Buffalo chicken is a delicious and spicy dish that is perfect for any occasion. But have you ever wondered what cheese goes well with buffalo chicken? With so many types of cheese to choose from, it can be daunting to find the perfect one that complements this popular dish. In this article, we will explore the science of cheese pairing, the different types of cheese, and the best cheeses to pair with buffalo chicken.
The Science of Cheese Pairing: Explained
Cheese pairing is more than just a matter of personal preference; it’s all about finding the right balance of flavors. The flavor of cheese is attributed to factors such as its texture, aroma, and acidity. When pairing cheese with buffalo chicken, it’s important to consider the spiciness of the dish. A high-fat cheese can help to balance the heat of the chicken and provide a creamy and rich taste. Pairing cheese with complementary flavors can also enhance the overall taste experience.
Another important factor to consider when pairing cheese is the type of wine or beverage that will be served alongside it. Certain cheeses pair better with specific types of wine, such as a bold red wine with a sharp cheddar or a crisp white wine with a tangy goat cheese. Additionally, the temperature of the cheese can also affect the taste. Serving cheese at room temperature can bring out its full flavor and aroma. Overall, cheese pairing is a complex science that involves a careful consideration of various factors to create the perfect taste experience.
Buffalo Chicken: A Perfect Appetizer for Any Occasion
Buffalo chicken is one of the most popular appetizers in America, especially during sports events and gatherings. The dish is typically made with chicken wings and a spicy sauce made with hot sauce, butter, and vinegar. It’s important to note that the spiciness of the dish can vary depending on the amount of hot sauce used. Therefore, it’s important to choose a cheese with a flavor that can complement or balance the heat of the chicken.
Aside from being a crowd-pleaser, buffalo chicken is also a versatile dish that can be served in different ways. For example, it can be served as a main course with a side of vegetables or as a topping for a salad. It can also be made into a sandwich or wrap for a quick and easy meal.
While chicken wings are the most common cut of meat used for buffalo chicken, other cuts such as chicken tenders or even boneless chicken breasts can also be used. Additionally, the sauce can be adjusted to suit different tastes by adding more or less hot sauce or adjusting the ratio of butter and vinegar.
The Different Types of Cheese and Their Flavors
Cheeses come in different textures and flavors. Understanding the different types of cheese can help you choose the best one to pair with your buffalo chicken. Here are some of the most common types of cheese:
- Soft Cheese: has a mild and creamy flavor, with a texture that ranges from spreadable to crumbly. Examples include Brie, Camembert, and Ricotta.
- Firm Cheese: has a firm texture and a sharper flavor than soft cheese. Examples include Cheddar, Gouda, and Swiss.
- Hard Cheese: has a hard and crumbly texture, and a nutty and savory flavor. Examples include Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago.
- Blue Cheese: has a unique salty and tangy flavor, with a crumbly texture. Examples include Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton.
Aside from the common types of cheese, there are also some lesser-known varieties that are worth trying. One of these is goat cheese, which has a tangy and slightly sweet flavor, and a creamy texture. Another is feta cheese, which is a crumbly and salty cheese that is often used in Mediterranean dishes.
When it comes to pairing cheese with food, it’s important to consider the flavors and textures of both. For example, a soft and creamy cheese like Brie pairs well with sweet and fruity flavors, while a sharp and tangy cheese like Cheddar goes well with savory and spicy foods. Experimenting with different cheese and food combinations can lead to some delicious discoveries!
The Best Cheeses to Pair with Buffalo Chicken
When it comes to choosing the best cheese to pair with buffalo chicken, it’s important to consider the creaminess, saltiness, and acidity of the cheese.
- Blue Cheese: This cheese is a classic pairing for buffalo chicken. The salty and tangy flavor of blue cheese complements the spiciness of the chicken. Examples include Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton.
- Ranch Dressing: Although not technically a cheese, ranch dressing is a popular dip for buffalo chicken. Made with mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk, it has a creamy texture that helps to balance the heat of the chicken.
- Cheddar Cheese: The sharpness of cheddar cheese can provide a contrast to the spiciness of the chicken. The creamy texture of cheddar also adds a nice touch to the dish.
- Pepper Jack Cheese: With its spicy and creamy flavor, pepper jack cheese is a great option to pair with buffalo chicken. The heat of the cheese can complement the spiciness of the chicken.
- Blue Cheese Dressing: Similar to ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing has a creamy texture that can balance the heat of the chicken. The tangy and salty flavor of blue cheese also complements the spiciness of the dish.
Top 5 Cheeses to Try with Buffalo Chicken
Here are the top 5 cheeses to pair with buffalo chicken:
- Blue Cheese
- Ranch Dressing
- Cheddar Cheese
- Pepper Jack Cheese
- Blue Cheese Dressing
These cheeses are sure to make your buffalo chicken dish even more flavorful!
