Why Soda And Cheese Actually Pair Well Together

The joy of cheese is in the pairings. There are certain pairings in the food world that are considered taboo — like the combination of cheese and seafood. The National Italian American Foundation calls the pairing "one of the worst Italian food faux pas" and took to Facebook to share a photo from a NYC restaurant menu explicitly stating that "No cheese [is to be] served on seafood pasta at any time." 

Why not? It comes down to chemistry. According to Smithsonian Magazine, cheese with "its complex flavors and fatty texture ... can easily overpower seafood's understated qualities."

On the other end of the spectrum is a combination that goes very well together: cheese and wine. Cheese pairs especially well with bubbly. According to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, champagne makes "an equally strong partner" because its "bubbly effervescence" acts as a contrast to a baby Swiss, which has a "more buttery flavor than aged Swiss" (per The Wisconsin Cheeseman).

Another "acceptable" pairing (that doesn't require you to be 21 and over) is soda and cheese. Here's why it works.

It comes down to the bubbles

According to The Kitchn, "When pairing foods with cheese, your goal should be to highlight both elements equally." It also cites plenty of dos and don'ts (mostly don'ts) when it comes to what not to pair with cheese — like spicy red pepper flakes that compete too much with its flavor.

A cheese-pairing professional who talked to Food & Wine echoes the sentiment, suggesting cheese goes best with "subtler flavors" like natural, citrus sodas with low sugar content. The conversation turns back to the subject of bubbles, giving it credit for why this combination makes sense. As it turns out, carbonation acts as a palate cleanser, said to "lift the fat from your tongue." According to the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, bubbles "stimulate the tongue and make it more receptive to new flavors." An added wedge of lemon can bring "extra palate-cleansing power."

On the contrary, Livescience considers soda a spicy food because of the "painful sensation" one experiences when consuming the drink. Culture advises against sparkling waters containing high-acid fruit because it can make cheese taste "acrid." Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin puts any debate to rest stating that "the only rule of cheese pairing is that there are no rules" and that "even the most unlikely pairings will delight ... cheese lovers."