The Ultimate Guide To Cheese Pairings

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Wine lovers! Beer lovers! Cheese lovers! Cast your eyes upon this ultimate guide of handy charts for cheese pairings: matches made in delicious cheese heaven.

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1. Make a great cheeseboard

First you need to know how to make a great cheese board (matching cheese with cheese if you will). If you’re hosting, you need a great and simple cheese plate that’s guaranteed to press everyone’s buttons. To do this, make sure you include all these cheese categories: creamy, nutty, sharp, fresh, and funky. An example of a balanced cheeseboard like this may include: brie, gouda, cheddar, goat cheese, and blue cheese.

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If you’re unsure of a wine that will go nicely with your cheeseboard variety, a rich, full-bodied chardonnay is a safe bet and will pair well with most cheeses.

2. Pairing cheese with wine

Now, for those of you who want to get a little more technical, you may want to know which cheeses pair specifically well with which wines rather than just using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ chardonnay. For a more perfectly paired experience, take a look below.

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There are so many options for enjoying wine and cheese together. This can be brilliant for variety but also perhaps overwhelming for beginners. Want a few more specific suggestions to start you off? Here are some particularly popular pairings (including a few extra for your parmesan, ricotta, or mozarella dishes) to guide you.

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3. Pairing cheese and beer

Pssh. Pairing wine and cheese? So over-done. If you’re looking for something a bit different, treat yourself/your guests to a fantastic beer and cheese pairing experience. Just as delicious, and something many people may not have thought of trying!

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A few more matches to try: an IPA should also go nicely with blue cheese, a saison with chèvre, a bock with aged Swiss cheese, and a brown ale with mild cheddar or sheep’s milk cheese.

4. Which cheese with which biscuits?

Not happy unless your pairings are absolutely perfect? In your cheese and biscuit/cracker selection there are complimentary pairings you may not have realised work really well together. Try them out!

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These are all suggestions that the experts recommend for maximum enjoyment when enjoying cheese. Of course each idea is subjective and you may have your own perfect pairings you’ve stumbled across that you use every time. Care to share? Let us know in a comment below!

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Psst! Another tip for your cheeseboard: a slate board like the one above from Jamie Oliver will stop your cheese getting too warm, keeping it at the right temperature for delicious cheese all night long!

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The Beautiful Match: Pairing Beer With Fine Food

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Contrary to popular belief, wine is not the only beverage that can be paired fantastically with food. Beer fans, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get in on the action too!

During this year’s London Beer City, we were lucky enough to attend one event hosted by the Brewers’ Association at Club Gascon, demonstrating how to match craft beer with fine dining for a delicious result.

As a general rule: start light and progress to darker, richer beers. Begin with refreshing, crisp wheat beers and pale ales, progressing to lagers and brown ales of matched intensity to your dish, finishing with full-flavoured stouts or porters to balance the sweetness of dessert.

Not only were they paired perfectly with food in this meal, but the beers were also matched to their uniquely designed glassware from Spiegelau, for maximum enhancement of the taste, aroma and appearance. Delicious!

1ST COURSE

For the first course, starting light with fish and wheat ale: Bells Brewery Oarsman (4.0%) in the Wheat Beer Glass, paired with Gillardeau oysters, apple crush, seaweed tartare and black tea tuile.

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2ND COURSE

Second course was a silky duck flan, ginger and hay jus, served with two complimentary pale ales in the Spiegelau Pilsner Glass.

The first match was a crisp Deschutes Brewery, Mirror Pond Pale Ale (5%).

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Followed by a light Boulder Beer Hazed and Infused American Pale Ale (4.8%).

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3RD COURSE

A third course of capuccino of black pudding, lobster and asparagus was paired with two IPAs in the unique Spiegelau IPA glass.

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First pour was Founders Centennial (7.2%), below, and second pour was Lagunitas (6.2%).

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4TH COURSE

Fourth course was gorgeous wood pigeon, orange, barigoule and glazed kumquat. Here we see a transition before dessert to stronger tastes with darker beers.

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First pour was Stevens Point Amber Lager (4.7%) in the Spiegelau Lager Glass.

