Cheese is wonderful on its own, but like pairing the right wine with the right food, cheese pairings can bring out unique aspects of both the cheese and the item paired with it. Like wine pairings, many things are taken into account when deciding what item taste best with which cheeses. For example, one could pair Italian items with Italian cheeses, or try to balance out the saltiness of an aged Parmigiano-Reggiano with the tart sweetness of a marmalade. Items paired can elevate the flavor of a cheese by contrasting its saltiness with some sugar: bringing out unexpected notes like grassiness or nuttiness and adding textural complexity to each mouthful. They can help cut a cheese’s richness with acidity or spice, or balance earthiness with a touch of sweetness.
Though I offer my favorite cheese pairings for several of our sauces and spreads below, don't let that stop you from serving them with another cheese that you think would go well. Creative flavor pairings are half the fun when it comes to building your own cheese plate or charcuterie board!
Here are some of the happy marriages we have discovered over years:
Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread - The lush sweetness of figs is balanced by the subtle hint of heat from the blistered jalapenos, creating an aromatic bouquet of flavors. This pairs beautifully with Mascarpone in filo shells. Other suggested pairings include White Cheddar, Gouda, Gorgonzola, Stilton Blue Cheese and Sage Derby.
Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Spread - Rich and savory with a hint of sweetness, this versatile spread is part condiment and part jam. Delicately balanced with black garlic, shallots, and finished with aged balsamic. Spread it over a wheel of brie cheese to heat and serve with crostinis for an easy appetizer. Other suggestions would be Parmesan, Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola.
Calabrian & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread - From the hills of Calabria, these complex peppers balance spicy, fruity, smokey, and salty flavors with sweet tomatoes and the subtle hint of fennel. I typically pair this on bruschetta with Manchego and a chiffonade of fresh basil. Other delicious options would be Asiago, Goat Cheese, Parmesan and Fresh Mozzarella.Saigon Street Sauce - An exceptional balance of heat and sweet roasted garlic flavor. This mustard-based pepper sauce harmonizes well with Sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Manchego and Havarti. Whether you choose to take my suggestions or make your own delicious pairings, Bellisari’s are the perfect addition to any cheese plate!