Category Archives: * American cheese

What to drink with cheese . . .

Oh the list is endless, needless to say if you like to drink something with some particular cheese then do it!
Don’t worry about what people tell you, everyone is different with our own tastebuds, of course there are suggested options that pair well but if their not to your liking do you own thing!

Here is what I’ve found works for me over the years, of course you may differ but that’s ok.

We’ll, start by working our way down the cheeses and I’ll suggest cheeses from the list that I personally think works best.


These are cheeses which have been produced and have had no aging, so no more than a week old and to be enjoyed soon after production. Like Mozzarella, Ricotta etc.


A fresh wine like a fruity Sancerre or refreshing Rose
A light refreshing crisp ale like a lager
A fresh apple cider with a little sweetness
A Spanish Sherry with a little sweetness
Either a dry refreshing Junmai Ginjo or a sweeter Umeshu


With such fresh cheeses and gentle flavours it’s best to not have anything too overpowering. Anything with a crisp refreshing mouth feel that’ll match nicely with a gentle delicate flavoured cheese


All Brie & Camembert cheeses are classified as white mould cheeses, as well as triple cream Bries. But here they have been put into their own category below.
White mould cheeses are the most versatile of all the cheeses, they marry well with numerous beverages.


White wine of a dry and fruity nature such as Sauvignon Blanc & Rose
Dry barrel oaked wines such as Chardonnay
Full bodied red wines such as Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon
Crisp refreshing Pilsner style cheeses
Dark full bodied beers
Classic savoury Normandy Cider
Port or Sherry
Like wine, from the dry minerality to the sweet dessert wine style


With a delicate interior of the cheese it pairs well with dry wines
More robust Bries such as Brie de Meaux can handle the stronger full bodied red wines
Fresh crisp beers can withstand the stronger style Bries & Camemberts
Dark heavier beers can give a coffee/chocolate & cream effect
Camembert & Cider both hail from Normandy making them a perfect match
The sweetness of a fortified can pair wonderfully with the creaminess of a white mould cheese
Sake like wine, will pair with all manor of white mould cheeses


The dry crumbly citrusy cheeses such as any Holy Goat cheeses from Victoria.
Or classic French Goats cheeses from the Loire valley such as the ash coated St. Maure, or Chabichou du Poitou.


A fruity wine, such as a Sancerre, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Un-oaked Chardonnay or fruity Rose.
An equally fruity sparkling wine such as a Champagne or sparkling wine from the Loire valley.
A sweet dessert wine, like a Late harvest Botrytis or similiar.
French Cider, these tend to have more savoury apple notes than the sweeter versions outside of France
A crisp fresh Pilsner, Wheat beer with more malty notes such as a Kronenbourg Blanc.
Junmai Ginjo – A fruity and semi dry Sake, similiar to a Sauvignon blanc


All of the above suggestions match the gentle acidity and fruity notes in these cheeses
Sancerre is France’s Sauvignon Blanc and grows in the Loire valley.
The Loire Valley was originally the home of French Sparklings, until the Champagne region became the largest producer. Hence the name, Champagne now being well known as French Sparkling.
The dessert wine would give a lovely contrasting flavour to the goats cheese, much the same way as you’d drizzle some honey over Goats cheese.



Or strong soft goat’s cheeses, such as a Mothais sur feuille, which is matured in very high humidity and gives way to a softer, creamy fudgey interior. These cheeses when aged can have quite a punch to them, leaving the gentle acidity behind and bringing forth more of a zing on the palate.


A sweet dessert wine as you would with a fresh crisp goats cheese.
A robust red wine such as a Pinot Noir, but try to steer clear of anything with too much tannin such as a Cabernet.
A fortified such as an aged Port or a Spanish Sherry such as a Pedro Ximenez.
A whisky, such as a Japanese or Scottish Whisky variety. Possibly not an American Whisky as the smokiness can over power the cheese I find.
A classic Pale Ale, with a hoppy finish.
Umeshu – A sweet dessert Sake, with a sweet yet slight sourness.


