A match made in heaven, a gourmet play of flavours that take over the senses from across the expanse of the palate and sends the taste buds into a rush of gastronomic medley, the forever classic complement that wine has tended to be for the very food experience to be elevated every time this stupendous pairing plays out across the course of a meal is one that has been well established through the trails of history. With a history as drawn in time as the purview of food itself in being a dietary staple, the intricate workings of wine across the realms of the culinary has made it an essential component of the dining experience. No wonder, wine in fact even precedes dine in the very obvious summing up of this certain culinary charm in ‘wine and dine’ and even when the analogy drawn is a bit too lame by our own admission, that sure does not take away any ounce of the vitalness that wine is commanding of in its stature as among the essential elements of the epicurean.
While the percept of wine as an ingredient of the whole food experience corresponds necessarily with its pairing alongside diverse dishes and certain cuisines as an idea of the basics and a reach for the indulgence simultaneously, it in particular is one very individual breakthrough assertion from the pantry that rules the roost when it comes to pairing up with wine in all impeccability. That of course is no novelty in knowledge, as the immensely versatile block of cheese that sins up the pizza and glams up the cake and amps further the pasta turns out to be also harbouring of as much flavour when it comes to satiating the palate in its exemplary coupling with a glass or so of winey elegance. For centuries in history, wine and cheese have been one of the most classic of food combinations ever. But what began as a very unassuming food practice of serving two locally available staples to be savoured alongside each other or individually as per preferences of the diner today spans a rather complex, nuanced vista of the food experience that weighs out so much in terms of characteristic to arrive at what is touted to be the most iconic of food combinations ever. And while adages about pairing specific types of wine with a certain variety of food exist in historical references of this much explored pairing, it also has been no less considered an aspect of the culinary since times immemorial as to what wine pairs best with what category of cheesy crumbles.
Even with its exalted status in what makes up the entire food world with its many diversities and varieties, the science behind the classic wine- cheese repo is as essential as the ones governing the other many, and often basic gourmet or even less gourmet food combs as well. Coffee and cake for instance is an undebatable reality and so is tea and biscuit, or for that matter bread and butter, pizza and Coke, and numerous some others much loved universal favorites. Dwelling however exclusively on the range of wines are also combinations as appealing as the one they make up with cheeses. Wine and chocolate has no less enormous as fanbase as does wine and meat. So what it is about cheese that still makes it the most glorious reference when it comes to eking out food and wine pairs?
The answer to this though lies in what can be quite a surprise of a revelation. The catch that makes it work here, this ultimate savouring of chunks of cheese with sips of wine, has more to do something not very pleasant to the taste buds rather than being the other way round. It in fact is a matter of opposites attract that dictates the terms of the immense enjoyment that entails out of this pairing that perhaps has no haters. Not just wine and cheese though, this pairing of tastes that are somewhat ‘repulsive’ in their nature and repelling perhaps of each other is what governs many of the other equally enjoyed combinations as well. As regards wine and cheese in particular, the algorithm behind the mass appeal is the setting off of the astringency of the drink with the fatty slickness of creamy cheese. The astringent taste of food is what has us puckering our mouth every time we bite into or gulp down some form of it. The fatty rendition of stuff on the other hand, while presents itself as so desired in the numerous sinful forms it takes, think desserts and pizzas and pastas and sweets and buttery goodies and so on and so forth making the list of the most slimy spread ever of sumptuousness, resides though in a certain lingering aftertaste that is not the most pleasant when it comes to being a portion of its own individuality. It is this rather unsettling awareness of something even as remarkably ‘arousing’ as cheese upon the taste buds that is what is effectively cut off by the certain dry bitterness imparted by the wine as one of its prime flavor components. The steeped in tannins content of wine calls for something equally striking to the tastebuds in the mouthfeel to balance out this extreme experience of the flavours. And the rich, fatty premises of cheese fits exactly the bill in this case, inducing in fact a palate cleansing ritual of sorts that is what makes both the tastes experienced reveal as far worthier an indulgence than what they essentially tend to be.
This pairing of tastes that are opposite in their nature, so much so that they each dwell on the most extreme ends of this spectrum, is also what governs the typical way in which wine and cheese are savoured together. A sip of wine followed by a bite of cheese, or vice versa, is the classic way the many tongues of the world go about this classic combination. In improving the perception of aromas and in cutting the astringency of some wines while bolstering the sweet undertones of some others, the creaminess of cheese matches up perfectly to the characteristic sharpness of wines making for a gastronomic experience that is among the most sublime expressions of divine indulgence there can be. It is this intricate mode of working in which the flavours resident in cheese and wines interplay so deftly with one another, continuously asserting itself one over the other that explains the exquisite enough prominence of this of the most phenomenal of food pairings to ever be.
But also interesting here is how all the good gorgers of the globe have come up even with definite wine and cheese pairings as well. To say that a particular type of wine pairs particularly well with that very identity of the cheese might be a notion derived from cultural explorations along the food trail. It helps indeed that both winemaking and cheesemaking are definite forms of art in themselves, that while are guided by different principles plays out still to conform to their own essences stemming of science, making them therefore similar experiences to effectively counter, and in the process complement each other. Made therefore to such specifications that bring out the intended taste out of them are the many types of wine as well as the different varieties of cheese, that though of course owe their specific characteristics to their regions and sources of origin. That itself explains why not all cheese taste the same and nor does every wine even when they encompass essentially their creaminess and astringency respectively. And while this notions of the opposite flavors is what drives this extraordinary pairing to ultimation in the gastronomic horizon, it instead is the similarity of flavours governing these combinations in their specificness. Which is why aged cheeses bode well for full bodied wines and younger or fruitier wines are better taken care of by fresh cheeses. Conversely therefore, robust wines will likely ruin the delicateness of light dishes or heavy dishes overrule the light bodiedness of the drink. That being said however, it ultimately all boils down to personal preferences of taste and flavours that which makes the maximum difference in whipping up such combinations deviating from those subject to universal validation. Another interesting awareness in this case happens to be somewhat conflicting as well. As a food pairing that plays out along the premises of one element being more assertive in its deliverance across the flavor profile than the other, the whole idea of balance seems to be overstated. It instead is the virtue of one constituent being a complement to the other that is what guides this distinction of exceptional essence in the whole ambit of food pairing that has to be one of the most outstanding of culinary chartings ever.