Create the Ultimate Cheese Board with Pairings

For a quiet intimate night at home, opt for a mini tasting with your guests
Staff Writer
A cheese board is a fantastic idea for small dinner parties of two or more.

We don’t think there’s anyone on the planet that doesn’t enjoy cheese. With an endless selection of cheeses — from hard to soft, and sharp and potent to subtle and sweet — there really is a slice for everyone.

Although we’d like to pair every cheese out there, let’s start with one flight, chèvre. Chèvre in French simply means goat, and that’s where our board begins, with goat cheese, and the finest French goat cheese at that.

A great chèvre board should be arranged with a selection from mild, like a smooth and soft goat cheese log, to a strong, aged cheese. Add fruits, crackers, honey, grainy mustard, nuts, and crusty bread to break up the flavors.

As for wine and beer pairings, they vary depending on the cheese, so to give a better sense of direction, The Original Chèvre, the official brand of French chèvre, is guiding us in the right direction. With the help of the brand and Bernard Sun, beverage director for Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurant group, this board is a sure-fire hit. 

Here are perfect pairings fit for your chèvre from The Original Chèvre:

1. Cheese: President Fresh Log
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc
Cocktail: Bellini

Notes: Incredibly light, with a pleasant tang, these logs are soft, creamy and gentle. The classic pairing delivers, as the grassy notes in a Loire Valley sauvignon blanc elevate the tang of fresh goat cheese. For a cocktail, ripe peaches cut through the acidity in the chèvre, and the bubbles in a Bellini go beautifully with the creaminess of the chèvre.

2. Cheese: Crottin de Chavignol From the Loire Valley
Wine: Chardonnay
Cocktail: Gin and Tonic with Lime

Notes: Slightly aged, the Crottin is a touch nutty, finding complement in the toast and acidity in an unoaked bourgogne blanc. The juniper and orange peel notes in gin, with a squeeze of fresh lime for juicy acidity, goes well with the cheese's piquant taste.

3. Cheese: French Goat Brie
Wine: Moscato d'Asti
Cocktail: Vodka Martini

Notes: A crowd-pleasing Brie ready for any cocktail party. This chèvre has a creamy to runny interior with a tender, fine rind. Beautiful on a cracker, or in a baguette sandwich. It’s so mild that it needs the right wine to bring it out of its shell. Sparkling and sweet moscato goes well with its lushly soft texture, enhancing its subtlety; effervescence lifts the flavors up. A Gibson vodka martini, shaken cold and garnished with pearl onions, creates a textural balance that is ideal for cocktail parties.

4. Cheese: Bleu du Bocage From Pays de la Loire
Wine: Port
Cocktail: Sazerac

Notes: This blue is mellower than most, pale and tangy with strong veins shot through. The rich, deep, and sweet port brings out the best in it, working in contrast to the blue's saltiness. The strength of a classic Sazerac also stands up to the blue's strength, with an aged, smoky nuttiness and touch of muddled sugar-with-absinthe.

5. Cheese: Valencay–Style Pyramid
Wine: Sylvaner or Sauvignon Blanc
Beer: American Lager

Notes: Creamy taste with a hint of undergrowth and hazelnut that is mixed with floral nuances. It is soft-ripened yielding a delicate texture, with a thin rind. Alsatian Sylvaner brings out the floral notes of the cheese, with a similar weight that makes an ideal match.  The lemongrass and ginger notes in lager bring out the citrus in the cheese, while the sweetness balances the pyramid's vegetal notes.

6. Cheese: Tomme
Wine: Crémant d'Alsace
Beer: Jever Pilsener

Notes: Aged, pressed cheese with strong goat cheese flavor. Buttery and light, salty and toothsome. Crémant pairs with the buttery, yet salty tomme. The hops in the pilsener bring out the rusticity, the woodiness and bite, of this mountain cheese.

7. Cheese: Bucheron
Wine: Gewurztraminer
Beer: Hoegaarden

Notes: This two-textured chèvre with the appealing creamline is cut into round slices: rich and creamy, a bit fresh and citrusy. Ideal for baking, it turns golden and puffs up in the oven when layered on toast points. The cheese has a crumbly, pasty texture, which is smoothed and made creamy by a lightly sweet and lovely gewurz, which also complements the lemony tang. Hoegaarden is similarly citrusy, bringing out a spicy quality in the cheese while the light bubbles raise the flinty texture up.

8. Chabichou du Poitou From Poitou-Charentes
Wine: Cabernet Franc
Beer: Lindeman's Lambic Poire

Notes: This white, smooth cheese has a natural, wrinkled rind with a rich texture. Mildy sweet flavor with mineral notes. It is also protected by AOC and comes from a traditional method with an eye-catching tall shape, slightly aged. A star on a cheese plate, it’s excellent simply spread on toast. The Chabichou has "barnyard" qualities: creamy, goaty, and strong. A light red wine, cabernet franc, tempers these and accentuates its beauty. The lambic's apple tones match up to the flavor, with the perfect weight and intensity. A terrific match to savor at a tasting's end.

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