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Sweet Finish: Pairing Cheese with Dessert

Here at culture, we believe in eating cheese before, during, and after each meal. But especially after — that last taste lingering on your palate is what you always remember most. 

Take a cue from the French, who often end their meals with a cheeseplate. We think that’s a pretty great idea, but if you still need a jolt of caffeine or a sweet fix at the end of the meal, here are the cheeses to string along for the ride. 

Cheese and Coffee

There are cheese people and there are coffee people. But that’s not to say you can’t be both! There’s a reason we lauded the duo in our Cheese+ issue– when you match the right varieties, the flavors sing in perfect harmony. If you’re skeptical, think back to the time you had a coffee with a mascarpone mousse or slice of ricotta cheesecake. Pretty heavenly, right?

When pairing cheese with coffee, you’ll want to watch out for acidic cheeses. Experience shows that chasing blue cheese with coffee leaves a pretty bad taste on the palate, thus convincing us that all blues are universally incompatible (though if you stumble upon a variety that works, let us know!)

Blues aside, there are many varieties whose taste, temperature, and texture bring out the best in coffee. For a simple match, sip Counter Culture Coffee Remera alongside Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam. If you’re looking to up the flavor profile on both ends, pair Max Schmidhauser’s Tomme de Crayeuse with Ristretto Roasters Nicaraguan Maracaturra. Feeling adventurous? Pair zippy Shellbark Hollow Farm Sharp Chevre with ReAnimator Coffee Roasters Columbia Gaitania.

Cheese and Chocolate

Double up your indulgence by nibbling a chunk of cheese alongside a slab of dark chocolate. With two treats so delicious, it might be tempting to put any two together willy-nilly. But we’d suggest you slow down and really consider the particular flavor notes and textures of each so as to maximize your tasting experience. 

If you’re stumped, here are a few winning combinations to get you started: For a luxurious treat, pair silky Coach Farm Triple Cream with rich Naive Milk Chocolate Papua New Guinea. If you’re of the camp that likes salty with butterscotch, you’ll love Beemster Extra Aged Gouda with Gail Ambrosius Caramels. And sharp and creamy melts into rich and earthy when you spread Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue across a piece of Fine & Raw Mesquite chocolate.

Want more chocolate and cheese pairing tips? We break it down for you further right here.

Cheese and…Brownies?

Perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more decadent to eat along with your cheese. In that case, let Leslie U., cheesemonger for Di Bruno Bros. guide you through how to pair cheese with the brand’s new artisan brownies.

She suggests topping Di Bruno’s “Blonde Ambition,” which is filled with heath, macadamia nuts, and white chocolate caramel with gooey Allagash Saison Malgaiola Due Latte. As for “The Salted Caramel?” Leslie suggests topping it with light, creamy lemon frozen yogurt. But it’s “The Brookie” that gets the star treatment with a generous dollop of mascarpone:

This chocolate chip brownie gets loaded with sweet and tangy cherry-swirled mascarpone cheese, fennel and red chili prosciutto and is topped off with a juicy bing cherry. One bite and you can taste pure umami decadence.  Sweet, creamy mascarpone serves as the whipped cream-esque topping and we threw a cherry on top for good measure… because let’s be honest, this thing deserves it.


Amanda Minoff

Amanda recently graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a degree in English Literature and Art History. She is a reader and writer of fiction and loves cheese that tells a good story.