Like in April 2014, we were presented with a collection of English cheeses this year. However, unlike last April, I was prepared for their weird composition.
Unlike the other cheeses we receive throughout the year, the English cheeses are typically infused with different flavors. It seems a little strange, but I tried to base our charcuterie board around these unique flavors and really get to the heart of appropriate pairings.
First up was the Wensleydale with cranberries, a primarily-cow’s (with a little bit of sheep’s) milk cheese infused with cranberries. While you wouldn’t think of a cheese as sweet, this works very well as a dessert supplement. We got some praline balsamic vinegar from our Robbin’s Family Farm olive oil club, and the nutty, chocolatey flavor was the perfect complement to the sweet, crumbly Wensleydale.
On the other end of the flavor spectrum, the onion & chive double Gloucester cheese was tangy and savory. This was a natural pair to the salty meats from our charcuterie board. This would be a great complement to a burger or a sandwich, or even just sliced up on some crackers for a snack.
Our third English cheese brought us back into a sweet flavor profile. This cheese truly tasted like a dessert, and it would be great as part of an after-dinner cheese plate with some coffee. I picked up some fruit biscotti from one of the local Italian shops in Bloomfield, and the pair was a great match. An even better match? A glass of tawny port.
Finally, the Red Leicester Cheddar was more of a traditional cheese. It was sharp and versatile, and it paired well with basically all of our accompaniments. Again, this would be a good “cheese & crackers” cheese, or a hearty topping for a burger on the grill.
The flavor-infused cheeses of England are a little more difficult to pair than the traditional cheeses we usually eat, but with the proper pairings, you can absolutely incorporate these into your cheese repertoire!