Take a look at any list of the top American comfort foods and you will find grilled cheese sandwiches – often paired with Tomato Soup – somewhere on those lists. And why not? What is not to love about warm, buttery, melty, toasty grilled cheese, warm, velvety soup, and all of the memories we associate with it?
There’s no denying that there is something very comforting and nostalgic about a good grilled cheese sandwich, but could there be even more to enjoy? We asked Oliver’s Gourmet Cheese Department Coordinator Wade Johnson for his ideas on how to raise this classic to another level in several directions, using cheeses from around the world, and his ideas are truly inspired.
We also asked Oliver’s Wine, Beer & Spirits Buyer, Richard Williams, to further elevate these delicious grilled cheese concepts by selecting wines for each one. Can you say amazing?
Without further ado, let’s dive into these sandwiches and wine matches, and don’t worry! We have links to all of the recipes so that you can try these in the comfort of your own home.
Note: All quoted prices are in effect from April 12-18, 2023 at all four Sonoma County Oliver’s Market locations.
Taleggio with Tomato and Fresh Basil paired with
Luca Bosio “Truffle Hunter” Barbera d’ Asti – 2020, Piemonte, Italy
- Taleggio, $15.99/lb.
- Luca Bosio “Truffle Hunter” Barbera d’ Asti – 2020, Piemonte, Italy, $9.99
“This iconic Italian cheese melts beautifully, making it an ideal candidate for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. To add a bright acidic note to each bite, freshly sliced tomato was an easy choice. Rounded out with a floral and herbaceous element thanks to fresh basil, this Italian-themed grilled cheese sandwich is layered with complexity, leaving the palate yearning for more.”
Wine Pairing Notes: “Mild and fruity Taleggio and rich, young Barbera make a perfect match, then add Tomato and Basil…Now ‘That’s Italian!’”
Black Truffle Gouda with a Fried Egg in a Basket and Truffle Butter paired with
Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico, 2019, Italy
- Treur Black Truffle Gouda, $25.99/lb.
- Fabrique Delices White or Black Truffle Butter, 3 oz. Package, $9.99/ea.
- Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico, 2019, Italy, $14.99
“The idea behind this marvelous sandwich was to showcase the delicious relationship between truffle and eggs. Our Black Truffle Gouda has the perfect moisture and fat content, leading to its flawless meltability. Add truffle butter, and the final masterpiece is a decadently rich grilled cheese bursting with umami until the very last bite.”
Wine Pairing Notes: “With the rich and complex flavors going on here, there is a need for a hearty and earthy flavored wine to match. This bright and bold Chianti Classico is ‘Perfetto!’”
Portlandia Pinot Noir – 2021, Willamette Valley, Oregon
- Mifroma Cave Aged Gruyere, $21.99/lb.
- The Red Witch, $17.99/lb.
- Kaltbach Le Cremeux, $17.99/lb.
- Portlandia Pinot Noir – 2021, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $14.99
“No grilled cheese sandwich list would be complete without the inclusion of an all-cheese grilled cheese sandwich. Switzerland is well known for their complex, savory, often nutty alpine cheeses, which are widely accepted as some of the best melting cheeses available on the planet. Besides a touch of butter for the bread, these cheeses speak loudly enough to carry on a conversation throughout the entire flavor experience!”
Wine Pairing Notes: “Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir are a perfect foil for the nutty, medium-firm cheeses in this sandwich. As they say, ‘Opposites attract!’”
Solis Lumen Rosé – 2021, Sud de France
- Violife 100% Vegan Mature Cheddar Slices, 7.05 oz. Package, $3.99
- Solis Lumen Rosé – 2021, Sud de France, $9.99
“Ready for a melty grilled cheese sandwich with a Vegan twist? Violife Mature Cheddar, Vegan Garlic Dijon Aioli, Baby Spinach, and Caramelized Onion make for a super flavorful grilled cheese sandwich that will give you all of those comfort food feelings you’re looking for with only plant based ingredients!
Wine Pairing Notes: “’Just Like’ Mature Cheddar is fairly mild in flavor but accompanied by a Dijon Aioli, grilled onions, and fresh baby spinach, the creaminess dances with the bright and fruity Rosé.”
Links on the sandwiches above will lead you to the recipes, and here is our ad feature, which includes the highlighted ingredients and wines, and much more. Looking to make your Tomato Soup from scratch too? Try our recipe for Heirloom Tomato Soup.
Check out these other suggested additions from our ad for your gourmet grilled cheese adventure:
- Costeaux Sliced Sour Boule, 18 oz. Package, $4.99
- Oliver’s Own Tomato Basil Soup, 16 oz. Container, $5.99; 32 oz. Container, $9.99
- Organic Beefsteak Tomatoes, Grown by Grown True in Mexico, $1.99/lb.
We hope you will be inspired to try one or more of these pairings, or create some new twists of your own for your next grilled cheese sandwich to take this classic to another level of your own choosing.