How to Celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day

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Indeed, it is a very special day. Since 2014, the United States has been celebrating National Wine and Cheese Day on July 25.

Does the country actually care about National Wine and Cheese Day? Not really. Is it the perfect excuse to blow money on creamy imported cheeses, drink a lot of wine, and make a gorgeous planche of fromage and charcuterie for dinner? Absolutely.

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To help you celebrate this very special day, we’ve compiled a variety of information on wine and cheese, from which wine bars to try in New York to how to host the perfect apéro to why is wine so cheap in France.

Where to get a great glass of wine

 

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We only wish we could try wine in all the cities around the world. In New York, you can toast to the day (and cool down in the heat) with a glass of rosé at any of these eight hotspots. To sip on something other than rosé, we have another list of favorite wine bars in New York. Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels will serve up sexy vibes, while Vanguard is a good place to meet up with Francophile friends.

Alternatively, if you prefer to stay in with a good glass of wine, we’d recommend these 11 French Trader Joe’s wines under $9 per bottle, which we tested and reviewed.

We have wine bars in Montreal that we love, some with laidback vibes and others with pricey small plates to be shared with your date. We defer to rapper and foodie Action Bronson for where to get the best wines in Paris.

To impress your guests, buy one of this summer’s trendy wines.

Resources for becoming a wine expert

 

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Nobody wants to look like an idiot while picking out or drinking wine. Learn the basics first, from reading labels to why everyone talks about terroir.

Champagne is a bit of a different breed. There’s a lot to be learned about its creation, uniqueness and specific terminology, but what you’ll definitely want to pay attention to is the practical information, like how to serve and store it. The quality of American Champagne tends to not be as good as French Champagne, as evidenced by how French people react when they try American Champagne.

As for rosé, we’re sorry to tell you that the trend peaked and your visit to the interactive rosé exhibit is actually far from cool (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a glass or two!).

Your biggest wine questions answered

Why is wine so cheap in France and so expensive in the U.S.? It’s all about the middlemen.

Do the French drink too much wine? The government thinks so.

Is expensive Champagne really worth the price? That depends.

Where to get delicious cheese

 

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In San Francisco, we recommend these five cheese hubs for purchasing that creamy good stuff. In New York, these are our favorite places to frequent for French cheese (yes, Murray’s Cheese is on the list).

Going out for cheese is of course a must, especially when it’s served with meats. From affordable to extravagant, these are our eight picks for where to get an amazing cheese and charcuterie planche in New York.

Resources for becoming a cheese expert

First thing to know is that authentic French cheeses — not the kind you buy in plastic wrap — have very different flavors as these Americans trying real French cheese experienced firsthand. A cheese shop is the place to get authentic French cheeses, which you will need to start on your journey to becoming a fromage genius.

The good news is you don’t really need to be a cheese expert to buy cheese. You can buy small amounts of a variety of cheeses and enjoy sampling them, learning about taste, texture and what goes well with what as you go. There are some particularly stinky cheeses that, if you still want your significant other to kiss you, may be worth avoiding.

If you are interested in really learning about French cheeses, from how they’re made to why some cheeses have a rind or what are the traditional cheesemaking methods, pick up the book “Fromages.” It’s not only a deep-dive into everything cheese, it also contains an encyclopedia of French cheese so you can learn how to best pair and store them.

How to serve wine and cheese

 

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French chef Alex Gabriel of French Guy Cooking lays out how exactly to make the perfect cheeseboard in a drool-inducing video. WineFolly has a nice illustrated guide about how to pair wine and cheese. If you don’t want to figure out how to make your own board, follow the advice of Instagram account @CheeseByNumbers which details how to make a cheese plate, from which cheeses to include to where they should be place for maximum #aesthetics (you can also go on the website).

Of course, wine doesn’t have to be served with cheese. You could opt for something sweet like macarons, which are delicious with wine as long as you pair the two properly.

The best way to enjoy wine and cheese is with friends. The time of day when French get together into the evening for a few drinks and some light bites casually is called apéro. There are some very basic guidelines for how to host an apéro, but food writer Rebekah Peppler has some specific advice for how to host an apéritif, what kind of food to have, and where to buy ingredients and set up your apéro.

What to listen to while you imbibe and eat

You can’t go wrong with a playlist of summer French classics.

Where to enjoy wine-related travel

 

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Did you know you can tour the vineyards in France’s most famous winemaking region, Champagne? Maisons from Ruinart to Veuve Cliquot offer visits and tastings. (The history of Champagne is deceptively interesting.)

Not all of France’s wine is made in Champagne though. The 11th-century Cistercian abbey L’Abbaye de Fontfroide has been producing wine for over 100 years in Occitanie. Tour the site, visit the restaurant, and stroll through the vineyards of this historic spot.

Featured image: Stock Photos from Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock