Here at Formaggio Kitchen, we are often faced with the question of what pairs well with each cheese. Whether it's a Mousquetaire Black Cherry Jam from France, Valiser Quince Paste from Spain, or Wood's Apple Cider Jelly from Vermont, we are constantly seeking out the best accompaniments to all our favorite cheeses.
One of the best bites I've had was during a honey and cheese pairing class held at our classroom Annex. Julia, head buyer and cheesemonger, was teaching a honey and cheese pairing class. As we were cleaning up after the class, Julia asked me to taste something she had put together. It was a bit of Jasper Hills Cabot Clothbound Cheddar topped with Aquidneck honeycomb served on top of Vermont-made Castleton Maple Crackers. The sharp, salty cheddar and the sweet maple cracker and honey work harmoniously in an explosion of flavor.
When I asked my colleagues to share their favorite pairing, I received a plethora of answers. Laura loves Effie's Oatcakes with cheddar. I would have to agree as flavors of cheddar and anything that subtly sweet work well together. Jeremy enjoys Galletine olive oil crackers with gooey, goat's milk cheese like Robiola Incavalota or Castagnino. Beth enjoys Olof Viktor's Crispbread Crackers with aged sheep's milk cheeses like Manchego or Brebis du Haute Bern, which also pairs nicely with Black Cherry Jam.
My personal favorite pairing would have to be Onesto sea-salt crackers with fresh goat’s milk cheese like Selles Sur Cher or Valencay, both from the Loire Valley in France. The flecks of sea salt on the crackers help bring out the tang in these fresh cheeses.
Onesto means honest in Italian. Jane Ciccone and her husband Jesse started the company in an effort to enjoy healthier foods without sacrificing flavor. Jane makes her crackers in small batches in Newburyport, Massachusetts using potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and a few other ingredients -- none that we can't pronounce. The best thing about her crackers, besides the great flavor, is that they are also gluten and dairy free!
Next time you're here at Formaggio Kitchen, ask your cheesemonger to suggest a cracker pairing -- I'm sure you’ll discover something delicious!
Author - Serdar Sinaci is the cracker buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.