Most people love to enjoy alcohol such as Merlot and cheese, and they would like to have both in a sitting for maximum pleasure. Hence, they do ask if Merlot cheese contains alcohol. Well, Merlot cheese is made with alcohol, but the alcohol does evaporate upon processing. Merlot is a red wine that is not sweet but fruity.
And it has a sour taste that stems from the presence of tannin. Furthermore, the wine can achieve a less bitter and fruity taste by combining Merlot with cheese.
Cheese has been associated with cardiovascular disease, and Merlot is a red wine that contains resveratrol (an antioxidant that plays vital functions in the body). Hence the combination of both.
In this article, you will see detailed information about merlot cheese, how safe it is to consume it, and some cheese that complements Merlot wine. But before that, a brief on Merlot and Cheese would help give a broad picture of what you are actually consuming.
Merlot is a wine produced from the Merlot grapes, and it is usually dry, with no sugar in it. It is produced in the Bordeaux region of France and has tannin and other fruity aromas characterized by grapes. The uniqueness of Merlot stems from its good fermentation process, extended fermentation period, and ability to last for a long period of time.
Cheese is produced from milk and the process of making it involves the coagulation of a protein called casein in milk. The coagulation of milk is carried out by the addition of a starter culture (a colony of good bacteria that has enzymes that can convert lactose to lactic acid).
Then an enzyme called Rennet is then added to curdle the milk. But prior to the addition of this enzyme, the citric or lactic acid must provide an acidic environment to stabilize the enzyme rennet.
Furthermore, cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, but it contains a high amount of saturated fat and salt. And these two components have been implicated in cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Cheese is categorized into soft, semi-soft, and hard cheese.
The soft cheese
This class of cheese has a high moisture content of range 55-80%. It can be fresh and Un ripened cheese or surface mold-ripened. Examples of these cheeses are Ricotta and Cottage cheese.
The hard cheese
This type of cheese has a moisture content of range 20-40%. It is usually ripened by bacteria and can have eyes (for example Swiss cheese) or no eyes. The Swiss cheese is ripened by Propionibacterium sp. which produces CO2, forming holes. Generally, hard Cheese is ripened by the Lactic acid bacteria.
Can you make cheese with alcohol instead of citric acid?
In the above heading, you saw that cheese is produced with a starter culture or rennet. Upon the addition of a starter culture (containing citric acid-producing bacteria), a fairly weak curd will be produced. But with rennet, a strong curd that can last longer is produced. But as an alternative, you can use alcohol in a 60-70% ratio with milk. The addition of alcohol results in the formation of a fairly weak curd.
But this method is highly discouraged, as it quickly terminates the action of citric acid-producing bacteria. And this bacterium is responsible for the pro-biotic nature (maintenance of gut health) of cheese, and also yogurt.
Furthermore, cheese contains organic acids that can react with alcohols to produce ketones and esters which would add floral components to the cheese. But this reaction is highly unstable, and hence discourages the use of alcohol in cheese production.
Does cheese flavor with alcohol actually contain alcohol in it?
Yes, cheese flavor with alcohol actually contains alcohol in it. But this is subject to various factors. First off, you need to note that alcohol is a volatile liquid, and every alcohol has its own boiling point. And upon addition to heat, this alcohol can evaporate when it attains its boiling point.
The factors that can cause the evaporation of cheese flavored with it are:
1. Other ingredients present in the cheese:
The addition of other ingredients that absorb alcohol can cause the retention of a large amount of alcohol during cheese production. For example, the addition of bread can cause a large amount of alcohol to be absorbed, thereby hindering alcohol evaporation.
2. Size of the pan:
Surface area to volume ratio is another important criterion that can help retain or reduce alcohol in cheese flavored with one. This is because, in a large pan, there would be enough surface area for the escape of alcohol upon heat addition, while in a small-sized pan, there would be a reduced surface area for alcohol evaporation.
3. Amount of stirring:
The amount of stirring is also another critical factor that can cause the retention or evaporation of alcohol from cheese flavored with it. This is because the stirring exposes the alcohol to the surface frequently, and this in turn promotes more evaporation of alcohol.
4. Time of heating:
The time of heating of milk during cheese production is 30 – to 40 minutes, and foods that contain alcohol and boiled for this period of time contain at least 35 percent alcohol.
Merlot cheese with alcohol in it
The merlot cheese that has alcohol in it is Merlot BellaVitano. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk, having a creamy and crystalline structure. Its aroma is pleasant, and it is pale yellow in color. It is a distinct Cheddar-Parmesan-inspired Italian farmstead cow’s cheese immersed in fine Merlot wine to give it extra tang and a delicious merlot flavor.
Due to the nature of this cheese, it is recommended that you store it at 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, its shelf life is estimated at 120 to 360 days.
This cheese is unique in that it forms crunchy crystals upon aging, and these crystals are composed of calcium Lactate (contributes to stronger bone formation, reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of colon cancer, etc.)
In addition, the cheese contains 9g of total fat, 5g of saturated fat, 30mg of cholesterol, 170mg of sodium, and 7g of protein based on a 2000-calorie diet. And these values are very suitable for a daily diet based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendations.
Can you get drunk off of Merlot cheese?
No, you cannot get drunk off of Merlot cheese. And this is because of the packaging process and aging. Furthermore, Merlot cheese is produced by immersion of the produced cheese in Merlot wine. Hence, a little quantity of Merlot wine is retained on the cheese, and it also evaporates with time.
What are some of the cheeses that pair the best with merlot wine?
If you would love to have a taste of Merlot wine with a brand of cheese, then you should combine it with the following cheese:
This cheese is made from Italian cow’s milk. It is also crumbly in texture and similar to Parmesan.
This is a medium-hard cheese that is characterized by a nutty/sweet flavor. You can easily identify this cheese with the eyes and holes that it has.
This cheese is made from cow’s milk and should be your best combination with Merlot due to its mellow, mild, and creamy nature.
This is another great cheese that is made from cow’s milk, and its mild taste makes it a suitable combination for Merlot.
This cheese has two categories and is either Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese. But not that it is an extra-hard cheese.
If you want a sharp to sweet semi-hard cheese made from cow milk, then you would love a combination of provolone with Merlot wine.
This is a hard cheese that is characterized by pale yellow and off-white color. It is known for its sharp taste and is treated by smoke-curing
Is it safe to feed children dishes containing alcohol?
Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, and hence it evaporates quickly on heat application. But alcohol is of different kinds. So, if the alcohol used in the food preparation is a spirit or liquor, then you should not give it to your children. And this is because they have a higher volume of alcohol than beer, wine, or cider.
In summary, it is safe to feed children with dishes containing alcohol, since they do evaporate. But if you do have reservations about alcohol in your children’s food, then you can opt for substitutes such as lemon or lime juice.
Conclusion: Does Merlot Cheese Have Alcohol?
With the detailed insights given in this article, you can see that it is unlikely that Merlot cheese would have alcohol in it, due to the fact that the alcohol evaporates upon packaging and aging.
Furthermore, for most people who avoid cheese due to the presence of saturated fat, this new method has proven to be healthier than your regular cheese. So why enjoy just wine or cheese when you can have them both in a mixture?