It is said that the best cheeses are found outside the country, however, there are more and more local actors who seek to demolish this myth and position themselves strongly within this area.
“Ten years ago the cheese was designed to melt it in the marraqueta or to throw it on top of the pizza,” says Leonardo Severino, sommelier certified in level three of wines by the WSET school, when asked about how it was a couple of years ago the perception of Chileans about cheese in relation to current times. “The palate of Chileans in terms of cheese has grown a lot.”
This is confirmed by the data released by the experts, where it is stated that the consumption of cheeses per capita in Chile doubled between 2000 and 2017, going from 5 kg to 10 kg.
But what are the most important points to consider when trying cheese? In addition to making sure that it has the right temperature, according to Leonardo: “The ideal would be to take the cheese out of the refrigerator about 45 minutes before consuming it and after that eat it, since this way you can appreciate the true aromas and flavors that a good cheese can deliver.”
Cheese and wine: The perfect harmony
The Vinoteca today is a space that is full of experiences. They have managed to position themselves within the national gourmet market as a place that invites you to experience different flavors and that in turn has focused on giving a showcase to the importance of consuming products of Chilean origin.
The idea is to be able to have a 360 experience, where you can go to buy wine, then, that this is complemented with an artisanal sourdough bread and a variety of national and international cheeses accompanied by charcuterie and, if you want, even be able to sit down to eat in the restaurant that is in the same place.
Undoubtedly, the experience of tasting a good cheese is accompanied by a good wine. This is where Leonardo prefers to talk about the concept “harmonize flavors”, rather than use the common term “pairing”; “Pairing comes from the word mariage which means marriage and not always marriages get along after a while…
Instead, harmonizing is that you have the taste of food, on the one hand, that of alcohol on the other, and in the mouth we make this ideal bridge,” he says.
That is why it is essential to know how to harmonize the flavors of this exquisite product with those of wine according to its types, and also to be able to assemble a rich table to share.
The best known and consumed in Chile is cow’s cheese, being creamier, softer and less intense than goat or sheep cheese. Some of the best known cheeses made from cow’s milk are buttery, chanco, gauda, camembert, brie, mozzarella, among others.
Within La Vinoteca you can find some local brands that stand out for making this type of cheese. Among them the buttery cheese of Curacautín, made in an artisanal way in the Araucanía region; the Esperanza cheese that is made in Valdivia and the cow cheese of Maitenes de Ocoa, made in the Fifth region. These three stand out for having a good source of fat, that is, milk, which causes them to be more compact, creamy and have a good maturation.
If you are looking for a recommendation of wines to accompany them, it could be both a red wine such as the Lingal Garnacha de Perez Cruz Valle del Maipo that is fresh (between 8 and 10 degrees of temperature) or a Chardonnay like the Corralillo Chardonnay of Matetic del Valle de San Antonio that is cold (between 5 and 8 degrees).
Goat cheeses have become increasingly popular in our country. These are characterized by being more intense than those of cow and in turn have a whiter color. Pichasca goat cheese from Río Hurtado in Ovalle, is one of the national goat cheeses.
The particularity of this product is that it is not pasteurized, giving the cheese more intense aromas and flavors in relation to a pasteurized cheese. If you want an option of pasteurized goat cheese you can also find the goat cheese of Maitenes de Ocoa, which is also a great option.
The ideal is to try this type of cheese with a cold Sauvignon Blanc wine (as a suggestion between about 5 to 8 degrees of temperature) such as La Cantera Sauvignon Blanc from Casas del Bosque in the Casablanca Valley or the Koyle Costa Quartz from the Paredones Valley.
Sheep’s cheese is the least known of the three. It is more scarce and difficult to find. It is characterized by its intensity, aroma, flavor and for having an ivory color.
A Chilean brand isl Queso de Oveja Boladero, which is made in the region of Aysén, in the extreme south of the country. If you want another option, we suggest the imported queso Oveja Curado, where the word curado alludes to the fact that it has a greater maturation, therefore, it has a more intense flavor.
As for the types of wine that we recommend to accompany this type of cheese are two: Amayna Pinot Noir Garcés Silva from the Leyda Valley, at a suggested temperature of 10 degrees, or also the Bouchon Semillon Block Series wine from the Maipo Valley, at a suggested temperature of 8 degrees.
To achieve a cheese board that explodes in flavors and textures, do not forget to include at least one type of cow’s cheese, one goat and one sheep’s.
To complete the range of flavors, it would be a success to incorporate the cheese of Spanish origin called Ibérico 3 leches, which has the particularity of being composed of cow’, goat’s and sheep’s milk.
They can be accompanied by nuts, which also serve the function of providing color to the table.
Ideally, a third product should be charcuterie, Iberian Serrano ham will make the experience even better.
Finally, if you are looking to complement your board, a good idea would be to include a sourdough bread prepared in the same place, along with a good bottle of wine.