garlic, and citrus fruit. Take notes on your favorite combinations.

Downloads

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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