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Chef Mark McEwan shares the wine and cheese pairing tips every hostess should know.
Which wine and cheese pairing is most likely to be a crowd-pleaser?
Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese is my go-to when entertaining.
If you're on a budget, which pairing should you go for?
Regardless of your budget, the most important factor in choosing wine and cheese is considering how well the flavours will complement each other. When in doubt, reach for the option that will be the most crowd-pleasing: Again, Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese.
What crackers, meats and garnishes would you serve with each pairing?
When building a cheese plate, I like to offer my guests a variety of garnishes to keep things interesting: fresh hazelnuts, salami, and pickled ramps and beets are perfect accompaniments.
For specific wine and cheese pairings, you can’t go wrong with:
- Sauvignon Blanc, goat cheese and rice crackers
- Pinot Noir, triple cream brie and lightly grilled bread
- Champagne, gruyere and whole wheat or buckwheat bread
What kind of wine should you serve at a lunch gathering, dinner party and celebratory occasion?
- Lunch: When hosting a special lunch, I stick with Sauvignon Blanc because it’s bright and crisp.
- Dinner party: Whether I’m hosting friends and family at home or at the cottage, I’m a big fan of having something for everyone. There are no hard and fast rules for when you can serve a red or white wine. Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc and Stoneleigh Pinot Noir are excellent options.
- Celebration: Perrier-Jouet Champagne is great.
Do you suggest pre-cutting cheese for the plate?
A little prep work can go a long way when you’re on hosting duties. The gruyere is best pre-cut but I don’t recommend pre-cutting triple cream brie or goat cheese.
Do you have any tips for buying cheese from the grocery store when you can’t get to a farmer’s market?
I recommend shopping from the premium cheese counter at your local grocery store. This way, when you’re in doubt about which cheese to select, you can ask for advice from the service counter attendant.
What about rosé — what kind of cheese and accompaniments would you recommend serving with it?
A zippy Rosé like Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rosé will go well with sliced baguette topped with crumbled feta, olive oil and fresh herbs.