Considering how much in common cheese and wine share, it's no surprise that they're frequently consumed together. Both can be found in a wide variety of forms, with each year's crop looking substantially different from the last due to the interplay of national and regional traditions with climate, soil, and other ever-shifting natural forces. The temperature at which they are ingested also plays a role, as do pests and molds.
The methods used to create them, how they are stored and aged, the amount of love and care given to them, and the whims of the people who produce them all contribute to their unique personalities.
Do the same guidelines apply when matching wine with vegan cheese for those who are dairy-free or curious in trying new foods? Actually, they do. Learning the ins and outs of wine and cheese pairings can help you create exquisite meals using just plant-based ingredients.
Let's start with a discussion of cheese. What makes it work so well with a glass of wine? Cheese's thick and creamy texture neutralizes wine's acidity and tannins, producing a chemical reaction and a physical sensation on the palate. The addition of a little bit of milk or milk substitute helps smooth out the wine's tannic, powerful flavor. Cheese, for instance, can soften the rough edges of a red wine while highlighting its fruity undertones.
vegan cheese alternatives to the kinds of cheese you might normally serve with wine are a good place to start when thinking about how to match foods. Think of the time-honored combinations of pinot noir and emmental, champagne and brie, and cabernet sauvignon and aged cheddar.
The two main ingredients in classic cheesemaking are milk and bacterial cultures. During the fermentation process, the texture of traditional cheese dries up and the flavor intensifies. This is because the proteins in aged cheese transform into amino acid compounds while the lactose is converted into lactic acid by the bacterial cultures.
Vegan cheese makers create a paste from nuts or seeds, add bacteria, then age it like they would regular cheese. Plant-based substances can be made to look and taste like traditional cheese by mimicking the processes that turn milk and bacteria into cheese. For this purpose, cashews are the go-to nut because of their high fat content.
Choosing a Vegan-Friendly Wine.
Unfortunately, vegans can not consume all wines. However, the good news is most of them are. To remove unwanted particles, some vintners utilize isinglass (dried fish swim bladder). Animal products are not required for the “fining” process, which removes sediment and gives the wine a clearer flavor and look. The use of ceramic filters and bentonite clay for fining instead of animals is becoming increasingly common among winemakers. Some people don't bother to clarify anything.
Look for the word “vegan” on the bottle while purchasing wine.
Vegan wine and cheese pairing suggestions
Wine and artisan vegan cheese can be enjoyed together in the same way that wine and dairy cheese can.
Vegan cheeses like mozzarella and camembert are mentioned throughout this book, however we may not always specify a specific brand. If you're looking for a more in-depth breakdown of which companies produce certain kinds of vegan cheese, check out our buyer's guide.
- Take into account the age and level of intensity.
When wine is aged, it changes, becoming heavier and bolder in flavor, much like aged cheese. The reds become more muted and the whites become straw-like. On the other hand, young wines pair well with mild, creamy cheeses made from plants because of their fruity, flowery, citrus, herbaceous, and spicy characteristics.
Strong, tannic reds complement flavorful, aged, vegan cheeses. Combine a glass of cabernet sauvignon with some vegan brie or a sharp, aged cheddar. Try a chardonnay with some vegan cheese like camembert, ementhal or gruyère.
Vegan mozzarella and chevre are both excellent wine pairing options, especially with sparkling wines, dry rosés, light red wines, and crisp white wines. Dairy-free alternatives to fresh cheeses, or cheeses formed from unripened curds. They can have a smooth, spreadable consistency or a crumbly, granular one.
- Contrast are good
It is common practice to pair cheeses of comparable ages, but the focus here is on contrast. When offering pungent vegan cheeses like gorgonzola and blue cheese, which have a washed rind and blue veins, reach for a sweet wine. The wine's natural sugars moderate the funk, while the cheese tempers the wine's inherent sweetness. Choose a sweet red wine like zinfandel or port, or a dessert wine like Riesling.
- Bubbles and soft cheese are best friends
With its fizzy bubbles that dance on the tongue, its normally high acidity, and its flavors that range from very dry (extra brut) to markedly sweet, sparkling wine is a versatile beverage that may be enjoyed at any time (demi-sec). The three most well-known sparkling wines are champagne, prosecco, and Cava, however sparkling rosé has gained popularity in recent years.
After your mouth is coated with the fat from a bite of rich, creamy, or stinky vegan cheese like brie, muenster, camembert, or mozzarella, the bubbles provide a palate-cleansing effect. Aged nut cheeses that are hard and nutty taste great, too.
- Put together a vegan cheese and wine board from the same region.
Growing together guarantees compatibility. This tidbit of advice is useful not only in the kitchen, but also when matching wine and cheese. vegetables and herbs that are in season during the summer go well together. Wine and cheese from the same region are often a pleasant pairing.
Do not fret if you are unable to locate an authentic vegan alternative vegan cheese market is still developing. An approximate solution is adequate. To that end, try a sauvignon white with vegan chevre, or keep a bottle of prosecco on hand to enjoy with a Caprese salad made with cashew mozzarella.
- When in doubt, there is no doubt
You can rarely go wrong with something bubbly, like champagne, if you plan to provide a variety of vegan cheeses and you want to simplify choosing the wine. However, a vegan cheese platter can be accompanied by any sparkling wine, from dry to sweet.
We suggest going with a mild cheese with herbal aromas to complement the variety of wines available.
But there are instances when more wines than cheeses are on hand. For this recipe, a solid cheese made from cashews that is neither too fatty nor too dry would be ideal. Also, think of presenting your pairing with crackers, seasonal fruit, almonds, and dark chocolate.