The holidays are quickly approaching, and in Wisconsin that means it’s time to prep our cheese boards for visits from family and friends. And since we’re from Wisconsin, we also know that the best way to enjoy cheese is with delicious pairings. Whether you take your Wisconsin cheese with beer, wine, nuts, fruit or more – experimenting with new, local, Wisconsin pairings is half the fun. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best cheese pairings this holiday season.
Gouda is a cheese for all people. It’s buttery, ultra-creamy and generally irresistible. Porters are a bit more adventurous. Dark and medium-bodied, porters can have a touch of bitterness and even notes of chocolate and coffee. Their slight edge makes them ideal for pairing with Wisconsin gouda. The robustness of a porter cuts through the richness of the cheese, and its mild chocolate notes enhance the light nutty, fruity flavors. May we suggest this Chocolate Lab porter from Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona.
Soft-ripened cheeses, like Wisconsin brie, are snowy-white and delicious at room temperature or served warm out of the oven. Brie has an earthy, creamy flavor that pairs well with fruits. What better way to welcome your guests in from the cold than a warm brie topped with seasonal flavors. This sweet Ginger Pear Compote is the perfect pairing.
Wisconsin havarti is a definite crowd pleaser. It probably ends up on your serving board more often than not, and doesn’t last long. It’s smooth, creamy, and pairs perfectly with even a budget-friendly cabernet sauvignon.
Classic and balanced, dry apple cider is essentially a bubbly, drinkable apple. It’s no surprise that this time-honored pairing carries its perfect balance even in cider form. Sharp Wisconsin cheddar sets the stage with a creamy tang and allows crisp apple flavors to harmonize playfully with cheddar’s bold taste. One of our top picks? Brut Apple Cider from Island Orchard in Ellison Bay.
Gorgonzola is crumbly with a full, earthy, piquant flavor and a creamy, soft interior with greenish blue veins and a rusty brown inedible rind. It’s the perfect full-flavored cheese to serve for the holidays, and it needs a cocktail with a punch to balance out the kick. A great Wisconsin bourbon, like BORDER™ Bourbon from 45th Parallel in New Richmond, is perfect in bold cocktails paired with Wisconsin gorgonzola. Try this Berry Smash Cocktail for your next get together.
Hard cheeses like Wisconsin parmesan – buttery, sweet, nutty and intense – are best matched with foods that pack an intense flavor punch. Homemade spiced nuts are a great accompaniment – and perfect for the holidays. Impress guests by making your own, like these Maple Balsamic Pecans with Sea Salt.
For more cheese pairings ideas, visit EatWisconsinCheese.com, or download the Wisconsin Cheese Cupid mobile app. And, be sure to tune in to “America’s Dairyland – Perfect Pairs” this weekend on Discover Wisconsin for more out-of-the-box cheese pairing ideas from around the state.
About Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is a nonprofit organization of Wisconsin dairy producers that promotes the consumption of milk, cheese and other dairy products made right here in America’s Dairyland. For more information, visit www.EatWisconsinCheese.com.