How to Create a Cheese Board for Your Buffalo Chicken Platter
If you’re hosting a party or a gathering, creating a cheese board is a great way to serve buffalo chicken with a variety of cheeses. Here’s how to create a cheese board:
- Pick a variety of cheeses, including soft, firm, and hard cheeses.
- Add some crackers, bread, or other snacks to accompany the cheese.
- Label each cheese with the type and origin.
- Arrange the cheese on a large platter.
- Add some garnishes, such as fresh herbs, fruits, or nuts, to make the cheese board more appealing.
A Guide to Wine and Beer Pairings with Buffalo Chicken and Cheese
Pairing wine or beer with buffalo chicken and cheese can enhance the taste experience. Here’s a guide to wine and beer pairings:
- Beer: A cold beer can complement the spiciness of buffalo chicken. Light beers such as lagers or pilsners are a good choice, as they don’t overpower the flavors of the dish. IPA (India Pale Ale) beer is also a good choice, as the hoppy bitterness can complement the spiciness of the chicken.
- Wine: If you prefer wine, a bold red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah can complement the spiciness of the chicken. A white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc can also be a good pairing, as they can balance the heat of the dish.
Vegan and Dairy-Free Cheese Options that Go Well with Buffalo Chicken
If you’re looking for vegan or dairy-free cheese options to pair with buffalo chicken, here are some alternatives:
- Cashew Cheese: Made from cashews, this dairy-free cheese has a creamy texture that complements the spiciness of buffalo chicken.
- Almond Cheese: Similar to cashew cheese, almond cheese is a great vegan option to pair with buffalo chicken.
- Coconut Milk Cheese: This dairy-free cheese is made from coconut milk and has a creamy texture that can balance the heat of the chicken.
Spicing It Up: Adding Extra Flavors to Your Buffalo Chicken and Cheese Pairing
If you want to add extra flavor to your buffalo chicken and cheese pairing, here are some ideas:
- Crumbled Bacon: Adding crumbled bacon to your buffalo chicken can add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
- Scallions: Chopped scallions can add a fresh and oniony flavor to your buffalo chicken.
- Jalapeños: Adding chopped jalapeños can make your buffalo chicken even spicier!
The Role of Texture in Cheese Pairing with Buffalo Chicken
When it comes to cheese pairing, texture can play an important role. Soft cheeses such as Brie or Camembert can provide a creamy and smooth texture that complements the spiciness of buffalo chicken. Harder cheeses such as Parmesan or Romano can provide a crumbly texture that adds a nice crunch to the dish.
Perfectly Balanced: Achieving the Right Ratio of Cheese to Chicken
When serving buffalo chicken with cheese, it’s important to achieve the right ratio of cheese to chicken. Too much cheese can overpower the flavor of the chicken, while too little cheese can make the dish dry. A good rule of thumb is to have about 1-2 ounces of cheese per serving of buffalo chicken.
DIY Recipes: Making Your Own Homemade Cheese for Your Buffalo Chicken Dish
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making your own homemade cheese for your buffalo chicken dish. Here’s a recipe for homemade blue cheese:
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Transfer to a container and chill for at least 1 hour before serving with your buffalo chicken.
Regional Favorites: The Best Local Cheeses to Pair with Buffalo Chicken in Different Parts of the World
Buffalo chicken is a popular dish all over the world, and each region has its own unique cheese pairing. Here are some regional favorites:
- France: Brie or Camembert are popular cheese choices to pair with buffalo chicken.
- Italy: Parmesan or Pecorino Romano are popular cheese choices to pair with buffalo chicken.
- Mexico: Queso fresco or cotija are popular cheese choices to pair with buffalo chicken.
- United States: Blue cheese or cheddar are popular cheese choices to pair with buffalo chicken.
Tips and Tricks for Storing and Serving Your Buffalo Chicken and Cheeses
When storing and serving your buffalo chicken and cheeses, here are some tips and tricks:
- Store: Store leftover buffalo chicken and cheese separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Serve: Serve buffalo chicken and cheese at room temperature for the best flavor.
- Reheat: To reheat buffalo chicken, place it in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. To reheat cheese, microwave for a few seconds to soften.
In conclusion, when it comes to pairing cheese with buffalo chicken, it’s important to find the right balance of flavors. Blue cheese, ranch dressing, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, and blue cheese dressing are some of the best cheeses to pair with buffalo chicken. Vegan and dairy-free cheese options such as cashew cheese, almond cheese, and coconut milk cheese are also great alternatives. When serving buffalo chicken with cheese, it’s important to achieve the right ratio of cheese to chicken. By following these tips and tricks, you can create a delicious and memorable buffalo chicken and cheese pairing that everyone will love!