How to Pair Meats with Cheese

How to Pair Meats with Cheese

I’m sure you enjoy your wine with cheese. But why not take it a notch higher and pair meat and cheese, along with wine? Here’s a guide on pairing meat and cheese for your next party.

Prosciutto and Parmesan

Prosciutto is buttery while parmesan is salty, and this combination will create a sensual dance in your taste buds. This thinly sliced Italian dry-cured ham is aged, and so is parmesan, making them full of flavor.

Salami and Gouda

Salami is always a crowd-favorite, and when you pair it with gouda, which is a semi-hard cheese you get a mix of  salty, spicy, savory and sweet flavors – just the perfect combination.

Soppressata and Havarti

Soppressata, a dry salami, is nicely paired with havarti, a semi-soft creamy cheese. Havarti’s buttery taste lets the spices and herbs in the soppressata shine through while also highlighting the earthy and nutty notes of the cheese.

‘Nduja and Alpine-Style

‘Nduja is a soft, spicy pork spread guaranteed to add a kick to your spread. The Alpine-style cheese is very creamy which is perfect to take the edge off the hot peppers from ‘nduja.’

Accompaniments for Your Meat and Cheese Pairing

Pairing meat and cheese when done right, enhances the flavor and experience of each component. However, you can also add a few other accompaniments to take your cheese board to the next level.

Something Sweet

Many cheeses have light sweetness to them, so adding fruit is a great way to draw out the sweet notes. Figs work well with blue cheese or parmesan. Dried apricots are great with gouda or cheddar. Pears are perfect with feta, and cantaloupe works well with prosciutto.

Something Crunchy

Your average cheese board often has many soft textures. Adding in something crunchy adds interest and variety. Try pecans with gouda; sesame sticks with parmesan; and cashews with blue cheese.

Something Savory

Olives are always great accompaniments in your cheese board. It gives a salty blend that spice up the cheeses. Put a few Kalamatas with feta or add green olives with gouda or Swiss cheese. Cranberry chutney is particularly great with cheddar. Tiny pickles add acidity to cut the richness of emmental and salami.

Other Tips to Remember

If cheese is the main event be sure to budget about 8 oz of cheese per guest. If cheese is appetizer, 2-4 oz of cheese per guest will suffice.

Be sure to include cheeses that have contrasting textures and flavors. Including various types of cheeses will ensure your guests will have something they like.

You can also pick out some crowd-favorites especially if you have guests that are not necessarily very fond of complex cheese.

Try layering your meat and cheese on a wooden platter to render it a more rustic feel.

Go with odd numbers, like 7 cheeses and 5 meats.

Use accompaniments like jams, nuts and fruits to make the board look more abundant.

Cut a few slices of cheese to keep the platter from looking too perfect.

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