With such a tang to these cheeses they behave similarly to a washed rind so you can pair them with something more robust to bring forth their subtleties.
The sweet wine and fortified will mellow the tang.
A whisky will bring forth the smokiness.
The red wine and Pale Ale will enhance the sweet leaving a creamy texture.

Be wary of red wine with non aged goats cheeses, the wines tannin and the cheeses acidity create a very unpleasant mouth feel. Be sure to taste your combination first before unleashing it on your guests!

Mothais sur feuille
Mothais sur feuille


Generally your smellier cheeses, with a sticky rind due to the washing during its maturing period. These cheeses are best eaten and smelt little, they have an oozy texture that coats the palate. Created by the monks who used to eat these cheeses on their ‘fasting days’, which is why sometimes these cheeses are referred to as having a meaty texture!
Such things as Epoisse, Taleggio and Raclette are the most well known.


Washed rind cheeses are best with a dry fruity white wine such as a Gruner Vetliner with a savoury finish.
A sweet Sauternes lends well to these cheeses.
With these cheeses having such a strong taste, and softer washed rind a yeasty taste, they lend well to heavy Trappist beers such as Chimay or a light Stout (Porter).
Depending on the strength of the cheese a Cider can be a pleasant pairing.


Epoisse is washed in a pomace brandy, so best paired with the same. The ‘meaty’ texture lends well to such strong flavours. Also from Burgundy, so the old adage what grow together goes together. It brings forward the creamy texture.
Raclette being from more Alpine areas, the local wines tend to be more minerally which match the savoury character of the cheese.
A sweet wine would hide a little of the punch whilst still allowing the flavours to penetrate.
A savoury cider would allow for a little sweetness contrasting with the cheese whilst also allowing the full flavours to come though.
The monks were the ones to play with cheese and created their Trappist beers, both having yeasty notes, they really do marry well together.
chimay and cheese


Such as the Dutch Wyngaard Chevre, Midnight Moon or Queso de Cabra from Spain
These aged semi hard goats cheeses still have a little of the goats cheese acidity but also have a more mellow sweetness that comes through the cheese and a fudgey texture in the mouth


A dry fruity wine such as a Gewurztraminer, or similar sparkling wine.
Sweet dessert wine with Pineapple notes, or try a more gentle fruity Riesling or Chablis with a savoury finish.
A crisp Pilsner or Wheat beer.
Umajun Junmai – a nutty savoriness and yet a gentle citrus note.


A sparkling wine to bring forward the cheeses sweetness.
Dessert wine to match the sweetness with the acidity of the Goats cheese.
Beer to refresh the palate with crisp bubbles
Sake to provide lively vanilla notes and finish with a crisp citrus to contrast the sweetness.

Learn more about Sake pairing here . . .



These cheeses are not for your faint hearted. Most definitely creamy and with minimum 70% fat content it’s not a cheese I recommend eating everyday. But, we have some wonderful suggestions on how to tone down that creamy mouth feel when you cant help but to over indulge!
So, whether you’re into your Brillat Savarin, Delice de Bourgogne or many of the other incarnations, this one is for you!


This type of cheese matches with so many things its hard to narrow down, but here are some of the ways I’ve enjoyed
it. . .

A dry classic French Champagne
A light fruity Rose, to bring forth memories of ‘strawberries & cream’
A sweet dessert wine such as a Vouvray
For something more heavy this cheese stands up to a full bodied Cabernet
A crisp refreshing Pilsner
A heavy Stout, try a Chocolate Stout ‘chocolate & cream’
A full flavoured apple cider with gentle sweetness, I prefer the Sidra del Verano from Spain
With a Tawny Port or for a sweeter version try a Spainish Sherry, Pedro Ximenez
A blended malt whisky from Speyside in Scotland, called Monkey Shoulder
Umeshu – A sweet dessert Sake, with a sweet yet slight sourness.


