Everyone loves cheese, at least in some form or another. At some point in your cooking career, you will need to use the universally loved food, whether it's for small get-togethers with friends, or large family events.

While not everyone is a cheese expert, and creating the perfect appetizers can be time-consuming, that doesn't mean you can't be prepared for when family shows up uninvited and you need to whip up something quick to keep them satisfied. You too, can impress them with your knowledge of cheese pairings.  

For such occasions, look to these five simple recipes to serve up the cheeses you should definitely have stocked somewhere in your refrigerator.

1. Mozzarella

Cheese: Mozzarella

Best paired with: Cherry tomatoes and fresh basil

Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc


3/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepepr

8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella (bite-sized balls)

Best time of year: Spring/Summer

2. Ricotta

Cheese: Ricotta

Best paired with: Crostini or toast

Wine pairing: Pinot Grigio


1/4 cup ricotta

2 tbsp fresh basil

1 tbsp olive oil


Best time of year: Spring/Summer

3. Brie

Cheese: Brie

Best paired with: Fig jam and crackers

Wine pairing: Chardonnay


fig jam

crackers or bread


fruits such as apples or grapes (optional)

nuts such as almonds or cashews (optional)

Best time of year: Fall/Winter

4. Feta

Cheese: Feta

Best paired with: Watermelon and mint

Wine pairing: Beaujolais


1 seedless watermelon

3 limes, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 1/2 cups feta cheese

thinly sliced red onion

3/4 tsp black pepper

Best time of year: Spring/Summer

5. Gouda

Cheese: Gouda

Best paired with: Apple and honey

Wine pairing: Merlot


salted honey

1 apple, sliced

gouda, sliced

1 slice oat nut bread, grilled

Best time of year: Fall/Winter

Obviously this list is just a small sampling of what you can do with cheese, and I didn't even get into the semantics over whether you should use crackers or bread, depending on the hardness or softness of the cheese. However, with this small list, you too can enhance your cheeses simply through the drinks and foods you pair with it! It's that easy.