Cheese for the Beach


Is there anything better than emerging from the cold ocean onto the sunny beach and being handed a full loaded, grilled hotdog? That is one of my favorite parts of summer. But it’s not all fun and games with food because: sand. Sand creeping around every corner of your picnic blanket, waiting to be kicked, blown, thrown, into your precious hamburger, chips, or watermelon. However, the pleasure of food on the seashore outweighs the sand danger for many of us, so today, I want to talk about cheese at the beach.

I was surprised our first summer in Salem with how many people asked for cheese to bring to the beach. It’s an unexpected and classy move, like bringing a bottle of your favorite chilled rosé to a football game. I’m always looking for ways to up my classiness quotient, so I tried bringing a bunch of cheese to a beach party and everyone loved it! I put it out with the usual beach snacks and people happily gobbled up every bite. 

Here are some of our current favorite cheeses that we think would pair well with the beach: Since it’s going to be hot, I don’t want to bring anything too creamy that might melt everywhere. But something like a refreshing young goat cheese, such as Capri from Westfield Farm in Hubbarston, MA is still soft but not goopy. While this cheese is prone to sand stickage, it is bright and tangy, adding an element of lightness to your beach cheese plate.

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Next, Su Entu, a firm sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia. Su Entu comes from a rocky, sunbaked island so it was basically born on the beach. Its savory, buttery quality would pair well with the smells of dry, floral beach plants and sea breezes. Also, did you drop a precious piece in the sand? Just rinse it off and it’ll be good as new!

Maggie’s Reserve, another Massachusetts native, comes to us from Cricket Creek Farm. It is sharp and robust with tart, tropical notes of pineapple and a slight caramel sweetness. This cheese is also tough, contentedly bumping around in your beach bag or tossed in the cooler with the beers. It has big flavor and the texture allows it to go anywhere.

To remind us of beaches farther south while we’re sitting on our towels in Nahant or Revere or Gloucester, I want to finish the cheese plate with Brabander. Brabander is a sweet and rich goat gouda with a snowy white color, just like the sand on Caribbean beaches. Its flavor would pair beautifully with an ice cold piña colada, preferably with a brightly colored umbrella sticking out of the top. 

So next time you are heading to the beach, throw these cheeses in your cooler for a killer beach snack.

For the love of cheeses and beach food,