Welcome to the world of cheese and sherry, two of life’s greatest culinary pleasures!
What is Sherry?
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grape varieties such as Palomino and Pedro Ximenez that are grown in the country of Spain. Sherry, considered to fall somewhere in between red and white wines, is produced in various styles. These range from light versions such as Manzanilla and Fino, to darker and heavier versions like Amontillado and Oloroso. It is an excellent choice for a pre- or post-dinner drink. A deliciously sweet version of Sherry, namely, Cream Sherry is a popular dessert wine. Also, sherry along with the other types of wine is extremely beneficial in reducing the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
A dairy food produced from pressed milk curds, cheese has been globally popular for ages. It is made from the milk of various mammals such as cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, reindeer, camels and yaks. Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein and makes for an excellent appetizer or an accompaniment to food & drinks. There are thousands of types of cheese available in a variety of textures, flavors, and forms. Some of the most famous sorts of cheese are Mozzarella, Cheddar, Parmesan, and Stilton. National Cheese Day falls on June 4th and celebrates this food with people all over the globe encouraged to savor cheese in its myriad forms.
Sherry and Cheese: A match made in heaven!
Since ages, sherry is known to pair perfectly with cheese. It is due to the fact that sherry, with its high alcohol level and intense flavors, can take on the fattiness of cheese. So, sherry with its varied flavors, is equally suitable with all styles of cheese, from fresh cheeses and aged goudas to washed rinds.
What’s more, all the principles that wine connoisseurs have built while pairing cheese and sherry serve as a strong base for pairing cheese with other popular liquors also. For instance, with Macallan 18 and Blood Oath Bourbon.
How to pair Sherry with Cheese?
The four major components of wine are tannin (the dry-tasting element of wine), alcohol, acidity, and sugar. It is best advised to balance these components with the intensity of the cheese that you select for the pairing. Keeping this in mind, you can try a variety of cheese flavors across the whole sherry spectrum.
Here are 5 absolutely amazing tips on cheese and sherry wine pairings:
1) Find Harmony in Similarity – Consider factors such as mouthfeel, weight, and acidity. Mouthfeel would tell you if the flavors of sherry and cheese harmonize in your mouth. For instance, a creamy sherry made with the PX type grapes works well with an equally creamy category of cheese like Bloomy. This combination is sure to make a delectable dessert! An austere, not-too-fruity sherry like Fino may work nicely with a lean, not-too-salty mountain cheese. Thinking about weight, try to balance light goat milk cheese and heavy sheep milk cheese with an appropriate alcohol level in the sherry wine. For a balanced acidic taste, combine fresh cheeses and younger wines as these have more acidity, simply by nature of their freshness. Similarly, aged cheese harmonizes more easily with older wines as both of them have mellowed with time. Keep in mind that in order to find apt harmony, let neither element prevail over the other.
2) Find Harmony in Opposition – The globally popular theory that opposites attract can be applied to cheese and wine pairing also. In this context, an appropriate cheese and sherry match would be a stinky washed rind cheese with a drier version of sherry. A classic example of opposites attract is strong, peppery blue cheese with a sweetened version of an Oloroso, i.e. a cream sherry dessert wine.
3) Traditional Combinations – There are some classic combinations of sherry wine and cheese which are tried and tested already. These pairings are-
- a few slivers of mild Manchego cheese with some dry Fino, as part of a tapas feast which involves serving small Spanish salty or spicy dishes with drinks.
- a chunk of strong blue cheese such as that of Roquefort with a shot of sweet-tasting PX to round off the evening
4) Regional Pairings – Historical roots is an interesting aspect to consider while pairing sherry wines with cheeses. Based on the belief that what grows together goes together, sherry, grown in the country of Spain pairs remarkably with Spanish cheeses like Manchego and Tetilla.
5) Go for the Healthiest Pair – Try pairing the healthiest cheeses you can eat with the healthiest versions of sherry. Maximize the health factor by matching a Parmesan or a Feta cheese with a Fino or a Manzanilla. While Parmesan and Feta cheeses are rich sources of calcium to the human body, a Fino and a Manzanilla take remarkably good care of cholesterol levels. Such healthy combos could be the ultimate style of cheese-sherry mix ‘n’ match pairings.
On reading up these wonderful tips, your racing to the fridge is inevitable! Try out the different aspects of pairing cheese and sherry, whether it’s about harmony or favoring age-old classics, or going for nothing else but the healthiest match. Just be careful not to go overboard with either the wine or the cheese, so that you can truly enjoy their myriad flavors, health assured.