Maybe it’s because we’re just a tad touchy about the elitist brie and chardonnay liberal thing, but sometimes the thought of having people over for a wine and cheese party just seems so … Alan Alda. Or Volvo driving. Not to mention predictable.
On the other hand , the reason why the wine and cheese pairing is so ubiquitous is because it’s so darn good (not to mention EASY to execute). By creating a good wine pairing, the flavor profiles of the wine will pop out easier, as will the texture and flavors unique to the cheese you’ve chosen to serve. In fact, we have an entire section of our website devoted to wines that pair well with mild cheeses and another section of wines that pair well with robust cheeses.
So here’s an idea for a wine and cheese pairing just a little bit out of the ordinary: try a honey, cheese and wine pairing! But don’t use just your garden variety supermarket honey. Try one of the new artisanal honeys ; for example Royal Hawaiian Honeys. Available online, they are 100% raw, single-source varietal honeys harvested by a family-owned apiary on the Big Island of Hawaii. Royal Hawaiian is dedicated to producing the finest quality, artisan Hawaiian honeys while connecting you to their honey’s origin and its story. Better yet, they adhere to strict standards of sustainability by practicing organic farming and implementing a CARBON-FREE® initiative whereby all emissions associated with manufacturing, packaging and shipping these products are neutralized through supporting Carbonfund.org’s portfolio of certified carbon reduction projects.
These honeys have an almost amber color and thick texture. The texture is a little grainy, and the rich taste is distinctive – you get a taste of brown sugar with some molasses and then, at the end, some spices. They’re just the thing to pair with cheese. Click on the links below to order online!
Directions: Use some mini toasts or very plain water cracker, spread the honey on them, and top with cheese.
Christmas Berry Honey
Fresh chevre or other goat cheeses with a sharp, tangy flavor.
Pair with: Domaine Chaume-Arnaud La Cadène Blanc 2008 ($20): This is a wine that elevates any traditional white wine pairing but is particularly good with simple, elegant foods, where its unique combination of fruit, acidity, flowers, and herbs can be savored. Try it with strawberries (amazing), oysters (sublime), or figs and goat cheese (out of this world).
Zamarano or Manchego cheese- sheep’s milk cheeses with a dry, nutty flavor.
Pair with: Domaine la Croix des Marchands Gaillac Blanc Sec 2008 ($12 – only 13 bottles remaining): The Gaillac Blanc Sec 2008 is made from 50% Mauzac and 50% Muscadelle, a light-bodied white that is dry and crisp. Mauzac is the oldest grape varietal in the region and can be sweet or dry, spicy or fruity, depending on vinification, but it always has a sort of green apple and pear flavor. Muscadelle contributes floral aromas. It’s perfect for summer, or just when you want to feel like it’s summer — just about anytime.
Macadamia Nut Blossom Honey
Buttery and rich cheeses made from cow’s milk like a triple-crème or brie, or marscapone.
Pair with: Château Milon Bordeaux Blanc 2006 (on sale for $15): The Milon Bordeaux Blanc is 50% Muscadelle, 45% Sémillon, and 5% Sauvignon Blanc. It starts with a lovely ripe fruit flavor, like apricots, and has a nice crisp finish. The wine is aged in oak but not to hide anything, and the oak provides a good counterpoint to the other flavors. It’s a truly elegant white wine, substantial enough to stand up to food but wonderful for sipping on its own.