Cheese is the perfect course of a special meal and a delicious snack at any other time. It can be paired with so much different, complimenting food and drinks, what made port a good cheese pairing?
Facts About Port
The name “Port” comes from its place of origin, Oporto, in Portugal. The Methuen Treaties of 1703 made it so Portugal was in the Grand Alliance in the war of the Spanish Succession. In return for allowing English cloth free access to the Portuguese markets, Portuguese wines had to be cheaper than French wines to make sure the constant supply of wine was quality wine.
No other country are allowed to call their fortified wines port because the vineyards in Douro Valley are the only place where the grapes for port are grown.
The best temperature to serve port is 55-65F, although, white port is usually served chills and tawny port can be served at cooler temperatures as well.
There are many different kinds of port, around 9 styles, so, which port is best to serve with our favorite cheese?
The finest ports are vintage. The first vintage ports were declared in 1734 and it is still an ongoing term used on the port which is produced in years when grape production is described as ‘exceptional’. LBV is an abbreviation of Late Bottled Vintage and is filtered and bottled vintage port.
Unfiltered ports are called ‘crusted’, they need careful decanting to get rid of any sediment before they are served.
White port is a lot newer than other styles of ports, first produced in 1934 and the dry type is popular as an aperitif.
The Traditions of Serving Port
The British Naval tradition of serving port was that it should literally be served from ‘port to port’ at the end of dinner. Another well known port-passing ceremony is within the armed force and went as follows:
-The port is placed in front of the host.
– The host serves guests to the right.
– The host then passes port to guest on the left.
– The remaining guests then pour their own port and pass it to their left until it is returned to the host.
This is the accepted way to serve port during formal dinners and it is thought that if you were to ask for the port to be passed to you, you’re considered to show a lack of social standing.
Which Cheese Is Best To Serve With Port?
The cheese which is most popular with port is commonly Stilton.
Stilton is salty, creamy and acidic whereas Port is a heavy, sweet fortified wine. This makes for a good pairing because the flavors and textures compliment each other greatly and both have been available for hundreds of years.
A lot of good blue cheeses also have the strength to challenge the dominant flavors of port so that neither of them overpowers one another. So if you are not a fan of Stilton, most blue cheeses are a good option, the best thing to do is visit your local cheese store such as Shisler’s Cheese House and ask for recommendations.
An even more bizarre thing to do with port and cheese is serving white port with cream cheese! You wouldn’t think of that, would you? The best thing to do is explore with flavors because that is where it ultimately all begins and is how experts are still creating new cheeses to this day!