Sure, you can steam live videos on your pocket-sized smartphone while riding around in a self-driving car, but what has science done for you lately?? Well, it’s created the ultimate interactive wine and cheese pairing recommendation map, that’s what!
University of Toronto professor Gary Bader may specialize in biological network analysis, working to map the relationships between genes and diseases, but even the noblest researchers among us need to take a break from solving humanity’s problems and unwind with a solid wine and cheese pairing. That’s where the site WineAndCheeseMap.com comes into play.
Bader says he got the idea for using genetics mapping software for wine and cheese from his wife not long after they began reading the book Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best – which includes pairing suggestions. “She had the brilliant idea, the Eureka moment, to say, ‘We can make a network out of these,’” he told BBC. The resulting free website, built by Bader and his team out of info in the book, allows anyone to explore the suggested pairings for about 100 red and white wines with about 270 cheeses.
What makes the map so interesting is how its interactive features allow you to move between different wines and cheeses. For instance, I started randomly by searching for Nebbiolo. The typically Italian red has two recommended cheese pairings: Ardrahan and Monterey Dry Jack. I click on the latter and am sent to five other red wine recommendations, a white wine recommendation and two suggestions of similar cheeses. Parmiagiano-Reggiano catches my eye, which brings me to three more red wines: Barolo, Barbaresco and California Merlot. Now we’re talking. “You just quickly look at a picture and see patterns that would be very difficult to find if you were looking through data spreadsheets one row at a time,” Bader explained to the BBC.
Bader has said the site is great for parties – both in planning and as something to discuss – but it can be great for exploring wine and cheese in general. “I actually use it when I go shopping for cheese and I'm interested in finding something new,” he told The Washington Post.
Though good luck finding a wine pairing for your grilled cheese sandwich: I couldn’t find a single result for American.