Wine and cheese, along with beer and cheese, are what food and drink enthusiasts would agree to be matches made in culinary heaven. And, when you find the right compatibility with the perfect pairing, it’s a delightful treat for the taste buds.
The endless possibilities of wine and cheese and wine and beer couplings can be overwhelming to narrow down, so here’s a quick primer of pairings that go together like magic:
Fresh and bloomy soft cheeses — like brie, ricotta, mozzarella, burrata, and feta — are best paired with crisp wines (like Riesling), dry rosés, sparkling wines, and light-bodied reds, along with light and bright beers (such as Pilsner), earthy beers (like saison), and sours for fun pairings.
Semi-hard, medium-aged cheeses — including gouda, Swiss cheeses (like gruyère), havarti, and young cheddar — can be matched with medium-bodied whites, fruity reds (like Merlot), sparkling wine, and aperitif wines, and beers with a touch of sharpness and warm depth, like a pale ale or hoppy IPA.
Bold blue cheeses, which include gorgonzola and cambozola, are often salty and savoury, making these cheese a great pairing for wines with oomph and sweetness — like Gewurztraminer — and for hearty robust beers — like Stout — for the perfect balance.
Sharp hard-aged cheeses pair well with full-bodied whites, tannic reds, sweet wines, and oxidative wines — like sherry and Syrah — and light, dry brews —like Belgian beers. IPAs also make for another fun pairing.
This summer, BC Dairy is partnering with local breweries, wineries and cideries across the province to offer complimentary B.C. cheese with qualifying purchases throughout the month of August.
You can sample these perfect wine and cheese and wine and beer pairings at a wide variety of participating locations along the BC Cheese Trail.
Metro Vancouverites can venture over to these hot spots along the BC Cheese Trail within the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the Okanagan Valley.
Starting on August 28th, Delta’s Barnside Brewing will feature a fresh and flavourful Clothbound White Cheddar from Farm House, a family farm located in Agassiz. This cheese meets its match in Barnside’s Honeycomb Pale Ale.
Over on the island, Saanichton’s Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is partnering with the Cowichan Valley’s Haltwhistle Cheese to offer samples of Thombury, a traditional French Alpine cow's milk cheese that is full of rich and earthy flavour. Then, on the 28th, you can try the Hot Tipsy Jill from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks — an ethical and sustainable artisan cheesemaker — at Philips Brewing & Malting Co. in Victoria.
If you’re going away for a wine or beer-filled weekend, you can check out some of these top cheese stops at these breweries in the North and South Okanagan:
Kelowna’s BNA Brewing is featuring Double Cream Camembert, noted for its subtly luscious notes of white truffles, from the Naramata Bench-based Poplar Grove Cheese. This creamy cheese goes great with BNA’s Lil' Pip Blonde Ale.
In Summerland, Sumac Ridge Estate Winery and Black Sage Vineyard is sampling the Camembert from Natural Pastures Cheese Company in the Comox Valley. Try pairing this soft cheese with Sumac Ridge’s 2018 Rosé and Black Sage’s 2017 Chardonnay.
The Wine Experience Centre in Penticton is currently pairing Farm House’s Country Morning — a traditional Welsh cheese with a crumbly, creamy texture and a slight, nutty sharpness — with their vast collection of Okanagan wines.
In Oliver, Inniskillin & Jackson-Triggs Wineries is featuring the bold and flavourful blend of Garlic and Chives Verdelait from Natural Pastures, which pairs perfectly with Inniskillin Riesling Icewine and Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut.
Starting on the 28th, See Ya Later Ranch in Okanagan Falls will be sampling ‘Amsterdammer’ from Natural Pastures. This semi-soft and creamy cheese — which boasts a buttery aroma and a mellow infusion of field herbs — makes a perfect duo with See Ya Later’s rich Pinot Noir.
Also on the 28th, Nk’Mip Cellars in Osoyoos will feature Farm House’s Gouda cheese, which meets its match with Nk’Mip’s 2018 Merlot.
Cheers and happy taste pairings!
For more info on the BC Cheese Trail, visit perfectpairings.ca.