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Cheese Lands 2015: Crackers


This August 7-9, prepare yourself for a cheesy musical odyssey the likes of which you’ll be jazzed to hear about—culture: the word on cheese is partnering with Napa Valley winery Long Meadow Ranch to bring you Cheese Lands, your one-stop shop for cheesy treats at this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park! Each week until the event itself, we’ll dive deep into the six cheese and charcuterie plates we’ll have for sale; take a look at our main page for the full menu.


An under-considered component of any cheese plate is the cracker/crisp category. Whether you are complementing flavors, cleansing your palate, or simply munching idly, its important to have the right bit of starch on hand. Here are some of our favorites that we will be using on many of our Cheese Lands plates!

Effie’s Homemade

Photo Credit: Effie's Homemade

Photo Credit: Effie’s Homemade

I’ll just warn you now to tread lightly around Effie’s—these savory crackers are almost impossible to put down. You think you’ll just eat one, but before you know it, you’ve eaten out all the Whole Foods in the area and you start getting Low Balance notifications on your phone. Whoops. We’ve chosen the Ryecake and Corncake varieties for our plates, but all flavors have the potential to pair well. From their website:

Inspired by regional recipes of the Americas—cornmeal flatbreads, corn pones, johnnycakes—Effie’s Corncakes are crisp tea biscuits with a homey, toasted corn flavor and a hint of anise.

Rustic Bakery Pan Forte Crostini

Photo Credit: Rustic Bakery

Photo Credit: Rustic Bakery

The so-called “strong breads” from Rustic Bakery are a little thicker and heartier than your average crisp. Flavors range from Hazelnut and Sultana to Pecan, Rosemary, and Cranberry. The online store recommends their own pairings for each flavor, in case you are searching to partner a specific cheese. We include Rustic Bakery on our White and Red Wine plates, as well as our Cheesemonger’s Pick plate.

La Panzanella Mini Original Croccantini

Photo Credit: La Panzanella

Photo Credit: La Panzanella

For a lighter accompaniment, La Panzanella provides a refreshing and simple cracker that is flavorful but doesn’t overwhelm. Croccantini know that the cheese is the star of the show. From the La Panzanella website:

A favorite of chefs and other food lovers, our pure and simple Original Croccantini create a perfect complement to flavorful cheeses, tapenades, and charcuterie. With just a touch of coarse sea salt, these crisp, light crackers enhance any accompaniment.

34 Degrees Natural Crisps

 Photo Credit: 34 Degrees

Photo Credit: 34 Degrees

Hailing from my native Denver, 34 Degree crisps are a staple at any culture office tasting. These deliciously airy crackers come in a variety of flavors, of which Rosemary is my personal favorite. They serve their job well in any pairing, and they’re an ideal light snack even if you don’t have any cheese handy. This a great versatile item to stock up on!

Feature Photo Credit: Effie’s Hommemade

Robbie Herbst

Robbie Herbst is a summer editorial intern and an undergrad at Dartmouth College, where he enjoys access to the unimaginably quaint cheese-makers of the upper valley. When he isn’t writing or playing violin, he likes to take bricks of Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar on long hikes through the White Mountains.