A Close Up
WORDS BY DIMITRIS KOUMANIS, WINE WRITER
THE COMBINATION OF GREEK CHEESES with wines from Greek grape varieties is often a riddle. In Greece, we consume cheese as a starter or a side-dish. A Sunday walk at a tavern will persuade everyone that, in Greece, cheese is equal to “meze”, and although the majority would say that cheese is better with red wine, the number shows that almost 75% of wine consumption refers to white wine. Contrary to stereotypes, most white wines seem to love cheese. Besides, most Greek white wine varieties are really complicated and sophisticated in flavor, and practically more interesting than the reds. Even the most demanding flavors, such as Feta, are smoothly tamed by an Achaean Sideritis as its acidity highlights the fatty elements in dairy; overall, remember that the locality of a wine drastically defines both its taste and the flavors with which it works well. The Greeks have a saying: “As for your craving, eat pumpkin-pie”, that translates to: “What you like is totally up to you”.
Charles de Gaulle once said “How can you govern a country with 258 cheese varieties?”, which properly reveals France’s great cheese-making history; Greece is not far behind, especially if we consider its small size and its varying geo-natural terrain. The 21 Greek cheeses and cheese products that have been officially recognized by the European Union as products with Protected Designation of Origin, depict our country’s strong production, long-time tradition and real love for cheese.
WORDS BY ALEXANDROS KOURIS
NONETHELESS, REAL CONNOISSEURS already know that cheese is really good with beer; sometimes even better than with wine, as, for example, red wine’s tannins can cover up the sub-flavors of cheese, and bring out a more aggressive result in terms of aftertaste. France seems to adopt this approach, and that is why the French mostly prefer to pair their cheeses with white wines. The same happens with beer; sour and, ever more, double fermentation beers-like Nisos Apokalispi– practically “penetrate” cheese fat and make its taste lighter, clearing your palette and helping it to accept the sub-flavors of cheese. A kind of harmony through antitheses in your mouth; for those who know, cheese and beer can be the new gastronomic #couplegoals.