Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Toast to Cheddar

Here's an empty glass. What are you going to pour into it to toast lovely Cheddar cheese?

For Americans this can be a difficult question to answer. More than any other swilling nation, we Americans can be hung up about what we should drink with certain foods. We seem to lack the confidence to choose for ourselves the appropriate potent potable. Believing that there is a scientific, knowable formula for pairing beverages with food, we seek advice from experts and books instead of just popping open a bottle of something and seeing whether or not we like it. I think this quest for the perfect food & wine pairing stems from our lack of enduring food traditions and from the immense variety of foods we have to chose from. We can't simply do what's always been done (e.g., as the English do with port and Stilton).

What we should keep in mind when pairing food with wine and other beverages is that it's all a matter of taste and that there are no steadfast rules or a correct body of knowledge. Instead we should try something on our own and then stick with (and up for) what we like.

As you'll see from this long list of what cheese experts pair with Cheddar, it's hard to go wrong:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Chenin Blanc
Late-Harvest Gewurztraminer
Pinot Noir
Sauvignon Blanc
Indian Pale Ale
Pale Ale
Oloroso Sherry
Ruby Port
Tawny Port
Tobermory Scotch
Ledaig Scotch
Hard Cider

It's ok if you want to learn how to increase your chances of a favorable pairing. If you do, I suggest Laura Werlin's, The All American Cheese and Wine Book: Pairings, Profiles, & Recipes, which I've finally just started reading. It's great, of course.

But don't wait until you've finished reading her book to pop open a bottle of something, fill your empty glass, and toast Cheddar!


Stony Grunow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stony Grunow said...

I liked the last entry in your list - Hard Cider. I just received a case of French-style Hard Cider for helping my friend's cider company with their computers. I'll make sure I save a bottle for you. I mention them in my blog (new web address)

I decided to switch to my own url and use wordpress instead of blogspot, and I'm very happy so far.

anne said...

More cheddar please!