What is a good drink for cheese?

Bord med ost og drikke
Tommy Andresen

What to drink with cheese?

Earlier it was cheese and red wine that mattered. Today, more and more people prefer white wine, beer, or maybe a sider? Most things go well, but here is inspiration for those of you who are looking for some extra good combinations. The tips for what to drink with cheese are given by Anne Enggrav, specialist in drinks with food, at Vinmonopolet.

Finding drinks for the cheese board

The reason why it can be difficult to set drinks for a cheese board is the many flavor combinations that must be matched. Each type of cheese requires its own in terms of firmness and fat content. In addition, there is often a sweet side dish that sets its own requirements for freshness and fullness. To find one type of drink that goes with everything is therefore a challenging task, says Anne Enggrav.

-In the past, it was cheese and red wine that mattered?

- Yes, for many years it was a popular choice. How the relationship came about, shall remain unsaid. Something can perhaps be explained by the seasons here in the north. A cool white wine is best suited to warm and bright summer months. When the scale creeps downwards, it is more tempting to have something warmer in the glass. For a red wine at room temperature, the cheese plate has been a simple and popular accompaniment.

In the past, red wine also had a higher status as a quality wine. The white wine's position was more like a light terrace wine, she says. - This may also have had an impact on the choice for those who really wanted to enjoy something extra.

Red wine for the chosen ones

-Why is red wine with cheese often a bad choice?

- The explanation lies in the tanning substance/tannins. Red wines are rich in tannins, which do not match well with the fat in the cheeses. Flavorful and salty cheeses can quickly make the red wine stale and flimsy. If you add a light red wine to blue cheese, it can give an almost metallic mouthfeel.

If you're thinking of firm cheeses for full-bodied red wines, it still doesn't have to be a problem as long as you choose a red wine that has little to moderate tannin. Today, wine and red wine are generally better than in the past. The producers are good at bringing out the juicy fruitiness and fine mouthfeel in the wine. These are also good properties for cheese.

Tannin-rich wines that give a dry feeling in the mouth, so-called wines with astringency, are best suited to firm and grainy cheeses such as Parmesan. The soft and semi-soft cheeses, which sit like a film in the mouth, on the other hand, give a stickiness that works well against acid. At the same time, it makes the tannin come out extra well in the mouth.

Alternative choices

- Why does white wine generally go better with cheese than red wine?

- The reason is that cheese contains a lot of fat, which requires a good amount of acid from the wine, she explains. - White wine generally contains more acid than red wine. You will also find many of the same aromas in white wine as in cheese. White wine also has a sweetness that provides a nice contrast to salty cheeses.

New trend

- We see that our customers are increasingly sophisticated and open to new choices. It is no longer just cheese and wine that apply. In recent years, the range of apple ciders has developed enormously and become an exciting alternative to cheese. The same applies to the range of beers. But here, too, it is important to keep in mind what type of cheese it will be served with. It is wise to find flavors that do not overpower each other but rather play well with each other.

Moderately bitter beer, orange wine, flor wine and sherry can also be good choices for a cheese table.

Pairing Norwegian cheeses with Norwegian drinks such as sides and beer is a fun choice that invites exciting taste experiences.

General tips for choosing a drink for cheese:

General information about hard and semi-hard cheeses: The cheeses are made from different types of milk and have different storage levels. This is a cheese group that needs both fat and fullness.

  • Wine tip: White wine, chardonnay (Jura, Bourgogne) or Chenin blanc from the Loire or South Africa.-
  • Page tips: Fruity style, like Norwegian sides or British.
  • Beer tip: Blonde or Geuze.


