Round out your award-winning dessert cheese plate with these showstopping accoutrements.
Fat Toad Farms Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce
This sweet spread, produced in the style of Mexican cajeta, proves there’s nothing wrong with a little dairy-on-dairy pairing. Pure cane sugar and fresh goat’s milk are cooked for over five hours in copper kettles until the mixture is velvety and drizzle-ready. We love that Fat Toad concocts blends with cheese on the brain; an entire section of their website is devoted to pairing inspiration. Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise drizzled with Salted Bourbon caramel? Vermont Shepherd Verano laced with Cinnamon caramel? Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue dolloped with Original caramel? Yes, please.
There’s no denying it: hard cider is having a moment. That’s great news for cheese lovers, as the boozy beverage plays especially well with curds. From bitter hopped ciders to dry Spanish sidras, there’s a huge range of flavors and styles, and, like wine, it can be either sparkling or still. But if you’re looking for a version that will pair well with almost any cheese, Eden Ice Cider is the way to go. Decadently thick and rich, the sweet elixir is crafted from partially frozen heirloom Vermont apples. Serve it alongside a cheese plate in lieu of dessert for a luxe nightcap.
Harper Macaw Chocolates
Those of us woke to the wonders of pairing cheese with chocolate know there’s no shortage of single-origin bars to experiment with. This selection from Harper Macaw—a Washington D.C.-based purveyor focused on Brazilian cacao beans—is keeping us plenty busy with their flavored bars ranging from Bordeaux Barrel Aged to Grapefruit Soda. Food educator and cheese expert Vanessa Chang loves to pair the 57- and 77-percent cacao “Rainforest Estate Blend” bars with low-acidity, creamy blues like Stilton or Fourme d’Ambert. With the chocolate’s slight sweetness and dried-fruit flavors, it’s a bit like pairing with port—but even more complex on the finish. “The last lingering flavor is this pleasant herbaceous mint,” Chang says. “It’s crazy and so good.”
Maine Crisp Co. Cinnamon Maple Crisps
While the world of gluten-free crackers has expanded over the past few years, there aren’t many that can truly stand up to a creamy wedge of cheese—but these can. Maine Crisp Co. Cinnamon Maple Crisps are plenty sturdy and pack a wallop of warm spice flavor from organic cinnamon and pure maple syrup. Slather them with fresh goat cheese for an easy post-holiday breakfast, or crumble them atop mascarpone ice cream for a creamy-crunchy dessert.
American Spoon Sour Cherry Spoon Fruit
Tart cherries are most famous as pie filling, but who says they can’t star on a cheese plate? American Spoon Sour Cherry Spoon Fruit is a hearty preserve made from whole Montmorency cherries and a dose of concentrated juice. The sweet-tart flavor and chunky texture of the jam is the perfect foil for smooth, creamy yogurt and rich fresh cheeses. Our favorite pairing, though, is a riff on a Basque classic—fresh sheep’s milk cheese (try Hidden Springs Creamery Driftless) swirled with the spoon fruit.
Photographed by Mark Ferri
Styled by Leslie Orlandini