Earlier, we wrote about a couple of cheeses from the Périgord, and we got some really interesting suggestions from different readers, we just have to share with you.
About the packaging for instance. If you get your fresh cheese at the market, it is wrapped in waxed paper. If you get your cheese at a supermarket, the cheese is often wrapped in clingfilm. Which is best?
Wrapped in clingfilm, or stored in plastic containers, means that it is impossible for the cheese to breathe, and the moisture is completely trapped which speeds up the growth of mould, which spoils the appearance and flavour. If the mould is white, grey or brown, these should be sliced off. So, the best thing to do is to loosely wrap your cheese in waxed paper, as your cheesemonger does, or in baking paper.
However, cheese is a living product and develops mould which slightly penetrates into the cheese and may change the taste of the cheese a bit, but it’s definitely not dangerous. Blue mould in many cheeses even adds complexity and depth.
Wine or beer?
This came as a bit of a surprise to us. Apparently, red wine and cheese is not a match made in heaven, but of course an exception can prove the rule.
Red wine contains tannin and has a tartness, which doesn’t go with the fats and bacteria of most cheeses, but if you want, a lighter red wine is suggested. Recommended, or best wine and cheese pairings, are oaky white wines, bubbles or cider. Whites have less aggressive tannins and tartness and are a bit lower in alcohol. Champagne, Blanquette de Limoux etcetera, go very well with young, fresh cheeses. Ciders are great with cheese but can be tricky because every cheese is different. Blue cheeses go very well with sweeter ciders. Milder pasteurised cheeses don’t need strong, characterful ciders and dry ciders go with goat cheeses.
Other suggestions are:
Sauternes with Roquefort, Port or Cabernet Sauvignon with blue cheeses, Sauvignon blanc or Chenin blanc with goat’s cheeses. A late-bottled Riesling goes with all sorts of cheeses. Easy to remember is B&B, Bubbles&Brie and C&C, Chardonnay&Camembert.
There are certain rules, but rules are made to be broken and the previously unthinkable is a hit today: the cheese and beer combi!
Beer is an allrounder that both complements and contrasts with cheese. Fruity beers go with the soft goat’s cheeses and stouts with blues. In a way, beer is like wine, and has many varieties and flavours.
Brie and Pont L’Évêque go very well with IPA, Camembert with Wheat beer, Comté with a light Lager or something Blonde, Époisses de Bourgogne with a Double IPA or Bière de Garde, the lovely blue cheese, Fourme d’Ambert goes perfectly well with Pale Ale.
The flavour of a beer should not overpower the cheese you choose but try to find a contrasting or complementing beer. One thing is for sure, today, not even in France, nobody should feel ashamed because they choose a beer with their cheese or….
….even a nice malt-whisky, because cheese and whisky also share a natural affinity with each other.
The strong taste of whisky pairs absolutely great with aged cheeses. The smokiness of a Laphroaig or Bruichladdich go very well with a smoked cheese like Fumaison or Brezain. A Talisker with Roquefort, Brie and Glenmorangie and Crottin de Chavignol with a The Macallan.
If you don’t drink alcohol, apple juice or grape juice is recommended.
We hope this will help you to find your best wine and cheese pairings. We also had some truths about cheese:
Cheese should preferably be stored in a cellar or larder, because in a fridge, cheese dries out. The salad drawer is your best option if you don’t have a cellar or larder, but don’t eat it straight from the fridge but at a temperature of 14-18 °C.
Accompaniments with cheese:
Watercrackers and oatcakes are very traditional and nothing wrong with that at all. Sourdough is our choice. Gelée de coings, which is quince jelly, pickled walnuts, grapes and apple, are also great accompaniments or, nearly forgot to mention, a pâte de cerises, a cherry paste.
Pimm + Marcel
Most of our blogs are written to give you more information about the Dordogne, Périgord, where we have Gîte Loups d'Or, our luxury, self-catering holiday home. We write about subjects we think are interesting for you to know and to give you inspiration to explore this beautiful part of France yourself. If you have any questions or if you want more information, please feel free to contact us.