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How to match wine and cheese

Cheese can be served either at the beginning or after a meal, as a dessert or simply as an aperitif – but a combination with the right wine in order to enhance its quality and organoleptic characteristics is something that cannot be missed. Surely pairing wine and cheese is no easy task, because of the infinite varieties of cheese, each one with its own peculiarities. This should not discourage us; on the contrary, it may stimulate our imagination and passion for good food. Always remember that cheese is food that goes well with wine – and we can try several combinations that could strike at first glance as extravagant or “out of the box”. Some rules, however, will help us not to look bad to our guests. First remember that cheese and wine have to be able to provide perceptible sensations: the flavour of cheese and the wine should never prevail over each other, but amalgamate and merge into a whirlwind of sensations instead. Thus a full-bodied red wine like Barolo should certainly not accompany the mozzarella, and you would be missing a lot of a white Arneis on your palate if you match it to the spicy flavour of provolone cheese. It should also be noted that after meals combined with a robust red wine of good structure, it is recommended to go with a cheese that fits the same wine. In general we can say that:

  • Fresh or soft cheese (mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, brie) matches soft and lightly scented white wines (Arneis and Chardonnay)
  • Medium-soft cheese (prato, cheddar) is suitable for light and also slightly fruity red wines (Merlot), but it may also go well with more robust, full-bodied ones without being too demanding (Barbera d’Alba)
  • Hard cheese such as the parmigiano or the provolone, they perform best after a meal when accompanying great wines like Barolo or even a Barolo Riserva.
  • For blue cheese such as the gorgonzola or the roquefort, or cream cheese such as the requeijão, robust soft red wines like the Barbera d’Alba are recommended, but a combination with aromatic white wines such as Sauvignon or Gewürztraminer may work great as well.
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