I love pairing wine with food. There is so much to consider and sometimes the least obvious combination is the best. A favourite example of this is a pairing of Argentinian Malbec with Cashel Blue, a mild blue cheese from Ireland served on an oatcake. A fairly standard pairing. However, when I add a smear of strawberry jam, the pairing goes from standard to sensational! Not only is it a surprising combination- it is incredibly delicious and guaranteed to wow my guests!
I read once that Snickers is the perfect chocolate bar; roasted peanuts for crunch and texture with a hint of salt; caramel for sweetness; nougat for creamy contrasting texture and chocolate to hold it all together. I think my wine, cheese and jam combination works in the same way as it has the five componants of taste: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. Not only that, the texture of the crunchy oatcake, the umami yet creamy quality of the cheese and the supple tannins and warmth of alcohol from the red wine coat the palate, adding another layer of sensation.
I have presented hundreds of virtual wine and cheese tastings across the UK over the past year and noticed a debate developing across the county. The question? What order to prepare your oatcake? Oatcake, cheese and jam on top or oatcake, jam and cheese? There are, however, some tasters in Somerset who pointblank refused to add jam to their cheese.
Now to find a wine to pair with Snickers….