I am a total food and wine lover and one of the best parts about living abroad for me is the fact that I get to try, explore and discover so many new foods and delicacies to accompany the different wines that I love to drink. I enjoy going to the grocery store in just about any country, and I love it when I discover something new, because then it’s something that becomes a food and wine tradition for me I like to share when hosting dinner events at home. Meet cheese and embutidos!
Cheese and Embutidos: Wines That Go With It
If you haven’t yet read my article about lesser known wines and regions in Catalunya, I suggest reading that as a follow-up to this one, because the foods that we discuss here are paired with the different wines reviewed in that post.
But first, let’s talk about one of my favorite foods: cheese!
For as long as I can remember, cheese has been one of my favorite foods to enjoy.
Imagine my delight when I arrived in Andorra several years ago to find out that the country was full of French supermarkets that had some of the best French cheeses you can get your hands on for a price unheard of when cheese-shopping in New York City.
It’s truly remarkable!
Cheese and Embutidos: Spanish Cheeses?
Now that I’m living in Spain, I still shop at the French supermarkets because I can get my hands on some wonderful varieties of cheese. However, I am also on a different journey, exploring many wonderful Spanish cheeses I hadn’t previously tried, and I’d like to tell you about some of my favorites.
Cava and Raclette
After you pour yourself a sparkling glass of cava, my advice is to pair it with a more pungent cheese to balance out the lightness, and one I discovered here is Raclette. Raclette has a whole culture behind it that originates in Switzerland, and when you eat it there, it is normally a tabletop hot plate called a “raclonette”. Another version comes on heated rocks onto which you place a morsel of cheese until it melts, then scrape it off of onto the plate to pair with some bread, pickles, meats, or other garnishes. Camembert de Normandie also pairs really well, and it’s a cheese you cannot get in the US. But they truly revere it in France for a divine experience with a glass of cava, drizzled with a little honey or fig jam with fresh grapes or apple slices on the side. Heaven on earth!
Red Wines with Curado and Mató
If you’re more interested in deep reds such, like the Catalan Varietals that come from Montsant or the Priorat, then you definitely must try pairing it with a Spanish curado (cured) sheep’s milk cheese with truffles. This is a mouthwatering combination full of complex flavors, and sophisticated palates will genuinely appreciate this foodie experience.
Another one that you must try is Manchego, which comes from the La Mancha region and is also made from local sheep’s milk. Finally, I have discovered Mató cheese, which is a light fresh cheese that is often eaten as a dessert when dressed with honey, called “Miel i Mató” on the dessert menu.
We’ve got the wine down, and we know which cheeses can pair well, so now let’s chat about embutidos, or charcuterie.
Cheese and Embutidos: Jamón Ibérico
The most well-known of the Spanish embutidos is perhaps the “jamón Ibérico,” or Iberian ham.
It is of the highest quality of meats, as the boars’ diet comprises acorns and other quality nutrients, and it is often served with Manchego and “pan con tomate”, which is toasted bread with tomato, garlic, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Add your favorite glass of wine and you have a heavenly wine experience.
Some other noteworthy embutidos are chorizo (I prefer the spicy kind), fuet (a traditional Catalan dried sausage), and morcilla (blood sausage from Burgos).
I hope you’re feeling inspired to pour yourself a generous glass of wine and to thoughtfully pair it with a table of cheese and charcuterie. I’ll surely be dreaming about cheese tonight!
How about you? Are you into embutidos? What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?
by: Marjorie Vera