What Cheeses Pair Well with Mushrooms?
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When thinking about cheese dishes, fondue, and nachos come to mind, along with a pepperoni pizza. As for Mushrooms, there has been much talk about the funny kind of cuisine-level fungi like Cremini, Portobello, and the famed shiitake.
In combination, mushrooms and cheese have traveled through foods like pizza, omelets, calzones, burritos, and sandwiches, to name a few options.
For this article’s purposes, we will speak about a few classic combinations that have not disappointed food enthusiasts over the years. These will be:
- Mozzarella and shitake – Possibly the best Pizza combination of these two
- Parmesan and Portobello – fantastic in pasta dishes
- Goat Cheese and Cremini— best in sandwiches and complex anti-pasta dishes
- Cream Cheese and Button mushrooms – Bagel sandwiches or morning foods combo
What are the Most Popular Choices?
In the list above are mentioned the more well-known mushrooms and a few solid choices to pair them with.
The truth is that the most popular cheese in the United States will be cheddar, but close behind and possibly more popular worldwide would be Mozzarella cheese.
The more popular choice assortment of mushrooms starts with the Cremini, Portobello, and White button mushrooms, with an honorable mention of shiitake, as was stated above.
However, the strong flavor pallet of cheddar can overwhelm the natural, earthy taste of the mushrooms, depending on the skill level of the chef preparing them.
Should You Use More Cheese Varieties?
This will depend on the intended complexity of the meal. For heavier dishes, some chefs might go ahead and add an additional cheese or two for flavor.
As far as lighter dishes are concerned, a light sprinkle of feta, mozzarella, or parmesan will be enough to provide the flavor pallet desired for a salad or pasta dish.
Consider a sandwich from Greece, the Gyro, which requires a specialized cooking process for the meat and requires feta cheese to create the appropriate flavor pallet.
On the other hand, a light white button mushroom might be a perfect filler for those looking to add fungi to their diet.
How to Pair Cheese with Mushrooms?
This might sound kind of strange, but pairing a mushroom with cheese is similar to what wine enthusiasts do when matching their favorite vintages with food that match.
Each mushroom type will have certain natural aspects to its texture and flavor, which then becomes all the more important when considering what stronger flavored cheeses might help bring each flavor to the surface.
This all being said, like wine, there are going to be cheese or delicatessen experts that will provide information on what flavors might mesh with the dishes being prepared.
Some will even have charts available to help chefs find appropriate pairings between the cheese and mushrooms.
Are there Any Cheese varieties you Shouldn’t Pair with Mushrooms?
When it comes to cheese and mushrooms, there is going to be more of a challenge to find a pairing that does not go well together than vice versa.
Although most cuisines and recipes will be safe to add to complement the other, be sure to use milder flavors when using delicate ingredients such as the Portobello mushroom.
Be wary of using sharp cheddars, or other stronger flavored cheese, though even blue cheese and the sharper cheddars will do well on a salad with a few mushroom slices.
The key to avoiding these mistakes will be to experiment and find them out yourself or to follow recipes and publicly share chefs’ knowledge on the topic.
Are there any Mushrooms that don’t Pair with Cheese?
Apart from the popular mushrooms, which all have nice mild flavors that match just about any kind of cheese, there are going to be a few less well-known mushrooms that require a more experienced chef to handle.
So here are a few to think about when pairing with the cheeses:
- Porcini mushrooms – Used frequently in French and Italian cuisine, these fungi are hearty plants and an ingredient that can replace most meats.
These varieties of mushrooms have a woodsy, earthy flavor pallet which comes with an extremely mushroomy taste.
- Morels – These are luxury items that are sought after for their rich nutty flavor and unique sponge-like texture. Does well with buttery flavors or can be enjoyed as a solo snack.
- Truffles – Best known for being the chocolates in a box, in this case, we are speaking about the mushroom, which has a delicate taste and is best used uncooked and as part of the seasonings for dishes.
Final Thoughts on What Cheeses Pair Well with Mushrooms
Cheeses are in themselves an interesting ingredient that has the ability to act as a topping or glue for an omelet or quesadilla. Mushrooms are those earthy-flavored morsels that can add different natural tones to a dish or be a different kind of snack to be enjoyed solo.