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A Short Guide to Great Cheeses

You add it to your pizzas, pastas and lasagnes. You mix it in with everything from salads to the main course to the dessert, or you may even eat it on its own. It is creamy, tasty, rich and very tempting, and may even melt in your mouth. Every gourmet gift basket, picnic hamper and appetiser platter must have this in it. What is it? Cheese, of course! There is no meal that cheese doesn’t complement and no wine that doesn’t have the perfect cheese to match. Cheese is everywhere, comes in a variety of tastes and textures, and is probably one of the most beloved food groups in the world. The following are some of the most popular types of cheeses and what you can pair them with to make the most delicious and cheesy meal possible.

Cheddar

It’s difficult to think of a meal that wouldn’t welcome cheddar with open arms. Of all the different varieties, cheddar remains the most popular and the most widely preferred cheese for everyday meals. You can get flavours of cheddar that range from mild with nutty and creamy undertones, to extra sharp that gives a rich and robust flavour. Soups, salads, sauces, sandwiches, casseroles, pizza and pasta are just a few meals you can eat cheddar with, or you can simply enjoy it with crackers and a glass of Chardonnay, Champagne, Cabernet or Sauvignon Blanc.

Mozzarella

While cheddar may be first, mozzarella is a clear-runner up when it comes to popularity in the home. When it comes to this smooth, light-tasting cheese, there are two ways to go: fresh mozzarella that is soft, white, stored in water and best on salads or pasta; or string mozzarella, which is pale yellow with a smooth texture, and very hard to resist on sandwiches, pizzas or all by itself. Enjoy your mozzarella with a lesser-oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, a light-bodied Pinot Noir, beer, soda, or just about any kind of juice.

Blue Cheese

The intense tangy and ripe flavour of blue cheese isn’t for the faint of heart. This cheese is given its name for the distinct blue-veined interior that gives it its sharp flavour, and, when you dig in, you may either find that it is a crumbly or creamy depending on how it was prepared. Blue cheese is fantastic in salads or served with pears, raisins, figs, walnuts and fruit bread, but is guaranteed to add a strong kick to just about any meal. Serve blue cheese with sparkling wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Port or fruit juice for maximum effect.

Brie

Creamy, rich, buttery, smooth and mellow are a few words that easily come to mind when asked to describe Brie cheese. This popular French cheese has an edible rind that helps to add pleasant mushroom and earthy overtones that nicely tops crackers and complements green apples, strawberries, pears, melons, grapes and walnuts, or can be melted perfectly onto croissants and crusty breads. It also makes a fantastic dessert cheese that can be served with sparkling wines, Chardonnay, medium-bodied Pinot Noir, apple cider, Cabernet or Beaujolais.

This is only a small sample of some of the great cheeses that are out there, so what are you waiting for? Grab some crackers and a bottle of your favourite wine and get tasting!