April is National Grilled Cheese Month – one of my very favorite food holidays. While you can never go wrong with the standard grilled American cheese on white bread, it’s so much fun to come up with fun, gourmet versions of this classic recipe. Last April, I snuck some vegetables onto my sandwich with a spinach and artichoke grilled cheese that ended up being my #1 most popular post of 2013. Then, back in September, I decided to spice things up with my personal favorite – a gourmet grilled cheese featuring jalapeno jelly and sliced apple.
This week, the Sunday Supper group is celebrating Grilled Cheese Month with Gallo Family Vineyards. We were challenged to make a sandwich that either pairs well with wine or features wine as an ingredient. My brie, ham, and blackberry grilled cheese does both – it pairs amazingly well with a lot of different wines and I also used a splash of Merlot in the blackberry quick jam that makes the sandwich so special.
I know it seems a little strange to put fruit jam on a grilled cheese, but when it’s paired with ham and brie it definitely doesn’t seem out of place at all. The flavors work so well together and remind me of my favorite baked brie appetizer. Since brie stays creamy and melty at room temperature, these sandwiches are also good after they’ve sat for a while. I think they’d be great to bring on picnics this summer.
Since I opened a bottle of Merlot to make the blackberry jam, that’s what I served these with. It was a good pairing, but I also think they’d be great something a little lighter, like Cafe Zinfandel, or even a Pink Moscato.