- Variety. For wines, you have less: white and red (although I enjoyed some excellent Portuguese vinho verde tonight with dinner), but here in Wisconsin, cheeses can come in many varieties, some more seductive than others. I’ve tried chipotle cheddar, aged fontina, among others…with a local dairy, you can almost never go wrong. I was feeling like buying cheese earlier, so today’s selection is Carr Valley Sweet Vanilla Cardona Cheese, “a delicious and unique sweet vanilla goat milk cheese with hints of caramel, coconut, and nutmeg.” Handcrafted by Carr Valley Cheese Co., Highway G, LaValle, WI 53941.
- The high-society element. Wine and cheese = let’s be fancy without being too fancy. Telling someone that you spent your weekend “enjoying vintage American television from the 1990s in loungewear while sipping Shiraz and snacking on Camembert” sounds way more classy than “watching Friends reruns in my pajamas with popcorn, pizza, and beer.”
- Easy for entertaining. If your wine and cheese are fresh, there is literally no way you can mess it up. Put it on a plate with some crackers, maybe apple slices or grapes or sliced tomato, and you’ve can an instant, elegant party appetizer. No preheating required, and nothing that involves stuffing (except maybe your face).
- Availability. Well, this is a Wisconsin thing, but every supermarket I’ve been to has a wide selection of cheeses both local and international, and thank goodness liquor laws here must be pretty lax. Cheese here in the Dairy State is kind of like salsa flavors in the Lone Star State.
- The flavor of them paired well together. Well, most any cheese can go with most any wine. It’s kind of like being a good actor – a cheese has to stand out from the other cheeses but be versatile with the wines it is paired with.