Looking for something classy (and maybe with a bit of a lushful kick) to serve on New Years Eve? Some food and alcohol pairings can be tricky for those on a gluten-free diet (pizza and beer come to mind). The classic  duo of wine and cheese, however, can be easily done gluten-free with just a tiny bit of extra research.

There are exceptions, but all pure wines should be gluten-free. In addition, hard, aged cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan should be gluten-free; softer cheeses such as havarti or brie should be studied carefully, but if they are unprocessed, they are usually gluten-free. Many unprocessed blue cheeses, though, are unsafe for those on a gluten-free diet, so be careful with those. And cheese spreads often have additives or seasonings that contain gluten. But aside from some label checking, you should be able to emerge from any grocery store with a variety of gluten-free cheeses and wines…sans gluten.

winecheese

Throwing a wine and cheese party is a great way to ring in 2011 without worrying too much about gluten content. Serve cheese with gluten-free crackers (find these in the Grocery Guide) and fresh fruit such as grapes, apple slices, and strawberries. Everyone can bring a bottle of wine and then have fun mixing and matching wines with cheeses.

Here’s a few classic wine and cheese pairings to get you going:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon red wine with sharp Cheddar cheese
  2. Pinot Noir red wine with Edam cheese
  3. Zinfandel red wine with Muenster cheese
  4. Bordeaux red wine with sharp Cheddar cheese
  5. Merlot red wine with Brie cheese
  6. Gewurztraminer red wine with  Swiss cheese
  7. Chardonnay white wine with Provolone cheese
  8. Pinot Grigio white wine with Gruyere cheese
  9. Riesling white wine with Colby or Monterey Jack cheese
  10. Sauvignon Blanc white wine with Gruyere or goat cheese
  11. White Zinfandel blush wine with cream cheese
  12. Champagne with mild Cheddar or Gouda cheese

Label the cheeses that are laid out so people can know what they’re eating . Then, give guests notepads and pencils to record the pairings they like best. Also, be sure to have plenty of water available to clear the palate. Have fun trying new flavor pairings and discovering your favorites! Happy 2011!