Many of us rely on restaurants to source the best cheese from local creameries. Pairing cheese with food and wine is mysterious work, perhaps best left to chefs and sommeliers. But how do we select the best cheese pairings to enjoy at home right now? We got a little help from our friends.
Cheese Pairings from Brian Gilbert
We asked a Seattle-based expert — head cheesemonger at Beecher’s Cheese, Brian Gilbert — for a few recommendations. Here are Brian’s top picks for Washington cheeses. Stay home and eat cheese!
Tieton Farm & Creamery
1) Sonnet from Tieton Farm & Creamery with Chardonnay. This cheese is a smooth blend of goat’s and sheep’s milk and has been aged for 1-2 weeks. As it ages it gets more and more assertive, but somehow maintains those lemony sweet notes that keep you coming back for more.
Pair with: local Chardonnay from Yakima Valley Wine Country. Established in 1983, the Yakima Valley AVA’s most widely planted variety is Chardonnay so it should be easy to find!
2) Bianca (with figs or without, we prefer the one with figs) from Tieton Farm & Creamery. This is a fresh, soft, spreadable cheese that is made with their farmstead sheep and goat milk. Slightly tangy, but extremely rich and creamy. It is great in salads, and especially tasty when paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
4) Flagship Reserve from Beecher’s Cheese with Honey and your favorite Red Blend or Sparkling Rose (I particularly like the canned House Wine Bubbly Rose but I’m cheap). Drizzle this bad boy with honey or eat it directly as if the cheese was a chip and the honey was a dip – no cracker needed.
The best thing to do is take a bite of the honey and Flagship Reserve, coat it around in your mouth (as weird as this sounds) and then take a sip of your wine. The wine will change in flavor, and it brings out the brown butter notes in the cheese.
Want more cheese? Check out our story on Beecher’s Cheese For All.
And if you want more info (cause there’s a lot of other cheeses that we haven’t covered) here are all the facts from the Washington State Cheesemakers Association.