This past weekend I was lucky enough to have my cousin, Christina, and her family visit from Boise, Idaho. I had a blast showing them all over the greater Vancouver area. We hit up brunch downtown, breweries in Port Moody, and the wonderful Granville Island – a foodie’s paradise. Christina and I have a lot in common and one of those things is our love of food and wine. She’s very into rosé these days and so I thought her visit would be the perfect time to do a rosé pairing cheese board. The cheese and accompaniments featured on this board are an example of the large variety of choices you have when it comes to pairing with rosé.
Rosé wines can be quite varied. Some are very dry while others are sweet. For this board we chose to use dry rosés. The first is Fleur de Mer from Provence, a region in France known for its rosé production. This wine has a velvety texture and fruity tasting notes of watermelon and cherries with a subtle herbaceousness reminiscent of Mediterranean herbs and lemon trees. The other rosé is from the Idaho winery, Hat Ranch. This rosé was darker in color and slightly sweeter, with notes of strawberries, lemons, and roses.
Because of the citrus notes common in rosé wines, their classic pairing is with chèvre. However, my cousin wouldn’t let me off that easily. She detests chèvre, so I was challenged to find alternative cheese pairings for this board. Fortunately, rosé’s floral and fruity flavors make it great with a variety of different types of cheese, including those I selected for the board: feta, havarti, Appenzeller, Etorki, and Honey Bee Goat Gouda.
This cow’s milk feta is produced by Italissima. It is kept in a brine solution which keeps the feta moist and fresh. The texture is firm and crumbly and the taste is salty and tangy with a sweetness on the finish. The saltiness of feta pairs well with the fruit forward flavors of rosé, especially with the watermelon notes in the Fleur de Mer.
This is a traditional, washed-rind cheese from Switzerland. It has a smooth, firm texture and its rind is washed with a mild, herbal brine that imparts some spicy notes to the cheese. There are three varieties of this cheese offered which differ based on the length of their aging process. The one used for this plate is the classic which is aged 3-4 months. The spiced flavor of Appenzeller brings out the herbal notes in the wine and makes a great pairing for rosé.
This is a smooth, semi-soft cheese produced by Arla. It’s made from cow’s milk and has a subtle, buttery taste. The holes in the cheese add an interesting visual component to the plate and its springy texture makes it easy to slice. Since havarti is very mild in flavor, it pairs well with a variety of wines including rosé.
This is a firm sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region of France. The texture is supple and very creamy on the palate. Its taste has the characteristic sheep’s milk flavor with notes of sweetness and caramel. The sheep’s milk sweetness blends beautifully with the floral and fruity aspects of the rosés.
Honey Bee Goat Gouda
This is a firm goat cheese from Holland that is made with honey. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that is very agreeable. Its mild flavor lacks the barnyard characteristic that steers some away from goat cheese. In fact, even my goat cheese-wary cousin fell in love with this Gouda. It’s a true converter and a perfect pair for rosé.
The accompaniments of the plate include Jamon Serrano, mild chorizo, watermelon, strawberries, olives, marcona almonds, quince paste, tortas, and multigrain crostini. Both of the meat selections paired well with the rosés, particularly the mild chorizo since its spice contrasted well with the fruitiness of the wine. That same spicy-sweet contrast worked well for the cheese on the plate, especially the Etorki and HoneyBee Goat Gouda. The fruit on the plate was selected because it highlighted the specific flavor profiles of each of the the rosés. They complemented the cheese well, too, and added a light, summery feel to the board. One outstanding pair is feta and watermelon. The salty-sweet combination is a huge hit, especially with a bit of basil or drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
What Made the Plate?