There are few pairings as tasty and delicious as wine and cheese. If you're thinking of hosting a wine and cheese tasting, make sure there's enough for everyone to try a little of each!
Wine & Cheese - A Perfect Pairing
Wine and cheese are a natural combination for any entertaining occasion. In general, the lighter the wine, the milder the cheese. The more full bodied the wine, the stronger the cheese. Below we've partnered some cheeses and wines to give you the best flavor.
Colby, Farmer’s or Monterey Jack
Mild Cheddar, Edam, Swiss, Gouda, Brie or Havarti
Sharp Cheddar, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Aged Reserve or Blue
Red Burgundy, Zinfandel or Riesling
Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer or Merlot
Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Beaujolais
How much cheese do I need per person?
Cheese Tray Appetizers (based on an 8-oz. bar of cheese)
Allow 1/4 of a bar (2 oz.) per person
You will need to purchase three bars for 12 people
Wine and Cheese Party (based on an 8-oz. bar of cheese)
Supplement the cheese tray with grapes, nuts, crusty bread or your favorite crackers.
Making a Cheese Tray
Cheese trays are a staple at any party and creating the perfect platter is surprisingly simple. Start with a few of your favorite cheeses, and then add a selection of crackers and cut-up fresh vegetables. Garnish with in-season fruits or nuts.
Eight Steps to the Perfect Cheese Tray
1. Choose three to five cheese types for an impressive display. Select different ages, flavors, textures and colors. For instance, try a soft goat cheese, with a medium Cheddar, and sharp blue.
2. Remove soft, semi-firm, firm and hard cheeses from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
3. Arrange cheese on a large platter, wooden board or tray. Avoid placing strong, pungent cheese next to a mild cheese.
4. Cut firm cheese into bite-size cubes, sticks, squares or triangles.
5. Serve fresh and soft cheeses as whole blocks or rounds. Serve with a small sharp knife so guests can serve themselves.
6. Garnish tray with grape clusters, apples, pears, dried fruits, nuts or olives.
7. Serve cheeses with crackers of different shapes and textures.
8. Jazz up your cheese tray with a cheese appetizer
Choose cheeses that vary in flavor, texture and visual appeal.
Types of Cheese
Choosing cheese is easy since most fall into these five basic categories:
Characteristics: rindless; soft texture, often spreadable; mild flavor; white in color; often flavored with herbs and other seasonings; melts quickly at low temperatures.
Try: Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese
Characteristics: ripened; soft edible rind; smooth texture; mild to medium, creamy taste; yellow color; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Brie, Camembert, Feta
Characteristics: ripened or unripened; rindless; yellow or white in color; mild to sharp flavor; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Mozzarella, Havarti, Blue
Characteristics: ripened and aged; rindless; salty, nutty taste; smooth or crumbly in texture, ivory to yellow color; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Cheddar, Gouda, Emmental
Characteristics: ripened and aged; hard and dry rind; pale yellow color; hard and granular in texture; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano
Creative Cuts for Cheese Platters
Cheese trays are ideal for easy entertaining. Include a variety of colors, textures, light and regular cheeses in mild, medium and strong flavors. Knowing how to cut different shapes of cheese can add variety to trays, too.
- Cheese bars can be cut into slices, triangles, cubes or small sticks.
- Flat rectangular shapes can be sliced or cubed, cut into squares, triangles, rectangles or sticks.
- For cutting ease, cut cheese soon after removing it from the refrigerator. Since cheese is best when served at room temperature, allow the cheese to set for 30 minutes before serving.
- Always re-wrap cheese in fresh plastic wrap to help prevent mold growth and keep the cheese fresh longer.