We've all been there. The party with the requisite cheese platter. Typically, there is a basket or plate of bland crackers to go with the mundane blocks of cheese. While a cheese platter may seem cliché, it truly is a gourmet snack treat when done with some thought. It's really quite a sensation when paired with the proper wine, and even fruit.
But first, let’s start from the beginning. A little history lesson, if you will. Cheese has been around for a long time. Many believe it originated in the Middle East and was discovered quite by accident.
There’s a tale of a nomad who poured milk into a saddlebag for his journey. The combination of the heat, the motion of the horse, and the enzyme renin present in the saddlebag (made from the stomach lining of an animal) all produced the “curds and whey” of nursery rhyme fame. Those curds are what cheese is made from.
While that may not sound tempting to you at this point, cheese making has evolved into a true art. Cheese shops display hundreds of styles, textures, and tastes of cheese, each with a different flavor and feel. Often, they will allow you to sample several – I would take them up on it.
So, back to the gourmet snack sensation that is the cheese and fruit platter. Much like any food, certain cheeses “pair” well with certain fruits and wines. There truly is a science to the way taste buds read the flavor in cheese. That reaction is affected by other flavors in wine.
If you're feeling brainy, see The Science of Wine and Cheese from science 2.0.
To prepare a truly tantalizing wine, cheese, and fruit offering, put some thought and research into it. First, consider what type of cheeses you'll want – a variety is best. Then pair it with a wine and a fruit that will best compliment the cheese.
Create something special
We found this handy list of cheese, wine and fruit pairings from greatpartyrecipes.com It's a quick and easy guide to matching many types of cheese to various bits o' the grape. Fruit pairings round out the platter. This is great if you start with cheese and want to match it to a wine.
Have your wine selected? Refer to this list from about.com it presents the wine style, with an accompanying rundown of best cheese selections.
When we think of cheese and wine, France is often the first country to pop into mind. If you're feeling a French theme, here's a great site for wine, cheese, and fruit ideas from ildefrance.com
Now you're familiar with pairing wine and cheese with fruit. Please don't make the mistake of serving these expertly chosen gourmet snacks with any old cracker.
Find a variety of crackers, crisps, or other crunchy bits that enhance the cheese without overpowering it.
Give the gift
Not the hostess this time, but your new found verve for wine and cheese have you hooked? Look for great gift basket ideas from these resources:
- Check this site for lovetoknowwine.com for the most affordable gift basket sources.
Step away from the tired old slab of cheddar. Resist the temptation to put out whatever bottle of table red you have with whatever cheese was on sale. Do the research and breathe new life into the wine, cheese and fruit platter. Show your guests you care.