A Sparkling with lots of bubbles helps to cut through the richness of the cheese
Whilst I’m not a huge fan of dark beers, this is like a chocolate and beer cream delight.
However the bubbles in a Pilsner lightens the cheese cutting through the richness.
The sweetness in the Port helps the cheese feel like a all in one dessert luxury
This particular Whisky has a lovely mellow sweetness that pairs so marvelously with this cheese.
A fruity Sake reminiscent of a dessert wine.

brillat savarin cheese


So, now we’re talking of cheeses such as Ossau Iraty, Chebris & Alpine cheeses such as Uplands pleasant ridge from America, or France’s Comte & Beaufort . . . Manchego which we’ll come to later.
Some of these cheeses are made during certain times of the year but for arguments sake were going to put them into this category for now!


Classically a dry fruity white wine pairs best with Alpine cheeses such as a Vin Jaune
Fruity full bodied red wines have their place too
Belgium Pilsners, with a crisp finish or Pale Ale with more hoppy notes
Tawny Port or local Topaques
Karakuchi – with a minerality and upfront fruity notes, perfect for complex cheese flavour profiles


Vin Jaune made in the Comte region (what grows together, goes together)
Ossau Iraty used to have such a pungent aroma/taste that heavy red wines were used to mask the cheese. Thankfully this is no longer the case however the tradition still remains and with its fudgey texture pairs quite well with a fruity full bodied Pinot Noir.
Belgium beers are fruity enough whilst having enough savoury notes to match the complex cheeses
Ports with their sweetness bring out the more savoury notes of these cheeses
Karakuchi Sake, with its minerality makes it a perfect fit for savoury cheeses bring out out its subtle flavours


Talking of classic British cloth bound cheeses (although there are some great American ones too known as ‘bandaged wrapped’) such as Cabot. These are drier and crumblier than your supermarket versions with a tang that lingers on the palate due to the cheese being aged for 12 months or more


Depending on the strength of the cheese, a hearty red wine such as a Shiraz
A dry oak smoked chardonnay
A bold brown ale
A Tawny port
Umeshu, a sweeter style fruity sake


A hearty red wine can match the the strength of a sharp cheddar without becoming overpowering
The oaked Chardonnay will match the dryness of the cheese bringing out the grassy notes
Unless you have an Isle of Mull cheese which has strong whisky overtones so a whiskey would be best!
A full strength beer would match the cheddar without being too strong, what grows together goes together. British Cheddars are best with hearty British ales.
The sweetness of a fortified Port or Umeshu sake contrasts with the sharp cheddar bringing forth other subtle nutty flavours


Gentle Cheddars such as Cantal, Barbers Cheddar or Double Gloucester which have a more buttery texture and softer notes.


A fresh fruity wine from the same region
A crisp pilsner style beer
A crisp savoury cider, not too sweet
A blended malt whisky from Speyside in Scotland, called Monkey Shoulder


The wine would contrast the butteriness of the cheese bringing other flavours through
A Pilsner style beer would cut through the buttery notes with its refreshing bubbles
A refreshing French style savoury cider to contrast the butter notes
This particular Whisky has a lovely mellow sweetness that pairs so marvelously with this cheese.


A sheeps milk cheese, these generally have a natural oiliness to them with hazelnut overtones


A big bold red wine with heavy tannins
Local Rioja wine
Spanish beer from the La Mancha region with malty notes
Spanish Sherry
White Spanish Port
Sweeter Spanish cider like a Sidra del Verano


Manchego is a cheese that pairs wonderfully with heavy tannin red wines and compliment each other
The malty notes of the beer pair beautifully with the nuttiness in the cheese
Spanish Sherry with its sweeter notes brings out the subtler cheese notes
A savoury Spanish white Port would match the savoury notes of the cheese allowing others to come to the fore
The sweeter Spanish cider contrasting the savoury notes of the cheese


Aged Goudas have been aged for 12 months or more and as they age the flavours intensify from a caramel sweetness to a grainy salty texture.


