PNW Cheese, Chocolate, and Wine Pairing Guide

PNW Cheese, Chocolate & Wine Pairing Guide

Cheese, wine, and… chocolate?

Cheese and wine have both been around for centuries, so it should be no surprise that they make for a classic pairing. They both take years of aging to reach their full potential and require the talented touch of an artisan producer – making them a fantastic flavor and texture combination. The wine can be sharp or sweet while the cheese provides fattiness. 

Now, how does chocolate come into play? 

While chocolate and cheese might first raise an eyebrow, both are complex, delicious, and nuanced in flavor. And similarly to grapes and wine, cacao beans too must be fermented before becoming chocolate. 

There aren’t any strict rules when it comes to putting your pairings together. Two approaches you can take: pick things with similar flavor profiles (i.e., nutty chocolate with an aged, firm, nutty cheese) or find contrast, such as a creamy cheese with bitter chocolate. 

When it comes to cheese, there are generally eight unique styles. Every cheese comes with its own unique characteristics and is the perfect place to start your pairing.

Fresh Feta, Fromage Blanc, Quark, Queso Fresco, Ricotta
Pasta Filata  Burrata, Mozzarella, Provolone, Scamorza
Soft-Ripened | Semi-Soft Brie, Camembert 
Semi-Firm | Semi-Soft Fontina, Havarti, Pepper Jack 
Firm | Semi-Hard Cheddar, Gouda  
Hard Aged Gouda, Aged Cheddar, Parmesan 
Washed-Rind Raclette, Taleggio 
Blue Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton 

Use this pairing guide curated by a local expert to help guide your tasting journey.

Pacific Northwest cheese, chocolate, and wine pairing guide.


Tasting Tips:

  • Both red wine and dark chocolate have tannins, which may result in a dry mouthfeel.
  • First, try each item on its own. Let the chocolate melt for a few moments, then try a bite of cheese, then try the wine. Now, try a bite of cheese or chocolate with a sip of wine. Your tastebuds will let you know if a pairing is successful.
  • When serving cheese-y favorites, remember to remove them from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to an hour beforehand. This will allow its flavor to come through more clearly. Be sure that whatever wine you choose is also served at its ideal temperature.

Created in Collaboration with:

Need help finding some locally made cheese to accompany your pairings?

Discover more local brands

Related Stories