Photographed by Nina Gallant | Styled by Madison Trapkin
PARTICULAR ABOUT CHEESE PAIRINGS? SKEWER THEM!
Once defined by crackers, grapes, and a duo or trio of uncelebrated fromage, the cheese plate has really stepped up its game. A well-executed board now boasts vibrant colors, creativity, and most importantly (we hope), thoughtfully chosen combinations of artisan cheeses and paired accompaniments that are meant to sing on the palate—if your guests assemble their bites correctly. Consider a scenario when, despite your best efforts, someone brazenly excavates the oozy center of your perfectly ripened camembert, thus encouraging others to follow suit until all that remains is a deflated bloomy flap next to a lovely, untouched pot of truffle honey. Sigh…
Here is an alternative spin for hosts like me, who are inclined to hover over our cheese plate masterpiece, explaining, suggesting, and demonstrating as if our social gathering was a trade show. Consider delivering those perfect little pairings on a skewer.
Playful and versatile, a skewer satisfies our controlling nature when it comes to feeding people exactly what we intend to feed them. Want to level up your dinner party? Put together a single pairing as an amuse bouche. Assemble a few skewers on a small tray next to the bar as a cocktail pairing. Create a late-night pairing as a classy, no-fuss dessert offering. Why not add a couple skewers to that awesome cheese board you made as a passive aggressive “how-to” hint? Or better yet, craft a sticks- only board. Have cocktail picks, will pair!
GORGONZOLA CREMIFICATO + WHEN PIGS FLY ARTISAN CHOCOLATE BREAD
Origin: Lombardy, Italy Milk: Pasteurized cow
A buttery, chocolatey warm “crouton” with a creamy schmear of the sweetest and mildest gorgonzola makes hearts go pitter-patter. Cube the bread and sear it in unsalted butter to make the croutons. Add a drizzle of raw honey to win over everyone’s sweet tooth.
PECORINO DI PIENZA NERO + LUXARDO CHERRY
Origin: Tuscany, Italy Milk: Pasteurized sheep
This chic pair wants to be the most popular guest at the cocktail party. It wins as an alternative to having a Manhattan, or works well alongside one. Try to find a pecorino that is young and still semi-soft and therefore pick-friendly.
JASPER HILL MOSES SLEEPER + CALABRIAN CHILI
Origin: Greensboro, Vt. Milk: Pasteurized cow
“Wake up” the richness of this gorgeous creamy brie with a kick of heat that lingers warmly on the palate.
WEINKASE LAGREIN + SEARED GARLICKY MUSHROOM
Origin: Alto Adige, Italy Milk: Pasteurized cow
A literal umami bomb, this buttery and herbaceous wine-soaked tomme explodes with flavor alongside a meaty, earthy cremini mushroom. Accompanied by a crisp hard cider, it’s a gentle reminder that April is often still sweater weather.
MRS. APPLEBY’S CHESHIRE + HAM, PICKLED VEGETABLES, AND WHOLE-GRAIN MUSTARD
Origin: Shrewsbury, UK Milk: Raw cow
The Ploughman Skewer is perfect for your viewing party, especially when Brits are facing off on the pitch. This glorious stick features all the delicious flavors of a classic English Ploughman’s lunch, starting with the only raw-milk, clothbound farmhouse Cheshire still being made. Butter a slice of brown bread and grab hold; to go all-in, add a dollop of chutney.