Think about it. What is a food that evokes warmth, happiness, security, or tranquility? Most likely it has something to do with an event or an emotion: Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies you devoured after a day of playing near the creek, Great Aunt Mae’s fried chicken and okra served at Sunday supper with the family, a generations old recipe for pot pie that your children craved on that cold winter day last week. In my opinion, the feelings associated with comfort food are what it’s all about. However, its deliciousness is a plus!

comfort food
The #winePW group, those of us who love food and wine pairings enough to write and tweet about them each month, have decided to pair our favorite comfort food with wine. Please join the conversation today, Saturday, February 11 at 11am EST on twitter (don’t forget to use the hashtag #winePW) to share your favorite pairings. If Grandma and Great Aunt Mae were still with us, I’m sure they’d have plenty to contribute!

There were no lack of comfort foods from which I could have chosen. Recipes for my grandmother’s macaroni and cheese that continues to be a holiday staple, my mother’s fried chicken (a dish I craved for an entire summer spent in France while in college), or that infamous hot fudge cake from The Circle Restaurant in Portsmouth, Virginia were strong contenders. But I selected another, one from a time long ago; if you attended high school with me, you’ll know exactly what I’m writing about…

The ONLY lunch I actually enjoyed from those wonderful ladies in my high school cafeteria was a delectable grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of warm tomato soup and the biggest, most sugary cinnamon roll you’ve ever seen. When this meal was listed on the weekly menu, I made sure there was money in my pocket, for who could resist all of that gooey goodness in the middle of a typical school day? Not me. This lunch made me very, very happy (despite the probability that the nutritional content was questionable) and I always left the cafeteria with feelings of calm and tranquility. High school shenanigans? Bring it.

Since those days, I’ve had my fair share of grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soups, and cinnamon rolls. But the grilled cheese sandwich, in all its variations, is one that I love to create at home or enjoy at a restaurant. And with a side of wine? Yes, please!

Although my comfort food selection isn’t for the grilled cheese sandwich from the good ‘ole days, you’ll appreciate this recipe for Savory Blueberry and Brie Grilled Cheese, a tasty modification, even more. With only a few ingredients and a cooking time that’s a snap, the distinctive flavor of the Brie cheese, the creamy texture of the mascarpone, the subtle sweetness of juicy blueberries, and the slightly bitter taste of the arugula create a palate sensation.

An exceptional choice of wine for pairing was the refreshing Adler Fels Chardonnay 2015 ($20). From Chardonnay grapes sourced in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley and Monterey County, I discovered aromas of juicy tropical fruit, hint of peaches, yellow flowers, and oak. Balanced and broad, its mouthwatering acidity, luscious fruit forward profile, and long, complex finish helped create a flawless complement to the unique flavors and mouthfeel of the Savory Blueberry and Brie Grilled Cheese. Perhaps there should be another food group: comfort wine!

Adler Fels comfort food

Savory Blueberry and Brie Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 4 medium slices sourdough bread
  • 4oz Brie
  • 4oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • butter

Directions

Step 1
Bring blueberries, lemon juice, zest, and thyme to a boil over medium high heat.
Step 2
Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Step 3
Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes.
Step 4
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Step 5
Butter one side of each bread slice and place butter side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Step 6
On the other side spread a thin layer of mascarpone cheese and top each with about 2 tablespoons blueberry spread.
Step 7
Thinly slice Brie, keeping rind on if preferred, and evenly divide, placing on top of blueberry spread.
Step 8
Cook sandwiches about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Step 9
Remove from heat and transfer to serving dishes.
Step 10
Top each with about 1/4 cup arugula and enjoy immediately.

comfort food grilled cheese

Cheers to comfort food and wine! ~ Cindy

For more recipes and wine pairings that will satisfy your need for all things “comfort”, check out the following links!

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19 comments

    • Cindy Rynning

      Reply

      It’s good to remember the positive things about high school, isn’t it Lauren?? Thanks!!

  1. Reply

    I recently had arugula on a grilled cheese and it hits the spot. I’m always ordering “grown up” grilled cheeses at restaurants. This sounds like a wonderful pairing, for a weekend or weeknight.

    Blueberries & brie– How perfect for spring!

    • Cindy Rynning

      Reply

      You’re right, Jill- this is an “anytime” grilled cheese! Too bad they didn’t make this version in high school:)

  2. Reply

    This sounds wonderful! A basic grilled cheese is great in my book, making it with brie and blueberries elevate it to something special. Not to mention a chard from Sonoma/Monterey. Russian River is one of my fav spots for chard.

  3. Reply

    All I remember from my school cafeteria days is trying to flick peas on the ceiling — my bad. This sounds really delicious, Cindy. Lovely wine pairing as well. Makes a grilled cheese sandwich very grown up!

    • Cindy Rynning

      Reply

      Ha! Love the pea flicking memory, Nancy!! Thanks for the comment-time for grilled cheese!

  4. Reply

    Blueberries and Brie! sounds absolutely amazing to me! I have not used fresh fruit before – I have always used jam, but that is going to change now!

    • Cindy Rynning

      Reply

      This was the first time I used fresh fruit, too – you won’t believe the taste difference! Thanks, Lori!

  5. Reply

    Girl after my own heart ❤️!! Wine + Cheese.
    I just tried the wine a few weeks ago – amazing & this grilled cheese sounds triple amazing! Can’t wait to try the recipe. Great article…as always Cindy! Cheers!

  6. Leslie Wright Flanders-Williams

    Reply

    Cindy, What wine do I pair with the cinnamon roll? That’s my comfort food…although I have to admit the grilled cheese recipe looks delectable! Thanks for the memories…:)

    • Cindy Rynning

      Reply

      Those cinnamon rolls! I would pair a semi-sweet Riesling, Moscato d’Asti or Prosecco with those sticky sweet buns! Let me know what you decide to do!! Cheers, Leslie!

  7. Michelle Williams

    Reply

    Seriously? This looks incredible and I WILL be making this. Growing up I did not like grilled cheese, I don’t know what was wrong with me! As an adult I have come to love it! I think this sandwich would be great with Champagne! Thanks for such a fun recipe!

    • Cindy Rynning

      Reply

      Let me know what you think – the combo of ingredients will change your life:) Cheers, Michelle!

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