Riesling or something floral
Champagne or something bubbly
Karakuchi – with a minerality and upfront fruity notes


The floral notes will mellow out the intense sweetness
The bubbles will have the same effect as above
Sherry will match the cheeses sweetness and contrast its saltiness
The Sake with its minerality will match perfectly for complex cheese flavour profiles


Blue cheeses tend to vary in strength but have a saltiness throughout the pate with a strong smell


A sweet dessert wine with fruity pineapple notes
A dessert wine, like a Late harvest Botrytis or similiar.
Full bodied Pale Ale
Port or Muscat
Spanish Sherry like a Pedro Ximenez
Glen Garioch


The sweetness mellows the saltiness of the cheese
The beer will match the strength of the cheese allowing other notes to come to the fore
The sweetness of the fortifieds pair to bring forth the gentle blue cheese flavours
This whisky has lovely vanilla notes with a gentle smokiness that matches with the cheeses intensity

Be wary of red wine with some blue cheeses, the wines tannin and the cheeses react to create a very unpleasant mouth feel, Metallic almost. Be sure to taste your combination first before unleashing it on your guests!


Such things as a coffee rubbed rind Bella Vitano American cheese, spiced Cumin Gouda, Isle of Mull Cheddar


These cheeses are interesting as they have so many options due to their flavourings

Pair with either a coffee or caramel flavoured drink to match the cheese
or a crisp wine or beer to contrast

Pair with either a spiced Rum or Whisky to match the cheese
or a sweeter fruity wine like a Riesling to contrast

This cheese is made with the milk of cows which are fed some of the leftover draff from the local whisky distillery.
Pair with a local Whisky to match the cheese
or a crisp refreshing white wine like Sauvignon Blanc to contrast

Bella Vitano Espresso

No matter what you enjoy, there is no wrong or right answers. You’ll be amazed just how much the cheeses can change with what you pair with them.
Everybody has different tastebuds!

Big cheese tower

A whopper of a cheese tower.

Starting with the good looking Bella Vitano pepper rubbed cheese from Wisconsin, a disc of the world loved Colston Bassett Stilton.
A top of the Stilton we have a triple cream Brie; Brillat Savarin and then a little delicate goats cheese from.Holy Goat in Victoria, the La Luna.

Lamb chopper

History of Lamb chopper

A relative to the Midnight Moon, lamb chopper is a sheep’s milk cheese made by the Dutch exclusively for Cypress Grove.
A new comer in the cheese world only having been around since the 1980s.

Maturing & tasting notes

Aged only 3-6 months this is a Gouda style cheese, made using pasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet. In a classic tomme shape and weighing in at approximately 4kg per wheel.
Soft and buttery on the palate, this cheese has incredible sweetness redolent of salted caramel and fresh vanilla beans. With a slight hint of citrus to contrast the savoury qualities of sheep’s milk making this cheese a very well balanced cheese.



Rogue River dairy

Rogue River blue

History of Rogue River

Situated on the South west of Oregon, USA between the pacific ocean and a national park the Rogue river flows and it’s on this area of land where this most remarkable blue cheese hails from. An area well known for its natural wonders perfect for hikers, fishing, rafting and hardy cows where they graze on lush pastures and produce wonderful flavoured milk to create this cheese.

After decades of award winning production, the newest owners of Rogue River dairy, David Gremmels and Cary Bryant decided to take it up a notch. It just so happens they must be the nicest people I have ever met, and so passionate not only about this cheese but the whole industry its no wonder America now produces more and more beautiful artisanal cheeses, its a long way from the ‘can of cheese’ we unfortunately all think of when people mention American cheese but thankfully that is changing.

