Like heart and soul, Switzerland cheeses and wine are meant for each other. If you ask us, the two are a match made in foodie-heaven.
As Swiss cheeses are versatile and come in a range of strengths, they are easily matched up with a wide variety of wines and other bevvies. Here are our four favourite combos. But don’t just take our word for it; try Switzerland cheeses with your most enamoured grapes and grains, there are no rules to how to pair cheese and wine, or beer (or root beer) for that matter!
Remember these are just suggestions—drink whatever makes you happy.
Le Gruyère AOP®
Le Gruyère is one of the most famous Switzerland cheeses. Slightly grainy, the cheese has an incredible complexity of flavours; at first fruity, then revealing more earthy, nutty characteristics that linger on the palate. Le Gruyère is delicious in a fondue as well as on its own or for grilling. This cheese pairs well with a slightly buttery and fruity Chardonnay. Or, for you red lovers, a bursting-with-berry-flavour Gamay.
Emmentaler resembles Gruyère, but the aroma is sweeter, with hushed tones of fresh cut hay. Smoother and more elastic than Gruyère, Emmentaler has holes the size of cherries. This cheese is ideal for grilling, in fondue, and on its own. A Riesling adds a slightly sweet and crisp addition when served with Emmentaler. Or, if you’re serving the cheese as dessert, try it with an Ice Wine, as the combo pairs perfectly. If you prefer red wines, Zinfandel or Pinot Noir are excellent matches, as they are a light accompaniment and will not overpower the flavour of the cheese (or vice versa).
Raclette got its name from the verb “racler,” meaning to “to scrape.” Raclette is very supple. The pale golden interior has a sweet, earthy taste and a pleasant, citrus tang that deepens to a savoury bite. It’s perfect for grilling or to be sampled and on its own. This cheese pairs well with white wines such as the traditional Savoy, however Riesling or Pinot Gris are also a great choice. You red lovers would enjoy it with a slightly chilled Pinot Noir.
One of Switzerland’s oldest cheeses, Appenzeller dates back to the times of Charlemagne (Charles the Great). Appenzeller has a spicy and fermented fruit aroma. This cheese is firm and dense, yet retains a certain suppleness. A few peanut-sized holes are scattered throughout the yellow interior. It’s a great cheese on its own, or for melting and grilling. Appenzeller is a good companion to Riesling or even a hard cider would work. If you prefer red, choose a fruity variety such as a Pinot Noir or a Rhone.
Add a few slices of apples and pears to your tasting, and you will be in heaven. Make a night out of it, try different cheeses with different wines and see what you prefer.
Happy wine pairing!