The legendary pairing of Wine and Vegan Cheese has been mastered over ages by sommeliers, chefs, and consumers. Do the same guidelines hold true when combining wine with vegan cheese whether you’re a dairy-free person or open to trying new foods? Yes, they do, is the response. You can make some exquisite plant-based culinary experiences if you know the ins and outs of wine and cheese pairings.
Let’s start by discussing cheese. Why does it go with wine so well? “The fat and creamy texture of cheese tempers the acids and tannins in wine, causing a chemical reaction and physical sensation on the mouth. According to Frances Gonzalez, owner and founder of Vegan Wines, “tannic, strong tea is mellowed with a dash of milk or milk substitute. For instance, cheese enhances the fruitiness of red wine while reducing its astringency.
You should select dairy-free varieties of the types of cheeses you would traditionally serve with wine when combining food the vegan way. Consider traditional wine pairings like cabernet sauvignon and aged cheese, pinot noir and gruyère, and champagne and brie.
The intensity of flavours should be roughly equal in the cheese and the wine before any flavour contrast or combination, advises Gonzalez, otherwise you risk losing nuance for whichever element is more delicate.
Thank goodness, an increasing number of artisan vegan cheese producers stick to the old-fashioned techniques. Two essential ingredients are needed to make cheese the old-fashioned way: milk and bacterial cultures. Traditional cheese’s texture dries down and flavour intensifies as it ferments. This is because the proteins transform into amino acid compounds that give aged cheese its flavour while the bacterial cultures convert lactose into lactic acid.
Vegan cheese makers make a paste out of nuts or seeds in place of dairy, add microorganisms, and allow it to mature. They can make plant-based ingredients into something that would trick most people by mimicking the precise conditions that convert milk and bacteria into stinky cheese. Due to their high fat content, cashews are the preferred nut for the job and are used by companies like Miyoko’s Creamery, Nuts for Cheese, and The Uncreamery.
selecting a vegan wine
Not all wine is vegan, which is bad news. However, a lot of it is good news. To remove sediment, some winemakers employ isinglass, which is the dried swim bladder of a fish. It is not essential to employ animal byproducts for this “fining” procedure, which gives the wine a sharper flavour and a clearer look. More winemakers are switching to non-animal fining techniques, like using ceramic filters or bentonite clay. Some people completely ignore the clarifying phase.
Look for the word “vegan” on the label of wine. If the wine doesn’t specify how it was filtered, consult our list of vegan-friendly wines or look up the producer on Barnivore.com, a sizable repository of alcoholic beverages made by vegans.
Advice on how to mix vegan wine with cheese
Drinking your preferred wine with handmade vegan cheese follows the same rules as pairing wine with cheese made from dairy products.
We mention several vegan cheese varieties throughout this guide, such as camembert and mozzarella, although we may not always propose a particular brand. For a more complete list of which companies produce which types, see our guide to vegan cheese.
Match the intensity and age.
The wine undergoes a change, growing heavier and bolder, just like cheese does as it ages. Clear whites take on straw tones, while reds become more earthy in colour. While young wines go nicely with creamy plant-based cheeses, they typically feature notes of fruit, flowers, citrus, herbs, and spices.
Old, dry, and flavorful vegan cheeses pair well with heavy, tannic reds. Consider pairing cabernet sauvignon with aged cheddar or vegan brie. Alternatively, serve vegan camembert or gruyère with chardonnay.
With vegan mozzarella or chevre, sparkling wines, dry rosés, light red wines, and crisp white wines go well. These are dairy-free variations of fresh cheeses, which are prepared from recently curdled milk. The texture can vary from crumbly to spreadable, and the flavour can range from mild to acidic.
Salty and funk are complementary.
While matching cheeses of comparable maturities makes sense, this paring is all about difference. If you’re serving strong, blue-veined, washed-rind vegan cheeses, such as gorgonzola and blue cheese, get out the sweet wines. The cheese keeps the wine’s sweetness from dominating your tongue while the sugars in the wine balance off its stink. Opt for sweet red wines like zinfandel or port or dessert wines like Moscato d’Asti or riesling.
Pairings include SriMu Imagine and Maker Wine Dry Dry Sparkling Riesling, Michael Klouda Hatterle Zinfandel 2016, and Virgin Cheese Organic Artisan Bleu.
Wine and cheese from similar locations that are vegan
What grows together, they say, stays together. This pearl of knowledge is relevant to both cooking and wine and cheese matching. Basil and summer produce like tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and eggplant go well together. The same is true for wine and cheese from the same region.
You shouldn’t be concerned if you can’t locate an authentic plant-based Époisses de Bourgogne to pair with your Burgundy wine because the market for handmade vegan cheese is still expanding. An approximate value is acceptable. Thus, serve prosecco with a Caprese salad that includes cashew mozzarella or sauvignon blanc with vegan chevre.
Spero Foods The Goat and Rescue Dog Wines Sauvignon Blanc are recommended pairings, as are Tiamo Organic Prosecco and Catalyst Creamery.
If in doubt…
You can almost never go wrong with something bubbly, like champagne, if you want to serve a variety of vegan cheeses and want to make the wine selection process easier. However, any sparkling wine, from dry to sweet, will go well with a cheese plate made of plant-based ingredients.
Gonzalez advises choosing a mild cheese with herbal aromas since it will complement each wine you provide differently and bring forth its unique qualities.
On the other hand, you might occasionally serve more than one wine and fewer cheeses. Here, you need a solid cheese made of cashews that is just the proper amount of dry and greasy. Wheels of cheese from companies like Miyoko’s Creamery or Treeline would work great in this situation.
Additionally, you might want to think about presenting your combination with dark chocolate, almonds, crackers, seasonal fruit, and seasonal vegetables.
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