Maturing & Tasting notes

For a special edition of the company’s classic ‘Oregon Blue Vein’ they started with pasteurised, raw summer milk.
A fruity nuance is added to the dense, vegetal, smoky blue after several months of aging by wrapping the wheels with local grape leaves from a neighboring vineyard which has been soaked in a pear brandy for 6 months.

rogue river wheel

Aged for approximately 10 months where the brandy soaks into the cheese and as the cheese ages the flavours become very interesting indeed.
Almost like a layer cake as you work your way through the cheese its quite obvious, from a sweet syrupy blue cheese to a savoury nuttiness, this cheese is a cheese which you could spend hours deciphering the different layers, and David and I almost did, I think we found at least 10 differing flavour profiles.
Thank you David for taking the time to show me just how complex and beautiful this cheese is and thank you to all involved to bring this cheese to us!

What else of course but match this with a Pear brandy, or a classic Muscat. Or even nothing at allbut a good friend and lots of time to discuss this wonder!

rogue river wedge

You can check out their other products here…

Sartori cheeses

Extra aged, Goats Cheddar

History of Sartori cheese

Sartori logo

Made by the Sartori dairy company in Wisconsin which also makes the Bella Vitano range of cheeses, are now in its forth generation of cheese makers.
Paolo Sartori immigrated to America from his home town of Valdastico, Italy. He would later achieve his own American Dream, of owning his own dairy starting in 1939.

Goats Cheddar

Sartori goats

Made from pasteurised goat’s milk and aged to a hard cheese with Cheddar nuances.
This cheese was introduced in 2012and became an international success after receiving a gold medal at the Global Cheese Awards held in the United Kingdom.


Sartori partners with LaClare Farms also in Malone in Wisconsin to source the freshest, highest quality goat’s milk as they believe its just as important to what you feed your animals as to what comes out as quality milk.
Available at limited times throughout the year ensuring quality is always paramount
Sartori Master Cheesemaker Pam Hodgson has always been interested in goats cheese after her father bought a herd to keep his land trimmed, they soon became part of the family and this is what sparked her interest in goat’s milk to make cheese using traditional Italian hard style cheesemaking techniques.

Tasting notes

A dry crumbly texture classic of an aged English cheddar, with that characteristic goats cheese acidity yet with an underlying sweetness and slight caramel aftertaste.
There has been many a ‘non goats cheese lover’ even admit that its quite a pleasant cheese!

Enjoy with a crisp wheat beer, a fruity Riesling to contrast the acidity or a medium bodied Chianti

Go visit their website and see the huge range they have to offer…

Cabot clothbound Cheddar

History of Cabot Cheddar


From Vermont in United States, in the very North Eastern corner with its lush green fields, it really is ideal area for dairy cows.

Operating since 1910s with an original investment of $3,700, which was paid by 94 farmers in proportion to the number of cattle which each owned. The cooperative started, firstly by making butter with the excess milk and then by sending their products further afield
In 1960 they had 600 member farms. This was quite an achievement as many farms across the nation were shrinking.


Although made with pasteurised milk the flavour profile has kept all the beautiful delicate nuances normally attributed to raw milk cheeses.
Due to their great care, it limits the amount of cheese they can produce but boy its worth waiting for. Made in the traditional cloth bound fashion reminiscent of English Cheddars from a single herd of Holstein cows, Cabot clothbound Cheddar weighs in at 17 kg when full aged between 12-14 months.500-clothbound

Tasting notes

A beautifully balanced cheese with the richness of the area, a slight fruitness yet buttery texture leading to a nutty caramel lingering on the back palate.

Match with a big brown ale.

You can check out more of this cheese and its wonderful history here . . .

Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve

The farm was recently purchased off Dan Patenaude & Mike Gingrich by the next generation of uplands logocheesemakers, ironically it was bought by their own apprentices ensuring not only the wonderful cheese stays in production but continue their own farming ethos that the previous owners had established.

History of Uplands Pleasant Ridge

pleasant ridge reserveBought to us by the Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin in USA, they make only 2 cheeses and milk their herds seasonally creating only the best quality cheeses due to only the best milk being used when the animals are outside and feeding on that lush beautiful spring and summertime Wisconsin green grass.

