Best Hard Cheese Options To Drink With Wine 2019 | Today Top Reviews Today Top Reviews

Best Hard Cheese Options To Drink With Wine

sliced of cheese stacked up

Image via Pexels

What a variety of flavors hard cheese presents! Who would have thought that given time, fungus, and ingenuity, humanity would transform the mammary excretions of ruminant creatures into one of the most variable foods on the market? Brie tastes radically different from blue cheese, which tastes completely different from gouda. You may think you’ve got your cheeses narrowed down because you’ve determined what texture you want; but think again. Although cheese can be categorized into soft, semi-soft, and hard cheese varieties, nearly infinite variety exists within these categories.

Hard cheese obviously present virtues over its softer cousins for enduring heat without melting and being able to be cut without mushing. But the delights of hard cheeses are not limited to their texture. Hard cheeses offer flavor profiles unheard of in the softer varieties, and these very flavors are the subject of our focus.

The Hard Cheese FAQs

sliced of cheese on table

Image via Pexels

1. What Exactly Is Hard Cheese?

Cheese is typically categorized into the following categories which sound like they are measuring the cheese’s consistency. These categories are easy enough: soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, and hard. While a hard cheese will certainly be harder than a soft cheese, these distinctions usually indicate the amount of aging that the cheese has undergone.

Soft cheeses have not been agedvery long as compared to the harder cheeses. The cheeses typically categorized as soft include Camembert, Brie, and Ricotta. Gouda, Havarti and varieties of Jack cheese are all examples of the semi-soft category (some of the best melting cheeses). Cheddar and cheddar style cheeses like Edam tend to populate the semi-hard category. The hard cheeses we know and love are often those which are best suited to grating over a meal. They include Asiago, Parmesan, and Mimolette.

2. How Is Hard Cheese Made?

The longer a cheese is aged, the harder it becomes. Other than that, the process for making hard cheese largely resembles the process for making the softer varieties. First, you take milk, and then you add whey which contains lactic acid bacteria. After that, calf rennet is introduced to the mixture, which is then allowed to curdle.

Using a tool called a spino, the curd is broken up into small pieces. The cheese is placed into a round stainless steel drum where it waits for two or three days. The wheel of cheese is bathed in brine to let it absorb salt for twenty to twenty-five days. After all that, the wheels are then transferred to a room where they can age for months at a time.

This aging stage distinguishes the softer cheeses from the hard cheese varietals.

3. Why Does Cheese Make Us Feel So Good?

Part of the answer is that fat is flavor, cheese has fat, and good flavor makes us feel good. But our love for cheese goes deeper than this. Cheese contains a compound called tyrosine, which is important for maintaining proper brain function. That’s why your body seems to light up whenever you put that tasty cheese to your lips. Your brain is trying to reward you for feeding it brain food. 

4. Where Can You Buy Cheese?

Nearly anywhere you can buy produce. However, to help out our friends in the internet age, all of the hard cheeses we have included on this list can be purchased off of Amazon. We do encourage you to check out your local farmer’s market to see what sorts of cheeses are available from your community. Nothing tastes better than community cohesiveness. 

5. Why Pair Cheese with Wine?

Tradition will tell you that people pair cheese with wine because they are both terroir dependant, post agricultural culinary developments that display high variability and potential for modifying tastes. Experience will tell you that people pair cheese and wine because cheese is delicious and wine is delicious, and yet somehow together they are both twice as delicious as they could be on their own. 

Comparison Table

No products found.

How We Reviewed

cheese and grater on plate

Image via Pexels

We ensured that all of the cheeses on our pairing list are indeed of the hard variety. Only that which you can shred and crumble makes these ranks. Beyond that, the quality of taste makes up our biggest consideration. The color and texture play important roles, but when it comes to what really makes a hard cheese a superior pairing cheese is the range of wines, it pairs with and its ability to enhance their flavors.

Overall Price Range Of This Product (And Similar Products)

Cheese has quite the range of price tags associated with it. Usually, you pay by the pound for cheese, even if the grocer has gone ahead and prepackaged chunks of their cheese for you. Expect to pay over $ a pound of high quality cheese and know that some types of cheese can easily run into the $$$ a pound range. 

What We Reviewed

  • Blue Cheese
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Garlic and Herb Cheese
  • Fondue
  • Vermont Sharp Cheddar
  • Aged Gouda
  • Mild Cheddar
  • Gruyere
  • Monterey Jack

No products found.

Flavor

One of the most distinct flavors of cheese out there. The blue veins in cheese give it a tart, bright, electrically moldy flavor that no other cheese comes close to. Plus, this baby looks gorgeous.

Pros

  • Attractive blue and white marbling 
  • Strong taste cuts through 
  • Other cheeses cannot imitate Bleu

Cons

  • Can be too strong a taste for some people
  • The blue mold scares some of the uninitiated 

Texture

While it is a cheese in the “hard” category, Bleu Cheese probably crumbles and melts the best of any cheese on this list.

No products found.

