How to Make a Floral-Inspired Cheese Plate | culture: the word on cheese
☰ menu   

How to Make a Floral-Inspired Cheese Plate

Photographed by Nina Gallant | Styled by Madison Trapkin


Hearing the word floral may conjure Meryl Streep’s deadpan delivery of her famous Devil Wears Prada line, “Florals for spring. Groundbreaking.” Despite the sarcasm, florals in food aren’t exactly mainstream, and many people pause at the idea of petals on their palates. For example, it’s all too common for folks to think lavender tastes like soap, and many will side-eye the notion of eating a dandelion. However, when paired with cheese, florals bloom.

“I grew up in a floral shop, and we used to eat flowers all the time when I was a kid,” says Michele Adams CCP, Manager of New Jersey’s Olsson’s Fine Foods and a 2023 World Cheese Awards judge. “We used to eat marigolds and pansies—that was always something we’d do without thinking too much of it.” Many floral cheeses highlight regional terroir. If the animal regularly feasts on a particular flower, one might envelope the cheese’s rind in that same flower (or incorporate it into its interior). This yields an unexpected flavor profile, an exquisite appearance, and a delightful aroma. Adams notes a key component of selling a floral cheese to a wary customer is simply convincing them to taste it. “Our biggest thing is making sure you try it. We’ll open just about everything in the store. We know the stories. We’ve met the farmers. We’ve been on the farms. We’ve made some of the cheese. We’re very hands on.”

Like so many independent retailers, Olsson’s relies on a strong personal connection with their patrons to educate and encourage customers to sample outside their comfort zone. Adams notes, “A lot of people really want to know where their cheese is coming from. We’re able to share that with them on a more intimate level.” Since opening in 2011, the Princeton, New Jersey, shop offers catering and cheekily named “Cheese U” classes focused on hands-on instruction in mozzarella making and creating unusual pairings. Adams’s journey brought her to Olsson’s at the start of COVID after a short detour from the food business and a 16-year stint with Wegmans Food Markets prior. “I got tired of what I was doing, and really had a lot of cheese knowledge and missed using it, so when this position came open, the stars aligned.”

Adams is prioritizing more travel for cheese in 2024, including hopes for another World Cheese Awards judging invite. Until then, she’ll continue fostering relationships with her devoted clientele at Olsson’s, encouraging them to broaden their cheese horizons. If someone insists they don’t like a particular style of cheese, Adams jokes, “You just haven’t found the right one.”

1. LA GRUTA DEL SOL CON FLORES + Mitica Orange Delights
Origin: Spain Milk: Pasteurized Sheep

The sweet and citrusy flavor of these oranges combined with Con Flores’ marigolds and other edible flowers makes this a unique pairing. Dark chocolate adds a complex yet pleasant bitter layer, while offsetting the floral notes of the cheese.

2. ALP BLOSSOM + Divina Caramelized Onion Jam
Origin: Austria Milk: Unpasteurized Cow

For a show-stopping fondue, try shredded Alp Blossom mixed with caramelized onion jam for your next recipe. The cheese’s floral and nutty flavors, combined with umami notes from the onions, ignite a unique flavor explosion.

Origin: Greenville, Indiana Milk: Pasteurized Goat

Caramel plays well with fragrant rose and tangy goat cheese. Plus cookies are a cheerful alternative vessel.

4. UBRIACCO PINOT ROSÉ + Marché Berber Saffron Vanilla Honey
Origin: Italy Milk: Pasteurized Cow

For a burst of flavor, drizzle saffron honey on this wine- soaked cheese to complement its crisp and fruity rosé notes.

Origin: Thurman, New York Milk: Pasteurized Goat

Enjoy this duo as a quick and easy dessert-like appetizer that marries spicy ginger in the biscuit with the aromatic lavender of this soft and

Mallory Scyphers

Mallory Scyphers is culture's Executive Content Director and has been with the company since 2019. She lives on Mobile Bay with her husband, two young daughters, one old Shetland Sheepdog, one rambunctious golden retriever, and one calico cat. Her favorite cheeses are alpine styles and mineral-y blues.

Leave a Reply