Cheeses, in all their many varieties, are one of the most anticipated delicacies on the table.
Although they are rarely the protagonists of lunches and dinners, they are an unmissable accompaniment and often end the meal, certainly not for reasons of satiety but of true gluttony!
So, to dress up the plateau in style, cheeses are often accompanied by mustard.
But which cheeses are best suited to this combination?
And how to choose the most suitable mustard?
Playing with contrasts and assonances
As in any other pairing, the one between cheeses and mustards is made through contrasts or assonances. In other words, as a general rule, we can choose to match two flavours that go together by similarity, or conversely match them by contrast.
This serves to give the necessary tasting space to both, enhancing (albeit in opposite ways) the characteristics of each food.
In the case of cheeses and mustards, this suggestion needs to be adapted a little, as mustard, whatever type it is, has very specific taste characteristics. Indeed, it is a very sugary, spicy and strong accompanying food. There are, therefore, no mustards that can truly be described as ‘delicate’, although each has its own specific characteristics.
On the contrary, the range of possibilities with cheeses is almost infinite, and this is why the most delicate cheeses are the least suitable. Their flavour, in fact, risks being completely covered up.
The best combinations (and the ‘forbidden’ ones)
Therefore, fresh cheeses with a very delicate flavour are forbidden.
To support the mustard’s company, the cheese should have persistent taste characteristics, and for this it is preferable that it be well matured.
A good example of this is granulated mature cheeses like Grana Padano PDO and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, which are excellent with a pear mustard, for example, but mature pecorino and long-ripened tome cheeses also fit perfectly.
To pick up on the spicy notes of the mustard, another excellent combination is with cheeses that pick up on those very same notes, like provolone, for example.
For their strong and persistent flavour, blue cheeses also lend themselves to this combination: try orange mustard with Gorgonzola DOP, a real hit at the table.