Apples, Cheese, and Wine
October 27, 2010
In the appendix of The Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier, there is a section titled “Have an Apple, Cheese, and Wine Party.” It caught my attention as a blog topic. Woodier suggests picking out apples, cheeses, and wines, and then serving them with crusty breads and crackers. The apples, he says, should be marked with identification for guests, and “[stacked] in baskets next to those cheese and wines that are considered complementary.” He makes the following suggestions:
- Cortland: Serve with Chèvres (goat cheese), Cheshire, Wensleydale, and Cantal cheeses. Accompany by Codorniu brut (Spanish sparkling), Chablis, Saint Veran, Saint Romain white wines.
- Golden Delicious: Serve with Edam, mild Cheddar, Camembert, and Brie cheeses. Accompany by Medoc and Beaujolais read wines.
- Red Delicious; Ida Red: Serve with Roquefort and Saga blue cheeses. Accompany by Chianti or Beaujolais Villages red wines.
- Empire: Serve with Muenster, Fontina, Bel Paese cheeses. Accompany by Soave white and rose wines.
- Jonagold: Serve with Romano and Gorgonzola cheeses. Accompany by Chianti Borolo, Barbera, Barbersco, and Spanna red wines.
- Jonathan: Serve with Scottish Dunlop (Cheddar), Gruyère, and Provolone cheeses. Accompany by Bardolino and Valpolicella red wines, and Orvieto and Vouvray white wines.
- Jonamac; McIntosh: Serve with sharp Cheddar and blue Stilton cheeses. Accompany by Spanish Rioja red and port wines.
- Macoun: Serve with Caprice des Dieux, Excelsior, Boursault cheeses. Accompany by Moselle, Graves, Pouilly white wines, and red Côte de Beaune.
- Northern Spy: Serve with Italian Parmesan, Roquefort, Pont l’Eveque, other blue cheeses. Accompany by St. Emilion, Côte de Rhone, Fleurie, and Brouilly red wines.
Of course, reading this list, I’m baffled by the wines I’ve never heard of. Also, this topic appears to not have a whole lot of attention on the internet, so doing a pear, cheese, and wine pairing must be much easier.
My solution: break the whole pairing down into, well, pairs, with cheese being the central part. That is to say, rely on books or websites to figure out how to pair cheese with apples and then cheese with wine. First, I would pick out some apples and then pick out some cheeses to go with it, maybe using Woodier’s suggestions. After I’ve made that pairing, I would let the cheese guide me into what wine to drink, abandoning Woodier’s rare wines.
For some reason, a Pink Lady apple paired with an Irish Cheddar paired with a Riesling wine sounds good to me. It has a sharp apple, nutty cheese, and slightly sweet wine. However, thinking about my experience with cider and fondue, the Reisling might clash with the apple due to sugar contents and so a drier white wine might be more suitable, such as a Chardonnay. Of course one just has to experiment!
One last note that Woodier makes on the topic is a good one:
When selecting your apples, be prepared to experiment when a recommended variety is not available or is not in peak condition. Any of the good eaters will taste delicious with cheese… Also, don’t feel obliged to serve only wine. Try a sampling of fruit and light beers, cider, or Calvados (which is a little smoother than applejack).