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The Peach Cheese Plate


peach focused cheese plate

Ripe peaches are the stuff of daydreams, but their splendid sweetness is as fleeting as the summer season. So, when fresh peaches are plentiful, show them off on a cheese plate—for pointers, we looked to Georgia, of course.

Mary Mayer, owner of Cheeses & Mary in Milton, Ga., shares picks that are peachy indeed. Inspired to share the stories of the people behind the products, Mayer reaches for Georgia-made whenever possible and works directly with producers instead of through distributors. “Cheeses & Mary is less about following trends, and more about relationships,” she says. “The shop is tiny”—it offers about 30 cheeses—“but my passion is great.”

For Mayer, peaches are prime for pairing, boasting a versatility that shines with a range of flavors: “You can grill them, marinate them, bake them—but just-picked has no peer!” Here, make the most of the sweet summer treat with preparations sour, boozy, jammy, and fresh.

1.
  • Origin: Climax, N.C.
  • Milk: Pasteurized goat’s milk
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Pickled Pink Perfectly Pickled Peaches

Pickled with cinnamon and red pepper and served chilled, these peaches add pucker to savory aged goat’s milk cheese. To really tie it together, reach for some prosciutto: “Think of the meat as the minister in the marriage of two otherwise disparate partners,” Mayer says. 


2.
  • Origin: Thomasville, Ga.
  • Milk: Raw cow’s milk 
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Blackberry Patch Peach Bourbon Cardamom Jam

“Georgiasquared,” Mayer says of Griffin, a beer-soaked tomme that uses local porter to impart notes of chocolate. Paired with bold and boozy peach preserves, Griffin’s malty notes really sing. 


3.
  • Origin: Indianapolis, I.N.
  • Milk: Pasteurized cow’s milk
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Fresh Peaches

This triple cream, bloomy-rind cheese has a soft buttery texture with rich, smooth flavors and gentle lactic tones. Fresh peach slices offset its richness, but don’t stop there, Mayer says—add ginger-infused honey and uncrystallized dried ginger for texture and a spicy bite. 


4.
  • Origin: Sequatchie, Tenn.
  • Milk: Raw cow’s milk
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Red winemarinated peaches

Soak peeled peaches in red wine (plus fresh herbs like basil or rosemary) for to 12 hours for a summery spin on the classic blue cheese pairing. The fruity brightness balances Bellamy’s salty, creamy finish for a combo that’s “nothing short of picture perfect,” Mayer says. 


5.
  • Origin: Austin, Ky.
  • Milk: Pasteurized cow’s milk 
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Peachbourbonthyme smash

Get ready for a bonfire gathering with this snackable cheddar and easy sipping smash: Ted’s toasty, caramel notes meld with the bourbon, while sweet peach and a hint of thyme enhance its slight fruitiness. 


6.
  • Origin: Carrollton, Ga.
  • Milk: Pasteurized goat’s milk
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Gingersnaps

This Georgia goat dairy whips peaches into their fresh chèvreMayer suggests scooping some onto a gingersnap to make this dessert cheese even dreamier: “Summer beach house mornings were made for this sweet treat.”  


Photography by Evi Abeler

Bettina Makalintal

Bettina Makalintal is culture's former editorial assistant. With a background in the food industry and as a bike mechanic, she can often be found biking in search of new donut shops.

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