Few things divide turophiles like blue cheese; creamy wedges laced with blue and green veins either make people lick their lips in anticipation or scurry away with a quick “no, thanks.” Grace Pullin, head cheesemonger at Talbott & Arding in Hudson, New York, says that encouraging customers to try even a mild blue requires a light touch.
And pairing a blue? That’s a whole different animal. “[Blue cheeses] are tricky because of their high salt content and potential to overwhelm the palate,” Pullin says. “To balance those bold, savory qualities, spring for sweet accompaniments.” Check out her expert sweet-and-salty pairings below, from old classics like honey to new favorites like blackcurrant preserves.
1. The Grey Barnand Farm Bluebird
Origin: Chilmark, Massachusetts
Milk: Raw cow’s milk
+ RAY TOUSEY HONEYCOMB
Crafted on Martha’s Vineyard from organic cow’s milk, Bluebird resembles a mild Stilton. Here, the cheese’s density is juxtaposed with the chewiness of the honeycomb.
2. Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Bay Blue
Origin: Point Reyes Station, California
Milk: Pasteurized cow’s milk
+ ENGLAND PRESERVES BLACKCURRANT BLIGHTY
This fudgy blue offers delightful yet subtle caramel flavors. Pullin pairs it with a slightly sour preserve to highlight the sweet and savory notes found in both foods.
3. Old Chatham Creamery Ewe’s Blu
Origin: Old Chatham, New York
Milk: Pasteurized sheep’s milk
+ TALBOTT & ARDING’S FRUIT AND NUT LOAF
Talbott & Arding makes several food items in-house, and their fruit and nut loaf pairs perfectly with the creamy, slightly crumbly interior of Ewe’s Blue. “A bit of each makes for a sweet, transcendent bite,” says Pullin.
4. Westfield Farm Classic Blue Log
Origin: Hubbardston, Massachusetts
Milk: Pasteurized goat’s milk
+ ALAN GRAY’S SEVILLE ORANGE AND SCOTCH MARMALADE
“Smooth, velvety goat logs are made to be eaten with a good marmalade,” says Pullin. Vary the distinct taste of this externally-rinded blue with crisp citrus preserves.
5. Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blu
Origin: Greensboro, Vermont
Milk: Raw cow’s milk
+ FRUITION CHOCOLATE HUDSON BOURBON DARK MILK 61%
With balanced notes of toasted nuts and anise, Bayley Hazen is approachable even for blue newbies. “I’ve eaten it with countless kinds of chocolate, but the bourbon flavor of this Fruition bar adds delicious depth that I keep coming back to,” says Pullin.