If you’re not from the Midwest, please allow us to explain: Cheese curds are amazing.
What are cheese curds exactly? They’re little nuggets of goodness made from only the curds (or milk solids) of the cheese – usually cheddar. They’re fresh, they’re creamy, and they squeak when you bite into them. It’s a pretty magical experience.
Cheese curds are super popular in Wisconsin, as well as some other cold-weather dairy-loving places, like Canada and upstate New York. But don’t worry if you don’t live in one of those places because you can totally make cheese curds at home.
Here’s some more good news: Cheese curds taste great along with a glass of wine. Pairing wine and cheese curds follows a lot of the same principles as pairing wine with regular cheese. Check out this pairing guide to help you pick the right bottle to complement your curds.
Fresh Cheese Curds
Classic cheese curds pair pretty perfectly with Chardonnay. Crisp notes of green apple, a bright kick of citrus, and just a touch of sweetness make Chardonnay a wonderful contrast to creamy, salty cheese curds. There’s a good balance of sweet and salty flavors, plus the acidity of the wine cuts through the creaminess of the cheese.
Fried Cheese Curds
Not sure if cheese curds are for you? (They are). For the uninitiated, deep fried cheese curds are an excellent introduction because, simply put, fried things taste better. Fried cheese curds pair well with a sparkling wine like Prosecco or an off-dry Riesling. Bubbles generally make a great pairing for fried delights, and the sweetness in Riesling will offset the saltiness of these deep-fried treats.
Popular in Canada, poutine is an incredible combination of cheese curds, french fries, and brown gravy. All we’ll say is: Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Rich poutine pairs well with a light, low-tannin red wine like Pinot Noir. With fruity notes of dried cherry and a splash of acidity, Pinot Noir and poutine go together like flannel and denim.
Pairings with Dipping Sauces
While cheese curds are typically made from cheddar, they can sometimes be made from milder white cheeses. If the dipping sauce is the most prominent flavor, use the type of sauce to help you choose the right wine.
Tangy ranch is a classic dipping sauce for cheese curds. You can stick with Chardonnay or go for a lighter white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.
Spicier dips like chipotle ranch or sriracha mayo pair well with a light, fruity red like Pinot Noir.
Rich, creamy Russian dressing pairs well with a medium-bodied white wine like Chardonnay, Semillon, or Marsanne.
Fried cheese curds, just like mozzarella sticks, go beautifully with marinara sauce. This flavorful tomato-based sauce pairs well with a red wine like Chianti or Nebbiolo.