In celebration of our recent Best Cheeses of the Year issue, we’re featuring four cheese plates, representing each region of the USA. We loaded up these platters with our favorite local artisan accompaniments. This week we feature cheeses and pairings from the American Midwest in a harvest-inspired platter fit for a feast.
Petit Nuage from Landmark Creamery with Ames Fall Wildflowers Honey
This dream boat’s name literally translates to “little cloud,” a nod to its airy, fluffy texture. A Wisconsin-native, this fresh sheep’s milk cheese is lush with subtle herbaceous notes, a complex grassiness, and a tang as refreshing as lemonade. We love drizzling the milky curd with this autumnal honey from Minnesota. This amber-colored honey is sourced from a single hive, that specifically pollinates a blend of Fall Asters, Goldenrod, and other autumnal flowers. The resulting honey is bursting with flavors of grapes and plums.
Trillium from Tulip Tree Creamery with Bourbon Paw Paw Jam from Home Ec Preserves
Triple cream cheeses are always crowd-pleasers, and this Indiana version is no different. The creamy interior boasts a mouth-filling earthy savor, calling to mind cultured butter and cream of mushroom soup. We paired it up with a sweet, custardy bourbon paw paw jam out of Indiana. Paw paw is a mango-like fruit native to the midwest, with a slightly acidic, tropical flavor that cuts right through the fatty cheese. The effect is slightly refreshing with an almost magical bourbon-kissed finish.
Everton Premium Reserve from Jacobs & Brichford with Spiced Almonds from Treat Bake Shop
This Alpine-style raw cow’s milk cheese is bursting with sweet, caramelized flavors and notes of toasted nuts. Aged for up to 18 months, the toothsome, golden paste is studded with tyrosine crystals. We echoed the nutty crunch with spiced almonds from Milwaukee-based Treat Bake Shop. These lightly-candied nuts get a warming complexity from sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Chase a slice of Everton with a bite of almond for a mouthful of caramelized nut butter that will bring to mind Speculoos cookies.
Big Woods Blue from Shepherds Way Farms with Applewood Smoked Potter’s Crackers
Rich and spicy Big Wood’s Blue has cemented itself as one of America’s best blue cheeses. We love the buttery mouthfeel and complex flavor that highlights the high-quality sheep milk from this Minnesota farmstead. The salty cheese is incredible alongside something sweet, but we also enjoy this creamy blue simply spread onto something crunchy. We reached for these subtly smoked wheat crackers out of Wisconsin. Their smoky flavor is comforting and gentle, yet rich enough to back up the flavorsome blue funk.