Flavor

The great thing about this extra sharp Cheddar hard cheese is the downright availability of the aged milk. It’s probably already in your fridge, right next to the milk and old squash you forgot to eat. By the way- you can throw that out now.

Pair this extra Cheddar with almost any wine you like, but it goes best with a Malbec. Both flavors are complementary and end with a sharp balance.

Pros

  • It’s probably in your fridge 
  • Availability 
  • Comparable price
  • Familiar

Cons

  • Very inexpensive 
  • Pairing is almost too easy

Texture

The texture is harder than your cheddar that comes on a fast food burger, but softer than a wood plank. We would compare it to your average squishy foam. 

No products found.

Flavor

Delicious and not so adventurous, this stinky hard cheese is way better than that smell coming from your feet. You can grind, grip, and eat this with a mouthful of pleasure when paired with Prosecco. Bubbles will delight and surprise your palate in this new combo.

Pros

  • Bubbly and fresh 
  • Light as air
  • Stinky and a great combo overall 

Cons

  • Not the absolute cheapest 
  • Smell can offend
  • Not on the ramen budget

Texture

The texture is harder than your cheddar that comes on a fast food burger, but softer than a wood plank. We would compare it to your average squishy foam. 

No products found.

Flavor

Reach for a bottle of Merlot to pair with a variety of herb cheeses. You can delight in the variety of textures and tastes available with this wine. You need not pare down your pairing options in the heat of this flavorful exchange.

Garlic is strong and brawny, so go bold and pair with a strong wine.

Pros

  • Strong taste
  • Bold and aware of its own taste
  • Large variety of taste

Cons

  • Limited pairing 
  • Can be pricey 

Texture

With the large variety of cheese available in this category you can expect almost anything. 

5.) Fondue

No products found.

Flavor

Who ever said that dessert wine couldn’t go with a melting cheese? Not us! Sauternes are the recommended pair for this not so hard cheese. Fondue is great for an adult party with a few bottles to spare, so next time you feel the need to get fancy, think Fondue!

Pros

  • Yummy with a soft texture
  • Great for parties 
  • Wonderful to pair with dessert wines 

Cons

  • Some don’t like it hot 
  • Requires food to dip 

Texture

This not so hard cheese is soft and gooey with an almost milk like texture. 

No products found.

Flavor

The US American north is looking to Vermont for its next pairing with a truly hard cheese. Discover pinot noir and this cheese are great and you will be on your way north! Imagining a more robust and bold combo may be hard, but not as hard as this hard cheese.

Pros

  • Great for a bold pairing 
  • Wonderfully strong taste
  • Variety of price

Cons

  • Not the best cheese for everyone
  • A real show stopper 

Texture

This hard cheese will have your teeth confused with it’s almost creamy texture.

No products found.

Flavor

This hard cheese is Gouda with everything, but for a real dinner-winner pair it with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is not for everyone, really, it can be obtuse or too full bodied. However, when it is paired with this aged Gouda it is almost too gouda to be true.

Pros

  • Flavor combo of Northern California
  • Wonderful texture 
  • A great smell 

Cons

  • Not for everyone
  • Can be too large for some palates 

Texture

This cheese is truly hard and hardly true. It has the texture of a raw carrot. Simply great. 

No products found.

Flavor

You may be thinking, “Why should I eat mild when there is spice in this world left to enjoy for an adventurous soul like me?” Well, we thought that too until we tried this wine and hard cheese combo.

Hardly a handy hark, Chardonnay and mild, oh so mild, Cheddar go together like a rock and a hard place. The Chardonnay and popcorn pairings of days of old have come and gone. The Mild Cheddar pairing is here to stay.

Pros

  • Almost the best combo on the list
  • Wonderful for casual evenings 
  • Great for dates
  • Here to impress
  • Great taste 

Cons

  • Not too bold
  • Unremarkable smell

Texture

This is the best texture to leave Wisconsin, creamy and soft with a biting edge. This cheese is truly perfect to impress that special someone.

No products found.

Flavor

Another great pairing for a Chardonnay; if you do not like mild delights like our mild Cheddar, then try this Gruyere on for size. We promise it will fit the first time. You will love this sultry and deep pairing of hard cheese and wine.

Pros

  • Easy to find
  • Great taste
  • Simple pairing 

Cons

  • Not everyone's favorite cheese
  • Can be adventurous 

Texture

The texture is such that you cannot beat it, with a rock or anything. It has a soft yet hard and almost in between sort of feel. 

No products found.

Flavor

Reach for a sweet rose for your next cheese pairing. This is one of our favorites. The sweet and salty and savory combo is hard to beat. Almost as hard as this cheese list. You will love it.

Pros

  • Great combo 
  • Easy to chew
  • Everyone loves it
  • So very tasty

Cons

  • Almost too easy 
  • Price

Texture

This is about average for a hard cheese. Think about your last trip to the supermarket.

The Verdict

We absolutely loved the Mild Cheddar cheese and Chardonnay combo. It makes the top of our list. The next time you are throwing a party be sure and skip the popcorn as you reach for a block of this wonderful hard cheese.

(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.