Some things just call out to be paired with each other: Peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, milk and cookies — but have you ever thought about mixing it up and serving … cookies and cheese? Yes, you read that right. Cookie and cheese pairings are all the rage these days. Sound strange? Read on before you judge!
Wine pairings have been around since the Greeks and Romans, and drinking red wine with a grilled steak, or white wine with a fillet of salmon or halibut, is a pretty well-known practice for any foodie these days. Wine and cheese is a popular food pairing because the acidity of the wine brings out the creaminess of the cheese. Or, in other cases, the smoothness of the wine helps to temper the cheese’s sharp flavor. It’s all about balance. Similarly, milk and cookies go well together because the richness of the milk mellows out the sweetness of the cookie.
Why do we pair foods?
Food pairing is a science. Literally! The practice takes into account elements like flavor, texture, and aroma and combines these to add dimension and depth to a recipe idea or dish. Think about some common food pairings that we do automatically: fries and ketchup, pizza and beer, bacon and scrambled eggs. I could go on, but you get the point. So what is the reasoning behind food pairings? Why do some foods taste so much better when they are paired with other ones?
It all has to do with aroma, or smell. When elements share key aromas, they taste better. This is because 80 percent of flavor is actually aroma. Sensory receptors responsible for taste and smell come together in the process of eating. Taste and odor work together, resulting in flavor. Have you ever had a head cold and not been able to really taste anything? This is why.
The Best Cookie and Cheese Pairings
Why this specific food pairing? Well, think about milk and cookies. The cookie and cheese food pairing is based on the same idea. Cheese comes from milk, and has a similar creaminess. When it comes to which cheeses to pair with different cookies, the rule is to create combinations of similar types. (Remember what I said about similar aromas? Same thing here.) The priorities here are balance and enhancement.
Try a few of these popular cookie and cheese combos yourself, and see what you think:
- Thin Mints and Feta
- Gingersnaps and Brie
- Oatmeal cookies and sharp cheddar
- Chocolate chip cookies and Gouda
We’ve embraced a lot of new things over the last two years, so why not add cookies and cheese to the list? And if you want to pair some cheese with those Girl Scout cookies you just ordered, there’s even a guide out there to suggest the best combinations. If you’re brave enough to try it, you might be glad you did!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.