Simple cheese pairing tips that anyone can master

Cheeselandia® is the place for loud and proud cheese lovers, photo provided by Wisconsin Cheese
Cheeselandia® is the place for loud and proud cheese lovers, photo provided by Wisconsin Cheese /

Whether it is an afternoon snack, quiet night with someone special, or a grazing alternative to dinner, cheese can be the centerpiece of the plate. While many people have their favorite cheese, others look to expand their horizons and push their palates. The food adventurous might be willing to color outside the lines, but a few guidelines can make that culinary journey more pleasurable. These simple cheese pairing tips will always make the experience a tasty one.

From National Cheese Day to meat and cheese Sunday, the bounty of cheddar, Swiss, gouda, or even parmesan is overflowing. Even if some people can debate the beauty of the pungent blue cheese or prefer to slather the warm brie over a cracker, the reality is that many cheese lovers are willing to enjoy both an old favorite and something new on the plate.

Beyond the idea of numbering the way to the perfect cheese plate, simple cheese pairing tips can make the novice feel more like a cheese expert. Recently, Wisconsin Cheese shared some ideas that they cheese experts follow. Even if only one or two tips make their way onto the plate, the ideas can be helpful with various food pairings.

First, it is best to match strengths. Just like a bold spice can stand up to a hearty protein, a similar principle applies to cheeses. A delicate cheese with a lighter wine can be quite enjoyable. The two flavors do not compete against each other.

In contrast, a more pungent cheese can stand up to a bolder beverage. From that tannin forward cabernet sauvignon to a hearty IPA, those sips with a smoked cheese or aged cheese can be enjoyable.

Second, Wisconsin Cheese recommends finding some flavor bridges. That link between foods can help play off the various flavors. For example, pairing cheese and honey works because all the flavors just pop. It is one of the reasons why honey is popular on a cheese plate or even drizzled on top of a cheese.

Although these concepts are a guide, personal preference is always the best guide. Even if the flavor pairing is not convention but it has personal appeal, enjoy that food. Rules might be a guide, but it is permissible to break them. Unlike spilt milk, there should be no crying over cheese pairings.

In the end, simple cheese pairings can bring some confidence to the plate. It does not have to be perfection because there are always plenty more cheese options waiting to be explored.