It’s getting to be that time of year when it seems like you have a festive gathering every weekend. One of the things we look forward to the most during the holiday season is the abundance of charcuterie boards full of meats, cheeses, and flavored cashews, all paired expertly with a bottle of wine or bubbly. If there’s any time to break out nice cheeses, nuts, and wines, it’s the holidays. One thing that really makes things feel special and can make for a memorable experience is to take the time to understand the nuances of pairing foods. In fact, it’s a great holiday party trick that’s easy enough to employ all year round. We’ll help walk you through the ins and outs of pairing the perfect cheese with your favorite flavored cashews.
When considering foods like nuts and cheeses, you have to consider what your objective is; And usually, when pairing foods like wine, cheese, or nuts, your objective is one of two options. You either want to create pairings that complement each other or contrast each other. And the good news is that there are so many variations of cheeses and flavored cashews or unflavored nuts that you can easily achieve one or both, providing a culinary experience for your guests.
For example, you’ve likely tasted cheese or crackers and either tasted or heard them described as nutty. Now let’s say you’re looking to complement that cheese with another food. Hmm, what nutty food would complement cheese? That’s right, nuts! See how easy, fun, and tasty this can be? Now, when you’re aiming for complimentary cheeses and nuts, you’re looking for those similar flavors and different textures between nuts’ crunchiness and cheeses’ creaminess. But you also have to make sure you’re not going completely overboard. For instance, if you had a salted cashew, it would be overpowering to pair with a salty cheese like feta. In that case, it’d just be way too much salt. So make sure that when you’re combining flavors, you’re not just dumping a bunch of heat or salt on someone’s palate.
Sometimes, trying to achieve a satisfactory flavor experience can be easier and more balanced through the contrasting of several flavors. This is why people adore chocolate-covered pretzels. They combine the sweet, creamy chocolate with the salty, bready crunch of a pretzel. And it’s a match made in heaven! Likewise, if you’re indulging in a creamy cheese and a creamy nut like a flavored cashew or almond, you’ll want a sharper or more acidic wine to cut through all the creaminess. Knowing these basics can even help you create the perfect charcuterie board.
The Best Pairings for Cashews
Nuts, cheese, and wine seem to be made for a pairing together. However, there’s certainly much more information available about pairing wines and cheeses than there is about pairing nuts and cheeses or nuts and wines! As cashew lovers, we think this is quite the oversight and want to help other cashew aficionados out with a list of some of our favorite wine, cheese, and cashew pairings.
As we’ve touched on, even though most cheeses and nuts seem to complement one another, certain nuts do pair better with certain cheeses. This goes for wines, too. So, even though our favorite nut to pair with any cheese and wine is cashews, we support multiple nut and cheese pairings because everyone has a favorite, and there’s no need to be stingy around the holidays!
First things first: we love flavored cashews for their rich fattiness. This means that the rich creaminess of cashews, whether flavored or unflavored, complements a blue cheese well. The creamy tanginess of the blue cheese and the fatty crunch of the cashew create an excellent experience. Alternatively, cashews also could be paired with a Gorgonzola. If you couldn’t find either of these two or would prefer a less salty cheese, make sure you roast and chop your cashews to go on top of a creamy brie-style cheese.
Now, to the wines. Because of the richness and creaminess of both the flavored cashews and the creamy, potentially salty cheeses, you’ll want something crisp to cut through all that decadence. On their own, cashews pair great with a Champagne or Prosecco. When also paired with a cheese, you should reach first for a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.