The herd is grazed on a rotational basis just like how they used to make cheese and this only helps to create a wonderful grassy Alpine style cheese that I’m happy to say sits right up there with their other raw milk European Alpine cousins such as Comte, Swiss Gruyere and Beaufort.
This is due to the ‘closed herd’ where they’ve cross bred robust animals that can withstand the colder weather with other breeds that have more complex milk flavour profiles and this is what creates not only the beautiful milk but animals that need no external help other than nature to create these cheeses.
When the pasture is not up to the high standard for cheese making they sell the milk, this ensures the quality of their cheese.


All of their cheeses are ripened in their own purpose built maturation rooms next to the dairy.
The cheeses are washed with a brine twice a week to encourage bacteria and the cheese forms its own natural rind.
This is where all the flavour starts to emerge as the cheese ripens for a period upto 15 months minimum.

This is why Pleasant Ridge reserve has been the most awarded cheese, having received the Best of the Show award 3 times from the American Cheese Society in 2001, 2005 & 2010.uplands maturing

Tasting notes

This cheese has more flavours the more you eat, very much like a French Comte. With grassy notes, a slight sweetness, nuttiness and a fresh milk taste.
A true delight on the tongue.

Special thanks goes to …

for their story and additional information.

Bella Vitano Cheeses

History of Bella Vitano

sartori logo

Made by the Sartori dairy company in Wisconsin, now in its forth generation of cheese makers this family.
Paolo Sartori immigrated to America from his home town of Valdastico, Italy. He would later achieve his own American Dream, of owning his own dairy starting in 1939.
With an impressive future ahead of him…

In 1970 Sartori is first U.S. exporter of cheese to Italy and Japan.
In 2010 Sartori Foods wins 100th award for Sartori Reserve cheese.

The cheese…

Inspired by traditional, Italian farmstead cheese, this rich, creamy cheese
with a nutty, fruity flavour begins in the
mouth like a premium Parmesan and creaminess of a young Cheddar with the
crunch of an aged cheese.

Reserve cheese range

The Bella Vitano range is extensive and award winning with such flavours as…

Bella Vitano Espresso

Bella Vitano Espresso
Bella Vitano Espresso

Made by rubbing roasted espresso grounds into the wheels of BellaVitano cheese, it packs a punch when eaten with the rind yet the pate has notes of caramel due to the coffee penetrating the cheese.
Match with a stout, chocolatey beer, robust red wine or coffee itself.

Bella Vitano Raspberry

Bella Vitano Raspberry
Bella Vitano Raspberry

Rubbed in a Raspberry ale, this cheese really sings with a slight pinkish hue on the rind the sweetness of the raspberry adds a slightly fruity dimension to the cheese.
Match with an equally fruity Rose or a crisp sparkling to really lift the raspberry notes from the cheese.

Bella Vitano Merlot

Bella Vitano Merlot
Bella Vitano Merlot

Another wonderful washed cheese, this time washed with a Merlot red wine, this imparts a red wine fruitiness with a slight red wine zing on the back of the palate. A pure delight on a cheeseboard as with the other cheeses mentioned above they create a beautiful array of colour.
Match also a lovely medium bodied red wine or a refreshing crisp beer.

There are many other washed rind cheeses, but these are my top pick.

Sartori also do Classic cheeses from their heritage such as Parmesan, Fontina & Asiago.

A special thanks to all at Satori cheese for you continued new ideas and passion.

…and thank you for additional information gained on your website.

May –

Minnesota Cheese Festival, USA


18th May 2014

They hold 2 sessions throughout the day where you can sample cheesey wares from all over the country from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa & Wisconsin.

Satori Cheese

The Internationally award winning Satori Cheese who create the Bella Vitano range including the Balsamic, Merlot, Espresso and Raspberry which I can honestly say I’ve tried and enjoyed on several occasions.

There’s gonna be cheese tastings, pairing classes and cooking with cheese info, get on down there!