Host A Vertical Cheddar Tasting
Hosting an artisanal cheese tasting is an innovative, easy way to entertain a group of good friends, and if you follow some simple guidelines you and your guests can have a great learning experience as well.
Tips For Selecting The Cheeses
To keep the selection for your cheese tasting party simple you may want to try exploring different ages of the same cheese. If possible, try and stick to a single cheese maker.
For a vertical tasting, purchase four cheddars of different ages and pair each with a different wine to give your guests a full range of flavors to enjoy. Start with the mildest flavored (youngest), working upward in intensity of flavor.
- 1-year aged cheddar - pair with Chianti Classico
- 3-year aged cheddar - pair with Syrah
- 6-year aged cheddar - pair with Merlot
- 10-year aged cheddar - pair with Cabernet Sauvignon
Some other goodies you might want to serve along with the cheese are crisp sliced apples, pears, fresh grapes, honey for drizzling, dates, figs and walnuts or pecans.
Planning The Party
An important point to remember when preparing a cheese tasting is to allow your cheese to reach room temperature before serving. Take your cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour ahead of time.
Artisanal cheeses get their magnificent flavor from living organisms which become dormant in cold temperatures. By allowing them to warm up, you awaken the full flavor of the cheese.
For a tasting party where no other meal is included, figure on one ounce per cheese per person ~ in this case, about 6 ounces total per guest.
To truly experience the flavors of a wine and cheese pairing you should educate your guests on how to taste cheese properly. For maximum appreciation, take a bite of cheese, hold it on the palate, then take a sip of wine at the same time.
Naturally, you can use the info here as a guideline for planning your own party. Experiment with different varieties of cheese and wine to discover your favorites.