When going out to dinner, you make a choice from the menu, and then take a look at the wine list to find a nice complimentary wine to go with your main course, and all is right with the world.
But what if you are thinking about a nice glass of wine for one of those far too rare relaxing moments, what can you snack on to enhance that glass of wine?
Perhaps the best answer is the simplest, some crusty bread and fine cheese. This is an absolutely sure fire combination that will enhance both the wine and cheese. But there are just a few words of advice.
Red wine is great with hard to medium cheeses, such as Gouda, Edam, Fontina, Manchego and others of this kind. Sharp and tangy goat and sheep milk cheeses are excellent with tart, slightly more acidic white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Vigonier, just as a tart slice of apple can be a delicious accompaniment. Bleu cheeses and very strongly “aromatic” cheeses are enhanced with sweeter fortified wines like Port, Sherry and Sauterne. But surely, for every cheese, there is a perfect wine.
Of course, breads include crackers, rolls and even pita chips. The choice is completely up to you.
If you’d like to have something a bit more substantial, an antipasto plate of Italian cold cuts like Parma, Prosciutto, Genoa salami complete with cheeses, artichoke hearts, olives and other vegetables are great with Italian wines.
The choice of Italian wines is not just for cultural purposes, but Italian red wines are slightly more tangy and acidic than their French or Spanish counterparts, with the exception of Southern French wines from the Rhone or Langedoc. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Italian wines are made in that style to pair with this cuisine.
But don’t think you need to transform yourself into a Continental and watch foreign language films, though that can be nice, to enjoy wine with snacks.
If you love our traditional snacks like chips and salsa (it’s American now!) hot wings or Braats with spicy mustard, you might like to try a wine with a bit of sweetness to break up the heat. An ice cold German Riesling might be just the thing. This is the same logic as serving a tart and sweet Margarita cocktail with spicy Mexican food.
If you are craving salty snacks of chips and nuts, a big and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon from California or Chile, or almost any red from Australia will stand up to the salt and richness (let’s face it; they are deep-fried).
Though many gourmets and food fanatics will tell you that wine is for serious food, and by and large it is, there is no reason that our favorite snacks can’t be enjoyed with a nice glass of wine. Why, if you are over 21 lose that glass of milk and have a glass of nutty, medium bodied Sherry with those chocolate chip cookies. Whatever your pleasure, wine and snacks can be enjoyed anytime, whether with friends or just chilling in front of the TV.