Category Archives for "Food"

Swiss Cheese and Wine

Pairing Wine With Gruyere

When you think about Swiss cheese it can conjure images of a huge yellow wedge riddled with holes. It’s the butt of religious jokes for being “holy,” as well as being used as bait in old Tom and Jerry cartoons.

But professional makers of Swiss cheese varieties are anything but comical. This is serious cheese and serious business.

Recently I sat down with Tom from The Red Cow to sample some Swiss Gruyere cheeses and find their perfect Australian wine match.

Gruyere is generally known as a cheese used in cooking. It has amazing melting properties and is a versatile addition to many dishes.

However, the Gruyere cheeses we sampled are anything but a humble cooking ingredient; they deserve their place front and centre as show stopping table cheeses. 

Understanding the process of how these cheeses are made, gives you a real sense of just how special these artisan cheese varieties are.

Tom explains how fresh milk from a dairy in Switzerland is used to make cheese in Australia within 10 hours of the cow being milked. This takes the whole “farm to table” concept to Level: Insanity!

Tom and I also touch on cheese aging, rinds, and other production insights specific to the Swiss cheese industry.

We sample some amazing Gruyere varieties from three different regions in Switzerland. We talk about texture, flavour and the so-called “rules” of wine and cheese pairing. 

But what is a great cheese without a glass of equally great wine? I introduced Tom to a well-balanced Tasmanian Riesling from Hughes & Hughes.

This cooler climate Riesling is easy to drink and light on the acidity. Paired with an aged Gruyere makes for a great match in my humble opinion. 

Moving in a westerly direction, we found a crisp Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River.

The oakiness from this wine, combined with herb-infused cheese made for an interesting match, they both really seemed to lift flavours from each other. While Tom and I found this pairing pleasant, it would be polarising in my humble opinion, depending on the taster and their palette. 

Next, Tom and I sampled an interesting blend from our nation’s capital. This Canberra wine mixes the softness of Pinot Noir with the boldness of Shiraz and the results are phenomenal.

Add a Swiss Gruyere cheese who’s rind has been washed in the red wine and salt brine; and voila! I found my favourite pairing for the day. Needless to say, my taste buds can now die content and happy. 

The takeaway from this little sip and sample with Tom is that there really are no hard and fast rules for wine and cheese pairing. Taste is personal. Flavour is suggestive, and individual preference will always play a huge part in what cheese and wine you believe compliment each other. Be bold and give it a go.

Grab some friends, a few bottles and some interesting cheese varieties. Pour a glass and carve a slice. Using a Swiss Army knife is optional. Enjoy!

To learn more about the Swiss Gruyere cheeses and the Australian wines that Tom and I sampled, check out the clip above.  

3 Wine & Chocolate Pairings To Make You Go “Ooooh”

Regardless of whether you were a fan of the millennium hit “Sweet Like Chocolate” by Shanks & Bigfoot, we can all agree that chocolate is a big hit with sweet toothed Aussies.

But did you know how incredibly well wine and chocolate go together?

Like Sonny and Cher. 

Or Ross and Rachel. 

Prince Harry and Meghan. 

Trust us. Carefully matching foods with wine can elevate the best characteristics of each to another level. A “nice” wine becomes delicious. And a tasty chocolate dessert is all of a sudden, the best thing you’ve eaten in your entire life.

We want to share our wine and chocolate know-how with you. So when you crack open your next bottle and choco treat, it’s an experience that makes you go “oooooh…..”

Top tip for matching wine and chocolate

Before we get started on pairings, here’s our number 1 tip for matching wine and chocolate. So you can feel confident doing it all by yourself.

Keep it simple stupid!

Whatever are the most obvious characteristics of the wine or the chocolate, that’s what you need to focus on in your pairing.

So, has the chocolate got any fruit, nuts, or other flavours added to it?

Is the wine fruity, dry, light, heavy, savoury, or sweet?

Make a note of the most obvious thing(s) that you taste. Then you can go one of two ways:

  1. Match it like for like
  2. Match up opposites

Matching like for like is easy. If you’re eating white chocolate lemon ganache, choose a white wine with a hint of citrus. If your wine is a robust, full bodied red, you’ll need a rich, flavourful chocolate to go with it. 

Alternatively, you could match up complementary opposites. This is the kind of stuff they talk about in Masterchef when they say things like:

The acid of the citrus really cuts through the creaminess of the sauce.”

Or…

“The saltiness of the bacon is perfect against the sweetness of the peas.”

Yes, you too can sound that awesome.

Channel your inner Matt Preston and you’ll find wine and chocolate pairing a breeze.(Colourful cravat is optional.) 

3 incredible wine and chocolate pairings

1. White chocolate

We know that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate. But that doesn’t stop people from loving it. And in actual fact, it’s one of the safest chocs to pair with wine. And it’s the easiest pairing to remember…

White chocolate = white wine!

Because it’s so delicate in flavour, white choc is best with white wine. A Pinot Grigio would be perfect, because the orchard fruit flavours of the wine go well with the creaminess of the chocolate. 

Serving suggestion: Eden Valley Pinot Grigio with pear and white chocolate cake.

2. Milk chocolate

Milk chocolate has those tasty cocoa flavours but it’s also much creamier and sweeter than dark chocolate. So it pairs nicely with lighter, fruitier, or lower alcohol reds.

A Pinot Noir is a great shout, as its subtle earthy characteristics combined with cherry flavours are the perfect balance between sweet and savoury.

Serving suggestion:King Valley Pinot Noir with rocky road.

3. Dark chocolate

Now for the good stuff. Dark chocolate is known for its health benefits. And so is red wine. Understandably, they’re a match made in heaven. 

An Australian Shiraz from the Barossa has a spicy dark fruity flavour that will complement the bitter notes in the chocolate. Alternatively, you could go down the cab sav route. 

Grenache also matches well with darker chocolates, as it is low in tannins to balance out the bitterness of dark chocolate. 

Serving suggestion: Maclaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon or full bodied Barossa Shiraz with dark chocolate brownie.

Take the guesswork out of your wine and chocolate pairings with our Wine Subscription Box. We’ll send you tasting tubes of different wines from over 100 Australian regions, so you can try before you commit to your ideal wine and chocolate match. 

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