Whether it’s a pre-dinner glass of bubbles alongside a cheeseboard or an innovative cheese-based dessert served with a glass of port, there are endless opportunities for enhancing a dining experience with wine and cheese.
A well-planned cheeseboard works as both an appetiser and dessert option and provides an opportunity for restaurants, cafes and catering services to demonstrate their flair for presentation and flavour-matching.
But taste combinations can also be kept simple. Diners who choose to enjoy a glass of Champagne before dinner, for example, may wish to complement their drink with a soft, white cheese like Mainland Special Reserve Creamy Camembert – the bubbles in the wine work as a nice foil to the creamy texture of the cheese.
Although not typically included in a cheeseboard, ricotta also lends itself to delicious appetisers. Try Perfect Italiano’s Ricotta on bruschetta topped with whatever fresh produce is in season – it’s even more special when served with a glass of Pinot Gris.
When cheese is the focus of a main dish, choosing its wine counterpart often depends on the strength of that cheese’s flavour.
A substantial panzanella, topped with slices of perfectly-grilled Mainland Special Reserve Haloumi, for example, is best paired with a glass of Chardonnay.
Meanwhile, more aromatic wines suit dishes that feature a nutty, creamy cheese like Kapiti’s Gruyere-style offering . Or you may choose to pair a full-bodied Cabernet alongside a pasta that has a strong blue cheese sauce.
But perhaps the most popular time to enjoy a perfectly matched glass of wine and wedge of cheese is after dinner.
Sweeter wines tend to match better with stronger-flavoured cheeses, such as Kapiti’s Kikorangi Blue. Serve it alongside a chilled, late harvest Riesling and accompaniments such as dates, nuts and dark chocolate.
Whatever the occasion, offering moreish combinations such as these will make a customer’s decision to linger over dessert an easy one.