How much do you know about cheese and wine pairing? Up until now I must admit to not knowing much at all about which wines to pair with which cheeses. Thanks to Branston I now have a better idea after spending an evening learning not only about pairing wine and cheese but also learning which pickles and chutneys go best with which cheeses and why.
Do you like to have a cheese board for Christmas? What do you like to have on yours? For us a good selection of cheese, wine and port and chutney or pickle is essential.
I'd always thought that red wine was best served with cheese - not white wine. But it turns out that white wine can go just as well with many cheeses - as can dessert wine and port. We usually have a bottle of port at Christmas - I find it a bit too strong personally but when enjoying it with the delicious stilton and Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney I could see how it works.
It was a fascinating evening, spent with other bloggers at the London Canal Museum, under the guidance of wine expert Julia Bailey.
The evening started out with us testing our taste buds. Julia got us all to taste a piece of paper (sounds weird I know!). The inoffensive looking piece of paper was full of surprises. It turns out that some people can't taste it at all, others find it slightly bitter and others still find the taste of it completely unbearable. The results of the test show what type of taste buds you have - those who couldn't taste it are known as tolerant tasters, those who find it unbearable are known as super tasters and everyone else is somewhere in between. I was part of the in between group but the other participants were all different.
We then moved on to experimenting with tasting wine before and after a slice of lemon and then a grape to see how this affected the sweetness or bitterness of the wine. The acid in lemon usually makes the wine taste sweeter - and the same goes for pickle due to the vinegar, which is why pickles and chutneys are a great choice for a cheese board that's to be served with wine.
On the other hand however the tannin in the skin of the grapes can make wine taste more bitter - which makes it surprising that grapes often appear with cheese and wine. The same goes for chocolate and walnuts - so if you've ever thought of a chocolate and wine night, it's probably not the best idea.
We tried quite a few of the Branston products on the night with different combinations of wine and cheese. I've put them all below so you have a ready made shopping list for your Christmas cheese board! You can thank me later. And I also share with you which was my favourite.
Pickle: Branston Small Chunk Pickle
Wine: Red wine - Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel, 2014
Pickle: Branston Smooth Squeeze Pickle
Wine: Dessert wine - Royal Tokaji Late Harvest, 2015
Pickle: Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney
Wine: Port - Croft Reserve Tawny
Pickle: Branston Original Pickle
Wine: White wine - Vouvray Domaine des Aubuisiéres 2016, Cuvée de Perruches, Bernard Fouquet
And saving the best for last - while Edam isn't usually my favourite cheese the combination of the mild cheese with the punchy tomato chutney and smoky Malbec was 100% my favourite combination.
Pickle: Branston Mediterranean tomato chutney
Wine: Catena Malbec 2015, Mendoza
So there you have it - a great selection of cheese, wine and pickle for you to enjoy this Christmas.
We finished off our cheese and wine evening with a very tasty limited edition savoury cheese and pickle mince pie created by Lily Vanilli.
All the wines mentioned in this post are available to buy at Majestic.
If you like this you might like this mini calzone with beetroot, made with Hayward's Pickles.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Branston Pickle.