Did someone ask you to bring an appetizer to the party? Do you need to make a grocery store run? Or do you simply not feel like making dinner?
Cheese and crackers are the answer to too many of life’s problems, at least in my mind.
Luckily, most chain grocery stores have one or two hidden gems that will make unknowing people think you went on a month-long mission to the cheese destinations of the world. (Did I just have the best idea ever?)
Since wine and cheese are basically a package deal, we’ll include a few suggestions for pairable bottles you are likely to find at the same place you found your cheese.
One time, I went to my local supermarket, Sprouts, and was examining this little triangle of Merlot BellaVitano cheese. Its outside was wine-stained and I was intrigued.
An employee came up to me and said, “That cheese is the best I’ve ever had. It’s our most popular cheese here.” Obviously, I listened to the Sprouts cheese oracle and I bought it.
I brought it home, opened it up and my life changed. It changed again when I learned Costco sells it by the pound.
In all seriousness, this cheese has a first place award from the American cheese society, along with way too many awards to list. And everyone I have forced to try it has agreed it is great.
I recently learned this cheese comes in a multitude of flavors, including raspberry and espresso. So far, nothing has beat the merlot.
Pair with: 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend
#2. Trader Joe’s Triple Cream Brie with Wild Mushrooms
If you’re not a fan of mushrooms or the truffle flavor, my thoughts are that it doesn’t matter when it comes to this cheese. This Trader Joe’s delight has such a subtle truffle taste, it is just the perfect amount to not overpower anything. This soft brie is a must-try that is mellow enough to pair well with just about any cracker type, and a slightly chilled, earthy pinot noir is its best friend. This has become a must-grab item with every trip I take to Trader Joe’s, along with way too many other things in that store.
Pair with: Decoy Pinot Noir
#3. Wyngaard Affineurs Affine Black Pepper
I’m a huge black pepper fan and I like to find cheeses that pair well with my cracked pepper + olive oil Triscuits. So, more black pepper.
Black pepper is a popular flavor so you might have a few options to choose from. I like this Affine Black Pepper from Wyngaard Affineurs, because they cover the whole top with black pepper, and not just the sides. Again, more black pepper.
Pair with: Menage a Trois Zinfandel
#4. A Dutch Masterpiece Vincent – Where Gouda Meets Parm
This gouda-parmesan combo is a longtime favorite of mine. Gouda can sometimes be a strong flavor, but the parmesan addition gives it a slightly tart taste that is just perfect. I especially love this with a chilled Pinot Gris.
Pair with: J Vineyards Pinot Gris
Okay, stick with me here. Boursin is great on its own, but if Boursin really isn’t good enough for you or your uptight guests, there are a ton of ways to dress it up. The versatility is why I personally love Boursin cheese.
Add a couple sliced almonds and drizzle some honey on top of the garlic & herb Boursin and it’s beautiful. Take it out of its wrapper, put it on a nice dish and top the cranberry and spice one with a berry compote. Even better, you can turn it into a sauce to go with your main entree. In my opinion, no charcuterie presentation is complete without some pimped-out Boursin.
Pair with: Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc
What are your favorites and what supermarket do you typically find them at? We’d love to hear suggestions from those who can agree that cheese is life. And while you’re at it, check out some of our other food and wine pairing suggestions.