When choosing a good cheese for entertaining, you’ll want something that not only looks beautiful, but is easily shared. A universal palate-pleaser (well, as close as you can get), that still has a certain mystique to its flavor. Stumped? Meet Harbison from Vermont’s Jasper Hill Farm. (There’s a reason we featured it in last year’s 101 Best Cheeses!)
Floral, buttery, bright and herbaceous, this cheese contains within it a slew of flavor notes that shift and evolve ever-so-subtly on the palate. The rind is wrapped in spruce bark, which will look smashing against your wooden cheese plate, and guests will ooh and ahh once you pull back the top rind to reveal the creamy, spoonable paste. As The Kitchn‘s cheesemonger-in-residence puts it, “When ripe, Harbison is irresistible. It’s like an eggy, salty pudding, as easily devoured as an ice cream cone of your most favorite flavor.” Sounds good, yeah?
Because of its complex flavor profile, Harbison pairs well with a wide variety of wines, beers, spirits, and cheese plate accouterment. Enjoy Harbison with light-bodied reds, oaky chardonnays, Saisons, ciders, or IPAs. Jasper Hill Farm also notes fruit mostarda and crusty bread make nice accompaniments.
And since we’ve been big on honey pairings lately, may we suggest topping your Harbison with a fruity variety, like Flying Bee Ranch’s Blueberry Honey.