JUST ADD CHEESE: SPARKLING WINE AND CHEESE PAIRINGS

img_0563

When preparing a cheese board for guests this holiday season, there’s a few things to remember. The best cheese board includes a range of cheeses, including something fresh, something soft, something aged, something hard and something blue. While wine has been the classic choice, cheese also goes especially well with beer and spirits, so have some options to suit all tastes. Don’t forget to take the cheese out well in advance of guests arriving, as cheese tastes better at room temperature.

By Jennifer Katona, NSLC Category Manager, Wine

It makes a cork-dork like me excited to see the growing appreciation of sparkling wine, bringing it into the ‘everyday’ as opposed to it being exclusively for celebratory occasions! Sparkling is so versatile and can provide a creative injection into your holiday meal experience.Try pairing sparkling wine with cheese? The nature of sparkling, with those stunning bubbles, is that it works as a great palate scrubber for the rich texture of cheese.

A few ideas:

  • Champagne: known for its bready toastiness, it’s perfect with Comté. With its own appellation, this hard cow’s milk cheese is savoury with a nutty texture.
    Deutz Brut Classic Champagne NV, France, $64.99 Limited Quantities
  • Prosecco: Fruit forward and lighter bubbles; it’s a great complement to Brie. The dense creamy yet salty style of the cheese works well with Northern Italy’s favourite sparkler!
    Santa Margherita Prosecco DOCG, Italy, $21.99
  • Local Sparkling Rosé: the red grapes used to make this sparkling wine give bright red fruit like cherry and cranberry. I’ll be pairing this with our local Dutchman’s Dragon’s Breath!
    L’Acadie Vineyards Sparkling Rosé, Nova Scotia, $28.98

img_0574

CHEESY BITES

Piquant Blue Cheese Balls

  • Makes 12 cheese balls
  • Prep time: Less than 30 minutes
  • Total time: Less than 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cream cheese,
  • room temperature
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 cup crumbly blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, crispy, cooled
  • Paprika

Directions: Place cream cheese in mixer with paddle attachment. Beat until cream cheese is fluffy. Add the honey, blue cheese and pancetta. Mix until wellcombined. Using your hands or a small ice cream scoop, form into balls. Place paprika in separate bowl. Roll balls in paprika, then place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.

Mixed Herb and Parmesan Cheese Balls

  • Makes 12 cheese balls
  • Prep time: Less than 30 minutes
  • Total time: Less than 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/ 2 cup pistachios, shelled, toasted, roughly chopped, cooled
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups mixed herbs, finely chopped

Directions: Place cream cheese in mixer with paddle attachment. Beat until cream cheese is fluffy. Add the Parmesan, pistachios and lemon zest. Mix until well-combined. Using your hands or a small ice cream scoop, form into balls. Place herbs in a separate bowl. Roll balls in herbs, then place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.

Goat Cheese Balls

  • Makes 12 cheese balls
  • Prep time: Less than 30 minutes
  • Total time: Less than 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cream cheese,
  • room temperature
  • 3/4 cup goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup mustard seeds

Directions: Place cream cheese in mixer with paddle attachment. Beat until cream cheese is fluffy. Add the goat’s cheese, lemon, blue cheese and pancetta. Mix until well-combined. Using hands or a small ice cream scoop, form into balls. Place sesame seeds in separate bowl. Roll balls in sesame seeds then place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest1