When planning a cheeseplate for a small gathering or a party, we tend to focus on what cheeses we want to serve (see our suggestions here!). But if you’re looking for an easy way to upgrade any cheeseplate, turn to the accompaniments — unique ones, to be exact. Newfangled jams, sweet crackers, and yes, even chocolate, pair well with cheese and will have your guests oohing and ahhing at your cheeseplate expertise.
If you pass on the baguette and go for crackers, choose something a little more interesting than the standard wheat crackers, such as sweet and nutty Effie’s Oatcakes (we love them with English blue cheese). Really want to go above and beyond? Try your hand at making your own crackers (it’s not hard, we promise) with these recipes for Crispy Rye and Seed Crackers or Seeded Buttermilk Crackers. You just can’t beat the fresh crunch of a homemade cracker!
Sick of the same old fig preserves that grace every cheeseplate? Try out a bold, zingy raspberry jam with an extra kick of spice or citrus. Some of our favorite newfangled raspberry jam and cheese pairings: The Jam Stand’s Razzy Gabby & a Side of Jalapeño Jam with Consider Bardwell Farm’s Pawlet, and Bonnie’s Jams Raspberry Lime Rickey with Cypress Grove Chèvre Midnight Moon. Your guests will appreciate the extra palate tingle!
Marcona almonds are definitely delicious, but they’re also expected on a cheeseplate. Our suggestion? Get creative with candied, spiced, and other flavor-added nuts. You may find some surprisingly pleasant flavor combinations when you pair them with cheese! Candied Cacao Nib Walnuts are delicious with Comté, caramelized pecans make a decadent match for blue cheeses, and herb-y almonds go great with Gouda.
Speaking of cacao, why not add some full-fledged chocolate to your cheeseplate? Blue cheeses such as Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue go great with dark chocolate — the creaminess and saltiness of the cheese cut through any possible bitterness from the chocolate. We also love a rich, creamy goat cheese with milk chocolate — it’s truly decadent.
For more ideas about pairing chocolate, nuts, jams, and crackers with cheese, purchase our Cheese+ pairings guide today!