If you're wondering if Chardonnay pairs well with cheddar or whether gruyere works with Gewurztraminer, a new app developed in Toronto has the answers just in time for holiday party season.
A team of molecular biologists and computer scientists from the University of Toronto has founded wineandcheesemap.com, a website and app that feature nearly 1,000 wine and cheese pairings.
Users can search by type of red wine, white wine or cider, or type of cheese to find numerous recommended pairings. The app, which features thousands of these pairings, features a striking design enables you scroll through all of the links or just see your favourite vino.
"The app helps you identify cheeses that you might not know about and wines that you might not know about and how they go together. It's perfect for planning a party," Prof. Gary Bader told CBC Toronto's Metro Morning on Wednesday.
"Basically, you can search for a red wine or a white wine, click on it, it will show you a network of relationships, kind of like a spider web of connections. Click on a cheese and it will show you red and white wines that connect to it," he said.
"Or if you click on a wine, like Beaujolais, it will tell you that it's really nice with cheddar or specific types of Swiss cheeses."
'I haven't been able to go through all of them'
Users can search by country,
or even a type of cheese to find similar varieties.
The site and app were born from a technology called Cytoscape, which, as Bader describes it, "helps find interesting new relationships in large data sets."
The technology has been used in medical research, he said, to find genes related to autism, for example, and to help find new treatments for brain tumours in children.
"But it can be used for anything," Bader told Metro Morning.
Bader said he wanted to show off some fun applications for the technology, but it was his wife who had an "aha moment," as he called it, while reading the book "Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best" by Max McCalman and David Gibbons.
His wife pointed out that the information in the book is essentially a data set that could be plugged in to Cytoscape.
For Bader, the fun is going to a cheese shop, plugging in a favourite type of cheese and then searching for something similar. A recent favourite discovery is a cheese from the United Kingdom called Keen's Cheddar, he said.
"I haven't been able to go through all of them," he said. "But there are many in there."