Examples of Norwegian hard and semi-hard cheeses:

Fana cheese (Ostegården), Kvit Underdal (Underdal Stølsysteri), Norwegian Edamer (TINE), Jarlsberg (Tine), St. Pål (Rueslåtten Ysteri), Bufar (Valdresmeiriet), Norwegian Emmenthaler (Synnøve Finden), Norwegian Alpine cheese (TINE). Kvitlin (TINE), Norvegia (TINE), Aalander (Aaland Gård), Gammel-Erik (Elvekanten Ysteri), Røros cheese (Galåvolden Gård). Myrdal White Goat cheese (Myrdal Gård Ysteri), Leirgrøv (Prestholt), Fagerdalen (Fagerdalen Støl), Sæterost (Brimisæter)


Generally: The cheeses are made from different types of milk and come in all varieties from mild to strong and from soft to firm. Some of the cheeses are also rich in the taste of umami, the fifth basic taste, which moderates the fruitiness of the wine. 

  • Wine tip: Tawny port 10 or 20 years Vin santo or other passito. Aged riesling with 50-100 g of sweetness. And Sauternes from Bordeaux is the classic.
  • Page tip: Pages with development and sweetness. French. Or sweet dessert sides.-
  • Beer tip: Something with sweetness and development/aging, like a brown ale or Belgian/French Flemish brown/red with sweetness.

Examples of Norwegian blue mold cheeses:

Kraftkar (Tingvoll), Fønix (Stavanger Ysteri), Råblå (Grindal dairy), Selbu Blå (TINE), Nidelven Blå (Gangstad) Eggen Fjellblå (Eggen Gardsysteri), Hitra Blå (Hitra Gårdsmat); Normanna (TINE), Golvertind (Strandli Gård), Blåtind (Aalan Gård)

White mold cheese:

Generally: The cheeses are made from different types of milk and have a creamy texture. They can be mild and simple or mature and complex. During ripening, the cheeses acquire an increasing characteristic of ammonia.

  • Wine tip: White: Riesling or Grüner veltliner. Red: Beaujolais or a Pinot Noir. 
  • Page tip: Sides from Normandy with some sweetness.
  • Beer tip: Wheat beer, saison or kriek.

Examples of Norwegian white mold cheeses: BæråsCammen (Strandli Gård), Brilliant Brie (Thorbjørnrud) and Gangstad Camembert, Brie (Ostegården), Fryd (Dovre Ysteri), Kvit Kjerringøy (Kjerringøy Ysteri), Camembert (DerinnGarden), Jærsk Kvitskimmel (Ystepikene), Rosalita (Tjamsland Gård Ysteri) ,


Generally: Fresh, soft cheese layered on goat's milk. Often has a mild, sour taste and a crumbly texture.

  • Wine tip: White wine: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Page tip:  Fruity pages, such as Norwegian or Spanish pages.-
  • Beer tip: Wheat beer.

Examples of Norwegian white goat cheeses: Cube cheese (Rueslåtten), Lille Aske (Bo Ysteri), Summer snow (Lofoten Gårdsysteri), Myrull (Grindal Ysteri), Norwegian Chevre from Haukli (TINE),

Generally: The cheese type is also called kit cheese and has a consistency from semi-firm to soft. The color of the surface varies from around yellow to orange. Flavor intensity varies with degree of ripeness.

  • Wine tip: Developed Pinot Noir (red), or Pinot Gris (White)
  • Page tips: Sides with good body and taste, preferably a little sweetness. French or British. 
  • Beer tip: Pale Ale or traditional IPA.

Examples of Norwegian red whale cheeses: Raudberg (Himmelspannet), Konrad (Stavanger Ysteri), Jærost (Voll Ysteri), Granstubben (Gangstad) Munkeby (Munkeby Mariakloster), Staut (Stavanger Ysteri), Rød Kjerringøy (Kjerringøy ysteri), Høvding Sverre (Orkladal Ysteri), Eiker Holtefjell ( Eiker Gårdsysteri),


A little advice at the end: It is said that what grows together, goes together, but it does not always provide the best choice. Your own taste is the most important thing. You should like the combination, but listen to experienced cheese and wine people and give new combinations a chance. It will open up many good cheese and wine (drinking) experiences, assures Enggrav.