The Netflix and Chill Plate. Photo Credit: Kate Young.
Love is in the air. Or…wait, maybe that’s cheese. Yeah, that’s definitely cheese.
As the “Single for the Summer” flings begin to slow down and we make our way towards gorgeous foliage, cozy sweaters, and temperatures that don’t make you want to slip into an eternal ice bath at the mere thought of human contact, the reason for cheesin’ is growing stronger and stronger. (Okay, you may not even need a reason for cheesin’.)
When the days grow shorter and the hormone levels begin to elevate (totally a scientific thing, I swear), your brain is jonesing to stay in, chow down, and cuddle up.
Whether you’re ready to dip a toe into the dating world or not, we’ve got you covered. Let me break down for you, my curd lovers, how to find the perfect cheese for every stage of a relationship. Because if you can’t be cheesy with a brand new boo, honestly, when can you?
The Swipe Night
So you’re spending a quality night in with friends. The movie has officially been muted into the background and the wine glasses are on refill number three…four…four again? Suddenly, the talk turns to dating apps. You need opinions, you need message composition assistance, you’re looking for a snack in your life, so you should have a quality one on your plate too.
For the perfect dating app evening, shoot for a large cheese plate with lots of options. Swipe your way through graphic designers and engineers, triple cream Bries, and Alpine-style beauties. Stack your plate with three to four cheeses of varying milks and textures, and two or three meat options. Sprinkle a few nuts in there (because like, so does Tinder right?) and a dish of honey to sweeten up the deal. Pour another round and offer it up to the room, after all, there’s someone—ahem—something out there for everyone.
The First Date
Your best jeans are on, your face is set, you have…two hours until you leave to meet your date at a local bar. Maybe you were a little overzealous with getting ready, but you didn’t know how long it would take to get your eyebrow shading perfectly imperfect, or how long your best friend would take to respond to your 237 Snapchats.
As you throw on Queer Eye and try not to pay too much attention—as not to ruin your finally pristine eyeliner—you look for something to munch on. Your concerns of desperately needing to use the bathroom 14 times in your perfect purple romper noted, opt for an aged cheese for something easier to digest, even for those with no lactose concerns.
A hunk of Beemster XO Extra Aged Gouda and a handful of grapes will set both your stomach and your heart up for a successful night of love, and remind you that when all else fails, Channing Tatum’s go-to date convo in She’s The Man was about Gouda, and look at him now…
The Netflix and Chill Plate
You’ve swiped your way to a winner. They’re kind, they’re funny, they’re sexy. I mean, get it honey. But maybe not with honey, that sounds…messy. But moving on. If you’re looking to Netflix and Chill the night away, do just that. A cheese board for two and a Friends marathon (because we all know you’ve both seen this episode before, c’mon) is all you need to move your relationship in a racier direction.
Since chocolate, figs, and almonds are all considered aphrodisiacs, there’s no better way to set up a sleepless night than sneaking them into your spread. Bring out Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue with chunks of dark chocolate, and drizzle a hunk of Gruyère with fig jam. Offer up some pinot noir and definitely don’t spill a little as an excuse to begin removing clothes…no…definitely don’t do that.
After a night of…whatever the night consisted of, give them a morning after to remember by crumbling Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor into quick and delicious breakfast omelettes.
The Parental Introduction
So it’s time to impress the parents. Honestly, we all know that the best method for working your way into someone’s heart is through their stomach—so why should this be any different?
Little do they have to know, you can get the shock and awe factor without breaking the bank. A few bites of Cremeux des Citeaux aux Truffes will blow them away, plus you’ll get extra brownie points for that French accent that will flawlessly lead into them being able to gab about their last trip to the South of France. Looking to keep the bad and bougie train rolling? Check out Rogue River Blue from Rogue Creamery. This blue cheese is wrapped in grape leaves that have been macerated in a pear brandy and is 1000% sure to impress even the toughest of future in-laws.
The Break Up/Make Up Maker
It was bound to happen. They genuinely can’t see your point, and you’re actually questioning their sanity in every degree. The “we’ll never go to bed angry” reasoning has gone out the door with a slam and you’re left fuming. Fast forward twelve hours, and someone is ready with an apology. Whether it was your fault or not, the best way to bury the hatchet is with whiskey and flowers, right?
Or rather, Kerrygold’s Whiskey Cheddar and Sennerei Huban’s Alp Blossom. Throw these two on a plate with a sliced apple and Speck (honestly, how can anyone stay mad when eating Speck?) and let bygones be bygones.
But also maybe wrap up any leftovers in cheese paper, just in case the drama starts up again tomorrow.
The Comfort Level Is High
Moving in together was amazing, waking up to their face is amazing, living with your best friend is amazing. But, wait, that is how you do the dishes? And, I’m sorry, they watched how many episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale without you? And, oh dear god, what on earth happened to the bathroom?
The comfort level is high, but the love is still alive! You’re committed, cheese breath and all. It’s time to leave on your sweats and bust out the funky stuff. Jasper Hill Farm’s Harbison is an incredibly soft masterpiece, wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree’s inner bark layer. Peel the top back, grab two spoons, and you’ve got a deliciously pungent night for two that doesn’t even require leaving the couch.
The “Forever” Cheese Plate
Love is patient, love is kind, love is finding someone to be cheesy with for the rest of time.
Pop the Champagne and bust out the ooey-gooiest Brie you can find. Start planning out the wedding hashtag over raspberries, fresh bread, and Délice De Bourgogne, and congrats on finding your perfect pairing.
The Love of Cheese—and Cheese Alone
Okay, so maybe your Tinder pick didn’t turn into the one. Maybe that hot Uber driver ignored your calls about definitely having “left something in the back seat,” or perhaps you’re entirely focused on the love affair you’re having with a fictional character (hellllllloooo, Steve from Stranger Things, want to get together for a cheese plate or…) and don’t want anything more anyway.
Well honestly, that’s way better.
More cheese for you.
They probably chewed with their mouth open anyway.