Halloween is my absolute favorite time of the year and of course I wanted to take a little time to create some beauty shots of my favorite cheeses for spooky season.
When it comes to cheese, I find a lot of people feel intimidated with dreaming up pairings.
Much like within wine; there's feels like there is a bit of "gatekeeper" type energy. Folks feel they may do something wrong or create a pairing that shouldn't be paired, and those feelings can keep them away from the fun of exploration.
To me, that's where the magic happens, when you skirt the rules and go off intuition and personal enjoyment.
That's how I have found some of my favorite pairings!
And to get you started on your own journey, I have laid out a few of them for you to try:
Ski Queen + Candy Corn. Ski Queen, AKA Gjetost, is one of those cheeses I love to put on a board because inevitably someone will come find me and ask what it is. Its like nothing else- rich and nutty like an aged Gouda but with a really silky, semi-hard texture that has a mouth feel like fudge or caramel. Because its so nutty and caramel-like, it pairs really well with Mallow Cremes and Candy Corn, which amplify the notes in the cheese, making it taste somehow even more caramelized and delicious. Trust me, I was not a Candy Corn fan until this combo, either.
Blue Cheese + Chocolate. I know, A LOT of folks don't like blue cheese. Many for the strong flavor, others because of the mold (I hate to break it to you, but there's mold and other things going on with plenty of other cheeses you may love). While there are brands of blue that are milder or funkier than others, it can certainly be an acquired taste. One of the ways to ease yourself into blue is by pairing it, I really love it with a snappy dark chocolate or a milk chocolate buttercream. The sweetness and slight bitterness of the chocolate works really well with the acidic, pungent vapors of blue.
A cheese that is blue adjacent to me is Humbolt Fog by Cypress Grove, a goat milk cheese that has a beautiful ash line in the center and has those creamy, tangy notes of fresh goat cheese with a bit more complexity. Its also made with microbial rennet, which is vegetarian friendly.
Marieke Thorp Gouda + Gummies. Marieke makes killer raw milk gouda all the way up in Thorp, WI (where my family of dairy farmers hails from!!) and this cheese is an ode to the area; soaked in wine it takes on some of those tannic qualities and can visually be seen delicately coloring the cheese with a rosy hue. Gouda is rich and buttery with lots of nutty or sometimes fruity notes, the bright sweetness of gummy candies really cuts through some of that richness and brings out the more playful, bright notes.
Plus, there is something really yummy about the texture of the gummies in conjunction with the crunchy tyrosine crystals found in an aged gouda.
Do you have any unusual pairings that you love? A cheese that is always on your board? Hopefully you have found a couple more to add into the mix!