In my opinion, there is no better sight to greet guests with than a fine selection of wines and cheeses waiting for them. Since this time of the year is all about entertaining, I thought it would be useful to share some favorite cheese and wine pairings from France.
A Simple Guide to Cheese and Wine Pairings
As a cheese enthusiast, I can’t help but love authentic French cheeses. Every time I visit a fromagerie in France, I feel like a little kid in a candy shop.
So, it’s no big surprise that a cheese board is a frequent item on my table. In fact, I’ll often whip one up in the middle of the week just because.
I like to keep a variety of cheese in stock, especially because I entertain a lot. Cheese boards can get really fancy, but I find that if I’m serving a 3-course meal, there’s no need to go too overboard with my cheese selection.
A simple 3 or 4 piece array of cheeses will do perfectly just fine. In fact, this is closer to what you’d find the French offering at a French dinner party.
The big boards you’ve probably spotted on social media are a rare thing in France.
I find that when I’m choosing cheeses, I like to follow a simple rule: pick 1 hard cheese, 1 soft cheese, and 1 whatever-you-really-love cheese.
The selection of cheeses shown here are all made in France.
This cheese is a soft, triple creme cheese that’s as rich as butter. It’s got a slight tang from the salty, oceanic region it’s born from, Normandy. It’s fantastic with white wines, champagne, or beer. It’s also a tasty compliment to chocolate or even gingerbread!
Most blue cheeses are dry in texture, but not this one. This blue cheese from Auverge is super creamy and is absolutely heavenly on a cheese plate with a sweet side like pears. It’s also scrumptious on salad, potatoes or steak, and it just begs for a full-bodied glass of cabernet sauvignon.
Ile de France Goat Cheese
Possibly my favorite cheese of all, this dense yet rich cheese is the most versatile of all. Pair it with crackers and honey, nestle it inside an omelette, or top a piece of meat with it, you’re bound to enjoy this ultra creamy cheese from Poitou Charentes. Best of all, the cheese pairs well with both red and white wine.
Ile de France Brie
A true French classic, you can never go wrong with a good wheel of brie. Milky and slightly nutty, this go-to cheese board item is an absolute dream with crackers, fruit, and or preserves like fig jam. You can also melt it over a sandwich or burger for some gourmet oomph! This brie from Normandy also pairs beautifully with red or white, although I’m personally a fan of enjoying it with a red Bordeaux!
Choosing a wine to go with your cheeses is just as important as the cheeses you’re presenting. I always like to present the option of 1 red and 1 white for my guests. Some people prefer one over the other, and I never like to disappoint by not having their favorite.
If you’ve had a Beaujolais before, then you’ll know its typically a light-bodied wine. While this isn’t always my first choice when I’m ordering a red, it can’t be denied that it’s a really easy wine to pair with food. This Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais is versatile with both a mix of vibrant fruitiness and yet a velvety finish.
A bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé by Georges Duboeuf is also one you can’t go wrong with. I hold a special place for this in my heart as it’s one of the first French wines I enjoyed with my best friend right along the Seine. I have wonderful memories of drinking this slightly sweet and nutty wine from the South of Burgundy under a Parisian sunset.
A Bordeaux rouge like this one by Légende is usually the one I order or reach for when I’m getting wine. I love a full-bodied wine, and this one is it. It’s so incredibly good with meats and aged cheeses. Thankfully, it’s affordable too so it’s easy to keep it in stock for any occasion.
If you’re looking for a white wine you can not only pour in your guests’ glasses but also cook their dinner with, this Bordeaux blanc is perfect. It’s aromatic, yet balanced in acidity and alcohol. I don’t know how much you’d actually end up leftover with to cook with, but that’s for another discussion!