“They go together like fruit and cheese” may not have the same ring to it as “peanut butter and jelly,” but don’t let their lack of a catchphrase fool you. Fruit and cheese is the effortless combination we all need in our lives. Spanning all seasons and palates, these fruit and cheese pairings will be your new go-to appetizers and snacks.
Let’s Talk Cheese
- Soft-ripened. Soft cheeses are just that — soft. These are cheeses like Brie, feta, and Camembert. They’re easily cut with a butter knife or melt with just a bit of heat.
- Semi-soft. Semi-soft cheeses have a higher moisture content and tend to be mild in taste. As the largest category, semi-soft includes cheeses like Havarti and mozzarella.
- Hard cheeses contain 50-percent moisture levels, leaving them comfortably in the middle of soft and firm cheeses. Hard cheeses include Parmesan, Romano, and Vintage Gouda.
- These “all purpose” cheeses have very low moisture levels, which is what gives them such a tough exterior. Cheddar, Colby, Friulano, Provolone, and Gouda are all considered firm cheeses.
Pairing Fruits and Cheese
When it comes to pairing fruits and cheese, the good news is that it’s almost impossible to really mess it up. So long as you stay away from more “stinky” cheeses you should be all set! That being said, there are still a few combinations that stand above the rest.
Peaches and Mozzarella
To really bring out a peach’s flavors, try grilling half a peach before laying a thin slice of cold mozzarella cheese directly on it. Or, cut a peach into slices and add small chunks of mozzarella, basil, pepper, a pinch of salt, and oil in a large bowl.
Apples and Gouda or Cheddar
If you have a more tart apple, pair it with gouda cheese. If your apples are a bit sweeter, you may want to go with a more mild cheese, like cheddar.
Strawberries and Fontina
Make this snack into a meal by laying your sliced strawberries and fontina on a piece of buttered bread (we suggest a baguette). If you have the time, consider replacing your strawberries with freshly made strawberry jam.
Mango and Goat Cheese
The tangy flavors of goat cheese and the tropical taste of mango may not seem like an instant crowd pleaser, but these two go together better than expected — trust us!
What NOT to Pair
What’s not on your cheese platter is often just as important as what is on it, so beware of these foods:
- Citrusy fruits. Fruits that don’t belong on a cheese platter are few and far between, but there are a couple. Limes, lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines can make cheese taste uncomfortably strong or smell strange.
- Garlic or onion-seasoned crackers. If you’ll be adorning your plate with crackers or bread, steer clear of wheats with a strong onion or garlic taste. The combination of cheese and fruit is usually interesting enough, so you don’t need to over-intensify any flavors with heavily seasoned crackers.
- Spicy foods. Just like with citrus fruits, spicy foods are usually too strong to be properly paired with most cheeses — this includes seasonings and spices, like red and black pepper flakes or herbs like chervil and chives.
Now that you have your food choices picked, it’s time to find a wine that compliments them as well!