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Second pour was Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale (6.7%) in a Spiegelau Tulip Glass: a darker beer in preparation for the rich and full-flavoured dessert stouts and porters.

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5TH COURSE

For dessert: The Millionaire, coffee, pink praline and frosted Worcestershire ice cream. As you can guess, very chocolatey and rich to match the beers.

First pour was North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (9%) in a Spiegelau Stout Glass, below. Finishing with a Heretic Chocolate Hazelnut Porter (7%) in a Spiegelau Tulip Glass.

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Aaaand then lay down and nap in a delicious food coma.

This epic meal is only one example of craft beer and fine dining complimenting each other just as well as fine food and wine. Yet, similarly to wine, beer can be matched with all sorts of other food too, not just fine dining. Here’s a great little guide from the Brewer’s Association to matching all kinds of meals, meats, cheeses, and desserts with beer.

Got any of your own favourite combinations you think everyone should try? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook

Want your own specialised Spiegelau glassware to enhance your beer? Take a look here.

An IPA’s Best Friend: The IPA Glass

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If you’re an IPA fan you’ve probably seen this quirky glass in a lot of beer snaps from beer bloggers and enthusiasts. If you don’t own one as your own pride and joy, you need to get in on this action!

Why do beer fans love them so much? In short: they showcase all the qualities of a good beer in stark contrast to a normal pint glass. Like drinking a beer in HD, if you will.

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Not just the endeavour of glassmakers, Spiegelau, the IPA glass was designed in partnership with the founders of breweries Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. It was a labour of love: to make a glass that would enhance the IPA-drinking experience to epic heights. Hundreds of possible designs were considered in design and tasting workshops until a final line-up of eight custom-made prototypes were put to a secret vote. The brewers unanimously chose the glass you see here: ‘number 6.’

Of course a glass cannot fundamentally change a beer, but it can enhance the taste in comparison to other glasses. Did you ever notice your favourite IPA had a hint of pineapple to it? Those delicate qualities lovingly crafted by the brewer may be dominated by bitterness in a pint glass, yet suddenly come to life in an IPA glass. There is more balance and dimension to the drink. So how does an IPA glass manage this?

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A few features of the IPA glass:

  • A fine, laser-cut rim means the rim causes very little intrusion between your drink and your tongue. Thinner glass means more taste-bud impact.
  • The bulb shape acts like a chimney to collect and direct the aroma straight to your nose every time you sip.
  • The ribs create more surface area: increasing aeration, maintaining the foamy head, and renewing the aroma with every tip and sip.
  • Thin glass keeps the beer cooler and delicious for longer.

So you can see that it really hits all the senses when you drink.

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We’ve heard it compared to a high quality sound system, providing more detail to the experience: you can have the most beautiful song in the world playing, but if you’ve got bad speakers the song will not sound its best. Similarly, put your IPA in a bad glass and the quality of it will be lost: aromas will escape, delicate flavours will be overwhelmed and the drink will be less than its best.

In addition to taste, the brilliant clarity of glass is as expected from makers Spiegelau, meaning the beer looks better too: the colour of the beer is brighter and the bubbles are crystal clear. Like we said: drinking a beer in HD.

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Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? We have even witnessed non-beer-fans utter the words, “I don’t normally like beer, but I like that!” when trying a beer in a Spiegelau IPA glass for the first time.

Fundamentally, the IPA glass captures all the details of a beer and prolongs your enjoyment of them. If you’re a beer fan, this glass is definitely worth trying out. Try your own glass comparison test, and see the incredible contrast for yourself! Once you try it you’ll never go back.

You can find the IPA glass here.

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Rosé & Raspberry Jelly

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It’s jelly but not as you knew it! This is Rosé & Raspberry Jelly: wine jelly for adults. All you need is jelly cubes, wine and water.

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After having this (frankly magnificent) idea of Rosé & Raspberry Jelly, we went in search of pre-existing recipes and found some that are slightly more complicated than this (but still pretty simple). We decided to take the easiest route possible for this wine jelly, but it still ended up great (just the way we like it): bursting with mouth-watering flavours of red fruits and with a little kick to remind you that this ain’t no child’s dessert.

This ain’t no child’s dessert.

