Cool fall weather begs for warm, simple comfort food, and we’ve got just the thing: grilled cheese sandwiches, grown-up style. Unique and tantalizing cheeses paired with some of our favorite wines take this after-school classic to a whole new level.
Choosing your cheese depends on what kind of texture and flavor you are looking for. Laura Werlin, author of Grilled, Cheese, Please!, suggests using the Finger Indent Test if you’re looking for that ooey-gooey stretchiness in your sandwich: If you can make an indentation in the cheese with your finger, it’s a gooey melter. Hard cheeses, like Parmesan and aged jack, won’t indent, but their nutty flavors are great to mix with other types of cheese. Soft cheeses, like goat cheese and camembert, will let your finger go right through them, but they give a nice creamy texture when combined with other cheeses.
The wonderful thing about grilled cheese sandwiches is that they are so diverse, and can pair with many types of wines. Here are two basic guidelines to follow:
• Pair like with like: if you use an acidic cheese like goat cheese, pair it with an acidic wine like a sauvignon blanc.
• Pair opposites: A really rich cheese, like a blue cheese, may need a wine with strong acidity to balance it out, like a sparkling wine. (We love the combination of grilled cheese and sparkling wine. The fresh acidity of the wine slices through the richness of the cheese, plus there is just something so hedonistic and slightly naughty about the combination.)
And finally, for inspiration, visit the Wisconsin Cheese Academy, where a sultry voiced woman will read you dozens of creative and tantalizing grilled cheese sandwich recipes, complete with drool-inducing photos. You just might have a meltdown. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.