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Match Robiola with Fruity Drinks for a Refreshing Summer Treat

I’d never given robiola much thought until I met a small round wrapped in cherry leaves. On display at the Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn, New York, the little packages looked like harbingers of spring, flaunting their green coats among an array of snowy-white cheeses. A clerk offered a taste, spreading a bit on a cracker with a smear of cherry jam. “We’re buying that,” my eight-year-old said fiercely after tasting a bite. The combination was transporting, the blend of fruit, herb, and cream conjuring up dreams of summer picnics under cherry trees.

Of course, it was also terrifically expensive. But it highlighted an essential aspect of robiola: This is a cheese that loves fruit. It doesn’t matter if it’s around of Robiola di Roccaverano or a square of Robiola Bosina; if you’ve lucked into a disk of triple-milk Rocchetta, even better. Despite its many variations, robiola is, at its heart, a gentle blend of milks with an almost custardy, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Taking a cue from that leaf-wrapped robiola, look for ways to play up the cheese’s affinity for fruit flavors when pairing with drinks. Wine is an obvious go-to, especially as most robiola comes from Piedmont, home to many of Italy’s most prestigious appellations—but that wasn’t going to fly for my kids (or my breakfast, for that matter). Plus, the cheese’s delicacy makes it more challenging to pair with wine than you might think. So I scanned the world of beverages to find more options; here are some of the best I found.


Moscato d’Asti

When nothing but wine will do, look to Piedmont’s Asti region, one of the main sources of robiola. While it’s most famous for fine reds made from barbera, robiola is best paired with its slightly fizzy sweet muscats. Wines like Michele Chiarlo’s Moscato d’Asticoddle the cheese in foamy bubbles and ripe, floral flavors of apricots and peaches. Presented together, the pairing makes an elevated dessert course or a celebratory way to kick off a Sunday morning

Cherry Juice Spritzers

Unless it’s fresh and unsweetened, cherry juice has an unfortunate tendency to taste like cough syrup, so you have to be careful here. But when you can find a tart, savory, just-pressed version, like Red Jacket Orchards Tart Cherry Stomp, cut it with sparkling water to make a refreshing, garnet-hued drink that works with robiola at any time of day.

Berliner Weisse

One of the joys of the craft-beer movement has been the embrace of session beers: light, easy, low-alcohol pours with actual flavor. That includes versions of Berliner Weisse, a concoction of light beer flavored with fruit syrup that Berliners drink all summer long. In the US, Other Half Brewing betters the style with Mmm… Fruit, an ever-changing array of subtly bubbly, lightly fruited brews. The berried versions work best with robiola, balancing fruit with tart flavors


Apples and cheese may be cliché, but there’s a cultural precedent for it in Piedmont, robiola’s home region, where farmers have tended orchards since the Middle Ages. Cider, less so, but the transformation tames some of the fresh apple’s acidity, making it a kinder, gentler pairing with a delicate cheese. Look for traditional styles that rely on nothing but apples for flavor; a cider like Sundström Sponti, made from traditional varieties grown in New York’s Hudson Valley, doesn’t even let cultured yeast interfere with its subtle fruit flavor, relying instead on wild yeasts for a long, slow ferment. The process makes for a rich-textured cider, smooth, gentle, and complex as a fine robiola itself.


Made from steeping dried, pickled cherry blossoms in hot water, this Japanese infusion is one of the most delicate pairings for robiola. Slightly salty and ethereally floral, it weaves gently into the earthy sweetness of the cheese, its warmth accelerating the cheese’s melting texture. The pair makes an excellent after-dinner snack—calm and warming.

Tia Keenan

Tia Keenan is a New York–based writer, cook, and cheese specialist. She’s also the author of The Art of the Cheese Plate (Rizzoli, 2016).

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