Sparkling wines and cheese are truly one of the most romantic meals one can indulge in. Creamy and sensual it's a special treat that is best for only the most decadent of occasions.
The reason sparkling wines and our favorite fromage go together so well is because - like any good couple - they compliment one another. Sparkling wine's effervescence is key for cutting through all the butterfat found in cheese, so your palate can go from creamy to clean in a heartbeat. In addition, the slight acidity can help balance the heavier textures of cheese and bring out more nuanced flavors the same way sour grapes and marmalades can highlight the more floral flavors of the milk in a good wedge of Brie. And remember, salt and sugar dance well together; for example, think of how ecstatic a good piece of salted caramel can be.
Now not all cheeses are great with sparkling wine. Some aged cheeses like seriously butterscotchy Goudas don't care for them all that much, and most flavored cheeses are best avoided (minus a few exceptions). However, the following will make for an exceptional sparkling wine cheese plate...
Bloomy Rind Cheeses: Think of cheeses like Brie, a stately Camembert, a petit Vermont-made Bijou, or an alluring Laura Chenel Mélodie as supple as green bamboo. These bloomy rind cheeses are often very young and aged only a few weeks. Their soft nature and mellow flavors make for a good match.
Triple Cream Cheeses: Triple cream cheeses are cheeses with more than 75% butterfat. This means that you will probably need to run an extra mile or two the next day, but never fear as it is so incredibly worth it (to heck with what your trainer says). Lots of fat means that the sugar and the acidity in your champagne will have an extra bit of pop - those flavors of fruit, grape, and citrus will blare as loudly as Ke$ha. Delice de Bouginon is a French classic that is affordable and Champlain Valley Triple Cream is a buttery delight that's just dreamy smeared over bread.
Blue Cheeses: Be picky with your blues when it comes to bubbles. Some don't match well and it's like a turf war in your mouth where everyone is getting shived. Stick to the creamiest you can find. Cambozola is good contender with a high butterfat content and just enough bite (more of a ticklish nibble) to get your juices flowing. Gorgonzola Dulce is a sweeter specimen that will do well with a lower Brut Champagne. If you can find it, Blu Di Bufala, a buffalo-milk blue, is a real treat.
Flavored Cheeses: Now, most flavored cheeses are anathema to sparkling wines. No one wants juniper berries or caraway seeds in their craw with all that carbonation. However, truffled cheeses are just dandy. Truffle Tremor (also a triple cream) and Sottocenere al Tartufo are prime specimens. Kokos, an aged Dutch Gouda swirled with coconut milk, is the secret weapon of all cheese plates as it makes any sparkling sing.
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