Blue Cheese, Wine, and Fruit Pairings
Blue Cheese, Wine, and Fruit Pairings
Ever wonder how to pair wine and cheese together? This article explores blue cheese, and how to create a delightful picnic that will tantalize your senses!
Fill Your Picnic Basket — Blue Cheese
I just bought a new picnic basket and I’m planning to fill my new picnic basket with some simple wine, cheeses, and fruits. But with so many options, which do I choose? Cheddar and Chardonnay? Swiss and Shiraz? I began a mission to demystify wine and cheese pairings and first up was whatever was most readily available in the fridge — blue cheese.
Originally, I purchased this crumbly cheese to add instant flavor to a simple salad, and now my mind is awakening to the possibilities! A romantic picnic basket filled with picnic goodies — wine, cheeses, and fruits — perfectly paired to intensify flavor and delight the senses!
Fill Your Picnic Basket — What is Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese is a white cheese with blue veins created from mold spores called Penicillium. The blue mold gives this cheese a tangy, spicy and peppery flavor1. Blue cheese was originally stored in caves, where they naturally developed mold. Today, most blue cheeses are either injected with the mold or the mold is mixed right in with the curds.
Depending on the type of milk used (cow, sheep, or goat’s milk), the cheese develops it’s own flavor profile3. Cheese connoisseurs may describe the differences between these milk types in a variety of ways, but I think it’s best to just try it! I suggest filling your picnic basket with the three most popular varieties of blue cheese — Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton.
Gorgonzola is an Italian blue cheese made from cow’s milk4. Gorgonzola Piccante has a bit more bite and is a creamy yellow color, with the mold radiating out from the center of the cheese. Conversely, Gorgonzola Dolce is a paler white version and is creamier and not as aged with fewer blue veins. Both versions are delicious; choose the flavor you want to fill your picnic basket with by the depth of color.
Roquefort is from the south of France and comes from sheep’s milk. Soft but crumbly and moist with an intense, complex flavor, cheese should be firm and moist, but not sweating. It has no rind; the exterior is edible and slightly salty. It’s worth filling your picnic basket with this cheese, even though it tends to be more expensive.
Stilton — Stilton is the king of English cheeses. Velvety, with a pale ivory color and marbled with greenish-blue veins, there is no mistaking its rich flavor. Make sure the cheese hasn’t dried or cracked before placing it in your picnic basket.
Fill You Picnic Basket — Wine and Fruit Pairings with Blue Cheese:
When I first began this journey, I filled my picnic basket with some crumbled blue cheese with Shiraz, and I instantly noticed the flavor of the wine was overpowered by the cheese. It was like my tongue was coated with the boldness of the cheese, and the wine passed over without penetrating my taste buds. Apparently, there’s something to this wine and cheese pairing stuff …
Since blue cheese has such a strong flavor, you need a wine in your picnic basket that can compete. Typically, a sweet strong wine, such as Port, can partner well with blue cheese. Since Port is a dessert wine, the blue cheese family can be served as a unique dessert with fruit and nuts.
Gorgonzola — Italy, cow’s milk, soft and crumbly texture, wine — Marsala, fruit — dates,
Roquefort — France, sheep’s milk, semi-hard texture, wine — Sauternes, fruit — figs
Stilton — England, cow’s milk, semi-soft texture, wine — Port, fruit — pears, honey drizzled pecans
Prepare and Pack My Picnic Basket:
Armed with my increased knowledge about blue cheese, I packed a romantic picnic basket for a night by the fire with an assortment of blue cheeses, fruit, nuts, and wine. See Chart 1 for the menu.
The picnic basket I had was the Sonoma picnic basket because it’s perfect for a wine and cheese tasting. The Sonoma picnic basket comes equipped with wine glasses and a cheese cutting board. Other picnic baskets that would also do well are the Duet Equinox or the Trio Equinox picnic baskets.
The cheeses I chose to put into my picnic basket were brick versions, since crumbled blue cheese is logistically difficult to taste. You can serve the cheese and wine at room temperature, so this makes packing your picnic basket easier.
Look Inside My Picnic Basket:
I looked inside my picnic basket and I tried Gorgonzola first, then the Roquefort, and finally the Stilton. Each of the blue cheeses was tasty and flavorful. The wine choices complimented each of the cheeses because one didn’t overpower the other. I hope you read this article and are inspired to fill your picnic basket with these wine and cheese pairings … Enjoy!
For more tips like this one, visit www.PicnicForYou.com