How to: Pair cheddars and wine

I love a good cheddar cheese. Really I love any cheese, but a fantastic, aged cheddar is just perfection in my opinion. I’m not talking about the orange cheese you find in the grocery store either. Many people automatically associate cheddar with an orange cheese, but, as my mom likes to say, have you ever seen a cow with orange milk? This colour comes from dyes being added to the cheese for a change in colour (kinda gross right?). Cheddar cheese also has different flavours, which are dependent on the make of the cheese as well as the aging process.

According to the Australian Dairy Corporation, there are 13 types of cheddar cheese. I know, I was surprise too, I knew there were a few but 13 is a lot! Below are the various different types of cheddar cheese, now you‘ll sound just as smart as your cheese monger when you go to buy it!

Processed Cheddar – has a smooth texture with a uniform mild flavor, and is good for sandwiches, on vegetables, in baked goods and salads.

Cheedam – combines the characteristics of Cheddar and Edam cheeses with a fresh and mild flavor. It is used in salads, sauces and cheeseboards.

Steppen – is a firm, low-fat cheese similar to Cotto.

Double Gloucester – has a distinctive high color and a fine, tangy flavor. It is excellent on toast or on cheese boards.

Matured Cheddar – is 6 – 12 months old, and sometimes called ‘tasty’. It has a tangy flavor and is ideal for souffles and sauces.

Flavored Cheddar – is usually matured cheddar cheese with a flavor added to it, e.g. port wine, cumin, caraway seed, bacon, garlic, etc.

Cheshire – has a mild, slightly acidic flavor or a more pronounced flavor depending on age. It is an ideal all-purpose cheese.

Cotto – is a fresh, mild-flavored cheese made from skim milk. Ideal for the diet conscious, it is good for grating and slicing.

Flavored Processed Cheddar – has an added ingredient such as pecan nut, spring onion, curry or garlic.

Red Leicester – is noted for its faint lemony bite. Its red is from a natural vegetable dye (annoto); it is an excellent melting cheese.

Vintage Cheddar – has been aged up to 18 months. Also known as ‘extra tasty’, it has a full-bodied to biting flavor.

Semi Matured Cheddar – has been aged for 3-6 months and has a rich full-bodied, but not sharp, flavor. It is good for the cheeseboard and in soups and quiches.

Mild Cheddar – has been aged for three months and has a delicate children’s sandwich taste.

My favourite types of cheddar are Vintage Cheddar, Aged Cheddars and Double Gloucester. I love the sharp, flavorful tastes and they way they accompany wine so perfectly. I’ll let you know what I think are the best wines to pair with my favourite cheddars.

Far a general wine, one to pair with any type of cheddar, you can’t go wrong with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Champagne or Sauvignon Blanc. If you want to get more specific, so as to match you wine and cheese perfectly, decide on either the wine or cheese you want to serve first then match the other accordingly.

For sharp cheddars, such as your Mature and Vintage Cheddars I would suggest a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall, most red wines pair nicely with a sharp cheddar.

For milder cheddars, an unwooded Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir pair nicely.

For Double Gloucester cheese, I would suggest pairing it with a Sauvignon Blanc or a spicy red like a Syrah.

Does anybody have any other cheddar and wine pairings they think I should try? These are just a few of the many possible pairings you could try, and if you prefer a different wine go ahead and give it a try. At the end of the day you can’t go wrong with wine and cheese!

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