Honey + Cheese = Love
Something exciting happened in Grocery Land this week (Grocery Land being another area of our shop, which also includes Cheese World, Wine Country, and Charcuterie Acres). We received a new honey! This is not an uncommon experience since, as our grocery buyer, I’m always looking for a new cool thing to add to the honey shelf. But! This honey is an especially exciting because it comes straight from Maitland Mountain Farm in Salem, making it the honey most closely produced to our store. It is light or dark golden, has a liquidy consistency, and a floral, slightly caramely flavor. In other words, we want to pour it over everything…
Let’s focus on some favorite pairings from Cheese World.
Alp Blossom – Oooweeee Alp Blossom plus this honey just makes me so happy. The alpine flowers and herbs on the rind of this semi-firm Austrian cheese highlight those same flavors in the honey. The honey, in turn, kicks those flavors right back at the cheese so it’s nice little loop of floral flavor.
Su Entu – While I really do believe this firm sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia is always good with honey, I wanted to highlight it this week because this particular wheel is one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s a little on the young side, making it slightly smoother in texture, and the flavors are where I like them, grassy without tasting like you’re eating your lawn, sheepy without feeling like you’ve stuck your face into an actual sheep. With the added sweetness of the Maitland honey drizzled on top, dang that’s good!
Couronne de Fontenay – With a glaze of honey one top, this doughnut shaped, ash-covered soft goat cheese would look like something that should be sold in a bakery. It is one of our stronger goat cheeses, with sharp, tangy flavors, which are balanced by the floral sweetness of the honey. Have a glass of a lush, sparkling wine on the side and we’ll all be very happy.
Shropshire Blue – Obviously, we need a blue cheese in here because blue cheese and honey are good friends. I chose Shropshire Blue because it is one of our most savory blue cheeses. Instead of matching flavors, like with the Alp Blossom, this pairing is more about opposites. A drizzle of honey over a crumble of Shropshire Blue on a has a pleasant combination of flavors – savory, sweet, strong, mellow.
While these cheeses are certainly some of my first picks to pair with our new honey from Maitland Mountain Farm, the secret is that 95% of all cheese pairs really well with the sweet stuff. If you’re ever at a loss of what to put on a cheeseboard, throw on a little pot of honey and you’re good to go. Out of cheese (sad)? Dump this honey over sliced apples, yogurt, ice cream, simple vanilla pound cake, any spicy charcuterie, peanut butter toast with sliced bananas, into hot tea or coffee or whipped cream. Then POOF, that little jar is all gone!
For the love of cheese and honey,