You’ve all seen the amazing Cheese Plate (8 cheeses, 5 cheese pairings and much more) that we put together with 10 partners for the March $250 Cheese Plate giveaway. But I realized that we never got a chance to tell you how we chose to pair the various cheeses with the various pairings.
So let me explain how they all make for the perfect cheese plate:
Goat cheese is known to be the easiest cheese to pair. It is usually mild and soft, especially the younger goat cheeses, and works very nicely with sweet pairings, like caramel, chocolate or jams, almost like a dessert. So our first two pairings are wonderful with the 5 Vermont Creamery goat cheeses here (Bijou, Cremont, Coupole, Bonne-Bouche and Saint-Albans):
Pairing 1: Fat Toad Original Caramel paired here with Bijou or Cremont,
Pairing 2: Our Maine Wild Blueberry Chocolate Cheese Companion also paired with Coupole and fresh goat cheese. Chocolate pairs well with goat cheese (see article Chocolate Loves Cheese), the taste of chocolate is subtle here, and then there is something a bit magical happening when pairing wild blueberry with goat cheese!
Then we have our two semi-soft alpine cheeses: Manchester from Consider Bardwell Farm and Tilsit from Vermont Farmstead. For those, let’s cross the ocean and find European traditional cheese pairings!
Pairing 3: Our Cherry Thyme Cheese Companion: A great tradition from the Basque country (see article Cherry Preserves: A Tradition in Cheese Pairing). We are particularly fond of our version, less sweet than preserves, and with that wonderful note of thyme that brings out the nice flavor of the cherries.
Pairing 4: Vermont Quince’s Quince Paste: Every cheese lover knows about the delicious taste of quince paste. Called membrillo in Spain, it is practically the national snack over there, when paired with Manchego, sheep’s milk cheese. Vermont Quince’s version is as delicious as its Spanish counterparts!
We had one more Cheese Companion in the Trio Gift Box:
Pairing 5: Our Pear Ginger Cheese Companion: A great pairing for blue cheese (see article Pear and Blue Cheese: A Pairing Made in Heaven). Doesn’t this roast beef sandwich with blue cheese and our pear ginger conserve look delicious?
Of course, most cheese plates need some cured and uncured meats: Vermont Smoke & Cure offers a nice assortment of sausages and meat snacks, some spicy, some mild, out of which we chose a summer sausage, some turkey sticks, and some mini cracked pepper sticks, which we believe pair well with cheese, without being overwhelming in their flavors.
And we cannot forget the last cheese of our cheese plate: the brie-style Lille from Vermont Farmstead. Let me just say that it is particularly delicious with our Dried Fruit Conserve Cheese Companion, shown here, and will be part of our upcoming April giveaway.
Last but not least, we’ve included the book “Composing the Cheese Plate: Recipes, Pairings, and Platings for the Inventive Cheese Course”, so you can explore on your own the wonderful world of cheese pairings!