Perhaps I'm biased since I work at Cheesyplace, but I think cheese is the most interesting and fun food of all time. So when I serve cheese, I always keep that in mind and try to make it as fun as possible for me and my guests.
Don't be afraid to try new things. There's no wrong way to do it. If your guests don't love one of your pairings, it's not the end of the world. At least you went outside of the box and tried something new.
So let's get right into it.
Head to your local fruit market and pick several fruits to serve alongside your cheese plate. Here's the only catch; no apples, pears or grapes. Everything else is fair game.
Cheese has so many different flavours happening, that it pairs with so many foods. So even the most exotic fruit, whether it's sweet or bitter or sour or anything else, will probably match some family of cheese. Taste it with soft cheese, hard cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese and see what works.
I'm loving the fresh Quince right now. I let them ripen and then serve thin wedges with my cheese. Go find some right now, they probably won't be around for too much longer.
Here's another classic. Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds are the usual go-to nuts when serving up cheese. What about something different? There are so many varieties to choose from. Spanish Marcona Almonds are awesome with all kinds of cheese. Brazil nuts served with blue cheese. Macadamia with goat cheeses. Try some roasted and some raw. Salted or unsalted. Both work.
This is a new one that's been popular in the last couple of years. Who knew cheese would work well with chocolate. Someone was crazy enough to try it and it's been a 'thing' ever since.
If I was doing a cheese and chocolate tasting and I wanted to seriously examine the combinations, I would probably just focus these two items and nothing else. There's so much going on already. If you're just doing a more casual cheese tasting then you can definitely mix it up.
When we did our last chocolate tasting, I purchased 5 different types of chocolate. From milk to dark and in between. I don't know much about chocolate but my local chocolate shop does. We tried them all with 6 different cheeses and it was awesome. The guests loved it and thought it was super fun.
4. Jams, Preserves, Jellies, Chutney and Honey
The good thing with these pairings is the selection of unique and fun products out on the market today and new ones being introduced all the time. There's just so much to try. Everything from sweet to spicy, to a combination of both.
I'm currently loving Nutty Honey by Rosewood Estates. It's a simple combination but works so well.
We sometimes get a Spanish 'cake' made from dry figs, dates, walnuts, almonds and plums which has been popular with the guests recently. We included it last month with our cheese club and have gotten great feedback on it.
5. Olives & Antipasto
This one depends on the timing of your cheese plate. If you're serving it on its own, before or during dinner then it works. If you're doing it as a dessert course then skip this one :)
Olives, grilled artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, grilled eggplant, tapenades and more. All great with a certain type of cheese. I tend to only serve them with aged cheeses like Manchego, Pecorino and other hard cheeses.
Doesn't work as well for bries and triple cremes, for me at least. I find the richness of the antipasto with the richness of brie is just too much. The only soft cheeses I actually love with antipasto are fresh goat cheeses (Valancay, Chevrot, Pouligny, etc) if you can get your hands on them.
That's it for now. Try these pairings and let me know how they went!
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I'll be blogging myself for now, as we're currently looking for some passionate cheese lovers to write for us about their cheesy adventures (if you know someone, please hit us up!).
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