With the Superbowl fast approaching, Americans will no doubt begin to decide which team they want to win for what may seem to be arbitrary reasons. A history buff and fan of the Boston Tea Party? All right, go Patriots. Or maybe you like hiking and birdwatching? The Seahawks it is.
Here’s a thought: Let cheese be the reason you take sides this year. Consider these artisanal cheesemakers in New England and the Pacific Northwest to include on your cheese spreads and your game day parties. Not only will it elevate the quality of snacks at your party, but it will serve as yet another opportunity to pit these two regions against each other.
First, the New England cheese platter.
The well-known Vermont Creamery offers a wide variety of cheeses, as well as butter and cream, for a cheese board. Lean toward the goat cheese. Try Coupole, Bijou, or Bonne Bouche for French style cheese that all has a softer texture. They make for attractive pieces on the cheese board, and the Bijou and Bonne Bouche have a brie-like consistency, making them a good replacement for that more common choice.
Grafton Village offers a perfect spread of aged Cheddar, from the One Year Aged Cheddar—for a milder taste—to the Four Year Aged—for a mature taste and crumbly texture. If you want to experiment with some flavored cheeses, try the Maple Smoked Cheddar for a smoky addition, or, for the spice lovers, the Smoked Chili Cheddar made with jalapeños and habaneros.
Jasper Hill Farm gives you a third strong choice and new variety for the board: Bayley Hazen Blue. This blue cheese has a dense and creamy paste and balanced flavors so that blue cheese newbies won’t be scared off. Other options include the semi-soft Kinsman Ridge, which has savory flavors like roasted artichoke and asparagus.
Next, the platter for the Pacific Northwest makes a pass.
Beecher’s does have a location in New York now, but it’s known for its Seattle base and sales at the famous Pike’s Place Market. Their Flagship Cheddar is perhaps their most well known, a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese with a nutty flavor that makes a strong appearance on a cheese plate. You can also try the Flagship Reserve or Smoked Flagship for variety.
Mt. Townsend has some slightly softer cheeses to throw into the mix. The Seastack is a great and interesting choice, as it is firmer and milder at a younger age but softer, stronger, and earthier as it ages. You can look at the sell-by date to make your choice for texture and firmness. Or try the Cirrus for a French soft-ripened cheese with a gooey texture.
While not in Washington, Rogue Creamery is close enough to count and adds some blue cheese variety to your platter. Try the Oregon Blue Cheese—a firm but buttery paste. To go a little more out on the edge, try the Brutal Blue, which offers a different taste in every wheel.
Put the cheeses on different sides of the platter and only let guests eat one or the other. Make everyone eat a New England cheese when the Patriots score and vice versa. Have your guests vote on their favorite cheeses. The possibilities are endless! Although, if we’re honest here, a good cheese spread is the real winner no matter the outcome of the game.