Dairy Pairings

Dairy is delicious on its own but paired with beverages and other food, it creates new and surprising tastes that are sure to tempt your taste buds. Try our cheese pairing guide, entertaining tips and recipes at your next party or get-together.

Cheese Pairing Guide

wine_and_cheeseAny way you slice it, pairing your favorite cheese with foods and beverages is not only delicious, it’s a great way to get your 3-Every-Day™of Dairy. Try our handy cheese pairing guide below to plan your perfect party.


  • Taste & Texture: Mild and creamy when young; Nutty and semi-sharp with age. Hard
  • Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah
  • Food: Red or green grapes, figs, crusty breads


  • Taste & Texture: Tangy, ripe and earthy. Semi-soft to hard
  • Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparkling wines or Port, Syrah, Zinfandel
  • Food: Figs, pears, walnuts, fruit and nut breads


  • Taste & Texture: Creamy, rich and buttery. Soft
  • Wine: Sparkling wines, Chardonnay, medium-bodied Pinot Noir
  • Food: Green apples, strawberries, pears, toasted walnuts, crusty breads


  • Taste & Texture: Mild to sharp, tangy and robust. Semi-hard to hard
  • Wine: Gewürztraminer, Reisling, medium-bodied Merlot, Syrah
  • Food: Red or green apples, grapes, cherries, cashews, dark breads


  • Taste & Texture: Mellow, rich caramel. Semi-hard to hard
  • Wine: Reisling, fruity Zinfandel, Merlot
  • Food: Red apples, toasted almonds, dark breads


  • Taste & Texture: Buttery and toasty. Hard with a firm, yet pliable texture
  • Wine: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
  • Food: Red apples, hazelnuts, hearty breads


  • Taste & Texture: Smooth, buttery. Semi-soft
  • Wine: Lesser-oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, light-bodied Pinot Noir
  • Food: Pears, red grapes, almonds, rye bread

Monterey Jack

  • Taste & Texture: Mild and slightly zesty flavor, becomes nutty with age. Semi-soft to hard
  • Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, medium-bodied Merlot, fruity Zinfandel
  • Food: Plums, peaches, toasted pecans


  • Taste & Texture: Delicate and mild, milky. Soft to semi-soft
  • Wine: Lesser-oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, light-bodied Pinot Noir
  • Food: Olives, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, crusty bread


  • Taste & Texture: Sharp, yet savory flavor that intensifies with age. Hard, with a granular texture
  • Wine: Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Food: Figs, raisins, walnuts, hearty bread


  • Taste & Texture: Slightly tart and salty flavor. Semi-soft when young; hard when aged with a smooth, firm texture
  • Wine: Merlot, light-bodied Pinot Noir, Syrah
  • Food: Pears, red grapes, figs, olives, hearty bread


  • Taste & Texture: Sweet to sharp, nutty. Semi-hard
  • Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, young Cabernet Sauvignon, light-bodied Pinot Noir
  • Food: Green apples, cherries, toasted almonds, pumpernickel

And when you want to have even more fun mixing up cheeses with food and drink, use this Cheese Pairing Tool from Wisconsin Cheese or visit Cheese CupidILoveCheese.com also has a great cheese and wine pairing tool.

Cheese Entertaining

How do I start and what do I need to have my own cheese pairing party? Here are some quick, simple tips:

  • Choose up to 5 cheeses that differ in texture and flavor.
  • Purchase 2 to 4 ounces of cheese per guest.
  • Serve cheese at room temperature.
  • Arrange the cheese from mild to strong and soft to hard.
  • Provide separate servings knives for each cheese.
  • Label each cheese with cheese markers.
  • Keep a list of favorites.

Cheese Pairing Recipes

Pair cheese with foods to create creative and delicious bites that will wow your guests.

  • Sweet and Savory – Cut toaster waffles into bite-sized pieces and top with Blue cheese and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Tropical Treat – Serve semi-soft Farmer’s cheese, Queso Blanco, Panela or Gouda with guava paste (also called guayabate or goiabada) – often found in the Latin food section. Cut each into small squares and serve together on toothpicks.
  • Classic Combo – Top bite-sized portions of apple pie from the bakery with an aged Wisconsin Cheddar.
  • Mediterranean Bite – Stuff dried Medjool dates with Wisconsin Feta and almonds or pistachios. Top with chopped fresh mint.
  • Winter White – Try a simple salad of shaved fennel, Wisconsin Parmesan, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and black pepper.
  • Creamy and Tart – Top bite-sized pieces of baked puff pastry or tart shells with Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese and pomegranate seeds.
  • Crowd Pleaser – Stuff pickled cherry peppers or Peppadews with small squares of Wisconsin Provolone wrapped in salami.
  • Simple Twist – Spice up brown and serve rolls by topping with sliced jalapeños and shredded Wisconsin Cheddar before baking.
  • Easy Peasy – Pair pieces of a nut and fruit granola bar with sliced Wisconsin Emmentaler. It’s a simple and fun option for holiday cheese boards.
  • Rich and Sweet – Serve sliced Wisconsin Brie on thin ginger snaps or almond cookies.
  • Rustic Elegance – Serve thin slices of rustic country or dark bread with Gouda for a great taste.
  • Dynamic Duo – Brie and fresh strawberries always please.
  • Melt-in-Your Mouth – Try black cherry preserves with pumpernickel and sharp Cheddar.
  • Feeling Mellow – Asiago’s mellow complexity enjoys the company of dried fruits such as dates or figs.
  • Warm & Nutty – Highlight the nuttiness of Swiss by serving with almonds. Enhance flavor even more by warming almonds for 10 to 15 minutes on a baking sheet at 350° before serving.

Cheese Pairing Recipes courtesy Wisconsin Cheese