Making Cheeseboard Pairings Easy
December 27, 2013 // by Betsy Thompson
‘Tis the season for festive gatherings with friends & family which, for us, means it’s cheeseboard season! Though it’s a busy and sometimes stressful time of year, assembling a unique cheeseboard can be quick and easy.
As with your cheese selection, complementary pairing items make for unique and fun snacking. Think about all the different flavors or sensations you can get from the different additions you choose: sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy, creamy, etc.
There are many options for cheese pairings and though some matches are better than others, this doesn’t have to be an exact (or stressful) science. In general, stronger flavored cheeses pair well with other bold flavors; lightly flavored cheeses do well with milder pairings.
For snacking, we recommend about 1 oz of cheese per person and that the cheese be brought to room temperature before serving. On our cheeseboards, we like to tuck intended pairings close to the cheese they work well with. Most importantly, we want you to have fun!
Here are a few pairings we’ve got on our cheeseboards this season (recipes below):
- Savory: Candied Bacon
- Sweet: Caramelized Onions
- Crunchy: Maple Kettle Corn
- Tart: Cranberry Chutney
- Salty: Spiced Nuts
For even more ideas, visit our full pairing guide.
- Ingredients: 2-3 small or medium onions, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp. Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt.
- Directions: Chop or finely slice onions. In a pan on medium high heat cook onions & butter stirring frequently. Once lightly brown turn heat down to medium and continue to cook till onions have deepened in color. Toss in brown sugar. Serve warm or room temperature.
- Additional sweet pairings: honey, maple syrup, fresh figs or fruit jams, caramels or chocolate
- Ingredients: 1 pound of thick cut bacon, 1/3 c brown sugar
- Directions: Heat oven to 375 F. Place a grate in a 9 by 13 baking pan and layer bacon strips evenly. Gently rub the top layer of bacon strips with brown sugar and bake until they’ve reached your desired crispness. (around 25-35 minutes)
- Additional Savory Pairings: assorted charcuterie & prosciutto, soft pretzels bites sprinkled with sea salt
- Ingredients: 1 c water, ¾ c sugar, 1 (12 oz.) package of fresh cranberries, 1 apple (peeled, cored and cut into small chunks), ½ c cider vinegar, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, pinch of ginger, all spice
- In a medium saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Add the cranberries, apples, cider vinegar, raisins and spices. Bring to a boil, and then simmer gently for 10 minutes stirring often.
- Additional tangy pairings: pickles, fresh grapes & tart apples, marinated olives, pickled onions
- Ingredients: 1 c of your nut of choice, 1 tbsp Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt or Cultured Butter with Sea Salt & Maple, Salt & Pepper to taste. Optional: sprinkle of brown sugar & cinnamon in place of salt & pepper
- Directions: Place nuts in frying pan on medium high heat to gently toast, once they start to brown or become fragrant add in butter and preferred seasonings. Gently toss to coat.
- Additional Salty Pairings: fresh pesto, crispy potato wedges tossed with sea salt
Maple Kettle Corn
- Ingredients: 1/3 c popping corn, 1 ½ tbsp. canola oil or other high heat oil, 4 tbsp Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt & Maple.
- Directions: In a saucepan, add popping corn and canola oil. Cover with lid and turn stovetop on to medium high heat. Once kernels begin to pop, quickly add the chunks of Maple Sea Salt Butter and cover again giving the pan a gentle shake. Once the popcorn has slowed in popping, pour into a large bowl and enjoy!
- Ingredients: 1 c of Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter, ½ c sugar, 2 ¼ c flour, ½ c walnuts or pecans (finely ground), 1 tsp salt
- Directions: Cream butter, sugar, and salt together. Slowly add flour to mixture to make crumbly dough, add in nuts and kneed with your hands to bring dough together. Roll till about ¼ in on lightly floured surface and cut into desired shape. Bake at 3:50 for 10-12 min till lightly browned on edges
- Additional Crunchy Pairings: crusty bread, vegetable chips (beet chips), pita chips or crackers, gingersnaps