For this recipe, we simply followed the instructions on the packaging but swapped the ½ pint of cold water for wine. It takes only a few minutes to make but will take 5/6 hours to set.

All you need is raspberry jelly cubes (we used Hartley’s), rosé wine, and water.

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Rosé & Raspberry Jelly 

1) Separate the jelly cubes and place in a bowl.

2) Add ½ pint of boiling water to the cubes and stir until dissolved.

3) Add ½ pint of your chosen wine and stir. Pour into your mould or serving dish/es.

4) Allow to cool, then refrigerate to set.

SAM_2575 copy2And that’s it!

There are a variety of differently flavoured jelly cubes and wine combinations to experiment with that we think could work. For this recipe you could easily use strawberry jelly cubes instead of raspberry if you prefer. We’ll definitely be experimenting with this in future as it’s so simple to do but makes a refreshing, tasty wine treat. Cheers! :)

Our little jelly experiment is presented in our Spiegelau Authentis Casual Tumblers.

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15 Cake Pop Character Ideas

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Here are some fun ideas for making your cake pops into lovable characters! Would you be able to bring yourself to eat them though..? Probably, yes.

1. Despicable Me minions

Of course there are minion cake pops. There’s minion everything.

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2. Winnie The Pooh

Classic Pooh and P-p-piglet characters.

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3. Sesame Street

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4. Wall.E robots

Also with plant.

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5. Pac Man

Waka waka waka waka waka.

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6. Angry Birds

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7. Doctor Who

Yes, the TARDIS counts as a character.

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8. Stitch

The troublesome Disney alien from Lilo & Stitch.

9. Mr Potato Head

Now filled with cake instead of potato.

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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11. The Simpsons

With added three-eyed fish and doughnut cake pops!

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12. Pokemon

Who would you choose?

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13. Hello Kitty

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14. The Muppets

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15. Mario Kart

Perhaps more of a cake ‘bang’ than a cake ‘pop’.

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Picked one you want to try? Have a browse through our Cake Pop range for accessories to help you!

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Strawberry, Peach, Blackberry, & Orange Daiquiris

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Wonderfully fruity drinks that are so easy to make at home for a weekend treat. Fresh, sweet and slightly indulgent but we’re convinced they definitely count towards your five a day!

SAM_2334 copy blurA daiquiri is typically made up of rum, citrus and sugar. Fruity versions use fresh, crushed fruit, with the citrus and sugar combining for a sweet and sour taste, resulting in a sherbet-y taste that is yummy and refreshing.

SAM_23242 copy blurThe basics for these daiquiris are white rum, lime juice, sugar and fruit or fruit juice. You can also add extra liqueur for added alcoholic oomph. You may also want to add crushed ice to make an extra summery, refreshing beverage.

SAM_22762You’ll also need a cocktail shaker and a clean rolling pin. For some fruits that aren’t so easily squishable, you may want to use a blender.

SAM_22492FRUIT DAIQUIRI RECIPES

STRAWBERRY

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  • 4 fresh strawberries
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 tbsp strawberry liqueur
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Put the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and mash with the end of a rolling pin. Put the lid on and shake well. Strain the mixture into your martini glass.

PEACH

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  • 1 peeled & sliced peach
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Whizz the peach in a blender until smooth. Add all the ingredients including the peach into a cocktail shaker and put on the lid. Shake well and strain into your martini glass.

BLACKBERRY

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  • 6-8 blackberries
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Crush the ingredients together in the base of a cocktail shaker with a rolling pin. Place the lid on the shaker and shake well. Strain twice before serving.

ORANGE

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  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Add all the ingredients to your cocktail shaker, put the lid on and shake well. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved and serve.

Et voila!

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Why not try other fruits like cherry, passion fruit, mango, or raspberry versions. Try it with your any of your favourite fruits! Fruit daiquiris totally count as one of your five a day, right?

SAM_2311 dark5The gorgeous glasses used in these photos are our Willsberger Anniversary Martini Glasses. You can find them here, along with other beautiful glassware on our website www.smedson.com.

 

 

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream Bread

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Thanks to good friends Ben and Jerry for this AH-MAZING and dangerously easy ice-cream bread. Using Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream as one of the two ingredients in this recipe, makes a chocolate and creamy vanilla bread with surprises of melted fudge brownie and soft cookie dough throughout. Wow, just wow. 

