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. Our final platter features cheeses and pairings from the American West in a bright, festive platter abloom with the colors of a Pacific sunset.
Fresh Chevre from Briar Rose Creamery with 34 Degrees Sweet Lemon Crisps
This smooth and velvety fresh chevre has lush notes of sesame seeds and vanilla bean with a soft lemony finish. This spreadable goat cheese is perfect for elevating scrambled eggs or pairing with pinot noir and hoppy beers. We love amplifying its citrusy flavors by spreading it onto one of those zingy lemon crisps from Colorado. The texture-contrast and marriage of flavors remind us of lemon bars in the best way.
Dream Weaver from Central Coast Creamery with Elderberry Blossom Jelly from Lemon Bird Preserves
Dream Weaver is not only the newest cheese from this California creamery, it’s also the company’s first washed rind. The pudgy three-pound wheel boasts warm yeasty notes and a creamy texture that melts in the mouth with a soft note of bergamot. Cut into triangles and top with this fruity jelly infused with the tiny blossoms from elderberries. Its slightly earthy, well-rounded raisin flavor and teases out the funky, bright complexity in the goat cheese.
Blackstone from Bellwether Farm with Orange and Blood Orange Dardimans Crisps
A gentle blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk, this golden-hued Californian is studded with whole black peppercorns and rubbed with a blend of ash, ground pepper, and rosemary. Rich with caramel sweetness, the firm paste fades into an intriguing herbal finish. Bright and pleasantly bitter citrus crisps bring a lovely balance to the sweet curd while flirting with the savory pepper notes for a bite that’s as delicious as it’s beautiful.
Echo Mountain Blue from Rogue Creamery with Cabernet Cracked Pepper Jam from Three Little Figs
The only mixed-milk blue from Oregon’s famed Rogue Creamery, Echo Mountain’s ratio of 20 percent goat’s milk and 80 percent cow’s milk makes this wheel really standout. Owner David Gremmels describes the flavor as a “triad of peppercorns… velvet in texture.” He loves enjoying a wedge with a full-bodied red, the bigger the better. We played off his tasting and pairing notes with this peppery wine jelly out of Oregon. The full fruity flavor stands up to the rich blue funk while teasing out those addictive pepper notes.