The Best Cheese To Enjoy With An Aperol Spritz, According To An Expert

When creating delicious food and wine pairings, there are generally two different paths you can take — pair like with like or pair flavors that seem different but actually complement each other. For example, pairing a bold-flavored and sturdily-structured cabernet sauvignon with a meaty and rich ribeye steak is an example of pairing two similar flavor profiles together. Alternatively, when you pair something like a bone-dry and acidic muscadet with earthy and salty moules frites or mussels and French fries, the complementary flavor of the wine creates balance.

The same concept applies not just to wine, but beer, nonalcoholic beverages, and cocktails like an Aperol Spritz. While an Aperol Spritz is an ideal Italian aperitif all on its own, the fruity complexity can pair well with cheeses too. Food Republic asked cheese expert Chad Galer for his thoughts on which cheeses to pair with an Aperol Spritz, and he suggested two very different kinds of cheese — brie and parmesan.

Why do brie and parmesan cheeses pair well with an Aperol Spritz?

Chad Galer is a microbiologist with a knack for sniffing out unexpected cheese pairings and a discerning palate that has gotten him invited to judge cheese competitions. He also holds the role of Vice President of Product Innovation at Dairy Management, Inc. Basically, dairy is kind of his thing.

In Galer's opinion, both brie and parmesan provide a complementary pairing to an Aperol Spritz, but for different reasons. An Aperol Spritz is light, sweet, bitter, and fruity, and brie is creamy, buttery, and earthy. Brie is also relatively mild in comparison to an Aperol Spritz, so those notes of bitter citrus are mellowed out by the brie. Parmesan cheese, on the other hand, is sharp, nutty, tangy, and bold, which is balanced by the sweet quality of Aperol. In both cases, the flavors of the cheese and beverage don't clash but rather work together for a delightful, complementary pairing.