Ice cream bread is a great idea for a treat as it uses only two ingredients: ice cream and flour. As we like to do things to maximum amazing-ness, we chose Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream for this recipe: chocolate & vanilla ice cream with fudge brownie pieces and chocolate chip cookie dough.

This bread is super addictive. It tastes great by itself and also with a scoop of (even more) ice-cream. Either way it’s a simple, awesome creation you’ll be promising to make again before you’ve even finished devouring it.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tub of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream
  • 200g self-raising flour (alternatively: 200g plain flour, sifted, with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda)

Whip it up:

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Leave the ice cream at room temperature for 30 minutes until soft but not completely melted. For a speedier process, cut the ice cream out of its tub while it is still frozen and place it in a bowl. Use a knife to cut the ice cream into smaller pieces to speed up the process.

Once softened, gradually add the flour, stirring until blended each time.

Pour and spread the mixture into a non-stick loaf pan.* (Alternatively, use a loaf pan lined with baking paper.)

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean from the centre when the bread is done.

Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Et voila! Try it on its own for a yummy snack or serve up with ice cream. You could also try a truly authentic ice cream sandwich, with ice cream bread and ice cream filling!

There is always room for your own interpretation by switching the Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked for your own favourite ice creams. If you try it let us know by sending us a pic on our Facebook or Twitter! :)

Featured in this article:

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5 Alternative Ways To Use A Martini Glass

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It’s World Martini Day! In its honour we have rounded up our favourite ideas of alternative things you should definitely try putting in your Martini glasses.

1. Candles

Candles in Martini glasses look very cool and can be a great decoration piece. Floating candles in a Martini glass are striking, or nestle a candle in the bowl with pearls or beads.

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Or you can flip them over and have the candles sit on the bases, with a decoration under the bowl!

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2. Sweets

Make treats look even more inviting: add a bunch of colourful sweets to your Martini glasses. They make fantastic-looking serving dishes.

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3. Flowers

A nice idea for special occasions, such as weddings or dinner parties. Martini glasses + flowers make a striking centerpiece.

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Why not go crazy and use flowers AND candles! How pretty?

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4. Pearls

Classy, elegant, simple. Add pearls or beads to your Martini glasses for pretty decorations for your home or special events.

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5. Generally cool stuff

Really, a Martini glass decoration will make most things look ten times more classy. Great for themed parties, special occasions and holidays.

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Even tiny little hedgehogs!

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Oh hai!

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15 Amazing Beer Desserts

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Often finding yourself with a beer in your hand? Take it one step more epic and have a beer in one hand and a beer dessert in the other, with these amazing beer desserts.

1. Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Sandwiches

2. Peaches & Cream Ale Pie

3. Amber Ale Doughnuts

4. IPA Lemon Bars

5. Chocolate Stout Waffles

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6. Corona Beer Popsicles

7.  Lager Cupcakes 

8. Chocolate Stout Cheesecake Fudgesicle

9. Lemon Cream Pie With Raspberry IPA Sauce

10. Guinness & Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

11. Porter Float

12. Belgian White Beer Cookies

13. Crème Brulee Topped Chocolate Stout Brownies

14. Lemon Shandy (Wheat Beer) Cupcakes

15. Chocolate Stout Cherry Pie

Shout out to The Beeroness, whose recipes feature in this article. Check out her website for lots of fantastic beer dessert recipes!

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Top 10 Ideas For Weird & Wonderful Ice Cubes

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We’ve stumbled across some weird and wonderful ice cube ideas that are sure to jazz up your summer. From alcoholic cubes to ones that glow in your drink, here are some of our fave ideas.

1. Make rainbow ice cubes!

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2. Put fruit in your ice cubes…

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3. …Or flowers.

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4. Layer them up with different drinks for a stripy effect.

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5. Make them into cool shapes.

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6. Use the LED variety.

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7. Use frozen grapes to cool your wine without watering it down…

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8. …Or freeze up some wine cubes! You can also use them for cooking.

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9. Any of your favourite drinks can make a great flavoured cube, even coffee.

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10. Great idea for summer, however, definitely not for drinks.

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