“Halloween starts in Salem on October 1, and runs to October 31,” says Kiri Endicott, lead monger at The Cheese Shop of Salem in Salem, Massachusetts.
For Endicott, whose father opened the store in 2015, being the last step between cheesemakers and customers is a serious role. She strives to maintain a welcoming, fun, and comfortable environment—comfortable enough that it’s not out of the question to see costumed patrons all month long, she says. So, who better to ask to assemble a platter fit for Halloween?
In “Witch City,” Halloween and autumn coalesce for prime cheese pairings. “Crisp fall air seems to put people in the cheese mood, more so than the hot, humid summer,” says Endicott. Plus, she adds, “around Halloween, people seem to be more adventurous and willing to try the weird and wonderful.”
Below, find a spread that’s creamy, spicy, sweet, and even a little creepy—so come party time, all you’ll have to pick out is your costume.
1. Colston Bassett Dairy’s Shropshire Blue
Origin: Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
Milk: Pasteurized cow’s milk
+ English Fine Cheese Co. Charcoal Squares
+ Cloister Honey with Ghost pepper.
Charcoal crackers do more than fit the color scheme when matched with this creamy, orange-colored blue. The buttery, black morsels add crunch to the bite, while whipped honey with ghost pepper lends a warming counterpoint.
2. Kaeserei Rislen’s Red Witch
Origin: Rossruti, Switzerland
Milk: Raw cow’s milk
A Small Good Meats ’Nduja
“During October, we sell a lot of Red Witch on its name alone,” says Endicott—but it’s the notes of spring onions and its smooth texture that make it a hit. Italian-inspired ’nduja from Maine—a spicy, spreadable pork sausage—is pleasingly mellowed by those allium flavors.
3. Wolf Meadow’s Stracciatella
Origin: Amesbury, MA
Milk: Pasteurized cow’s milk
Aged balsamic vinegar
Fresh pasta filata cheeses “aren’t just for tomatoes and basil,” notes Endicott. Wolf Meadow’s sumptuous stracciatella adds bright, creamy contrast to this spread, and a drizzle of dark balsamic vinegar cuts through the flavor with an enticing tartness. (Feeling spooky? Pay homage to horror films by splattering the balsamic across stracciatella—or go more ghoulish by mixing the two.)
4. Fortmatges Montbrú’s Sarró de Cabra
Origin: Catalonia, Spain
Milk: Pasteurized goat’s milk
+ Noci Verdi Candite
This pairing is like candy: tangy-sweet goat’s milk cheese and chewy green walnuts preserved in syrup. Endicott recommends dripping the luscious liquid from the Noci Verdi Candite over the cheese’s bright white paste for a gooey, oozy look.
5. Fromagerie Guillotaeu’s Brebirousse d’Argental
Origin: Lyon, France
Milk: Pasteurized sheep’s milk
+Mountain Fruit Co. Peaches a la ’Cot
Rich and buttery, this French double cream “goes with pretty much everything,” says Endicott. But before the seasons truly turn, reach for this mixture of preserved stone fruit. The flavor screams summer, but its bright orange appearance finds a home during Halloween season.
Photographed by Nina Gallant
Styled by Chantel Lambeth