Spring time is the perfect time of year for entertaining, whether it is a book club gathering, a barbecue party or a picnic. Warm weather means more time with friends and family. Cheese boards are the perfect way to add dimension to a party or a casual gathering of friends. Pair it with the right honey and it can lead to great conversations and fun stories. The combination of sweet and savory elements are represented in many cuisines around the globe, but none as simple and delicious as a plate of cheese and honey.
To start with we recommend a high quality honey. When choosing honey look for those that have the flower that the bees have gathered the nectar from, like lavender, clover, acacia, and neem to name just a few. These types of honey usually offer subtle flavors that enhance the sensory experience. Our favorite honey is Heavenly Organics. They come in a variety of flavors that pair delectably with artisanal cheeses. Heavenly Organics is sustainably sourced, where the bees live outside the box in naturally occurring wild beehives deep within the forests of central and northern India and parts of the Himalayan mountains. The forests are clean and organic and honey is gathered without any pesticides or pollutants. The honey contains essential vitamins, minerals and trace amounts of enzymes. Heavenly Organics is truly something special and is one of the cleanest sourced honey available to you. My favorite is the neem honey, it is dark, robust and a rare honey. It has a caramel, vanilla and exotic spicy undertones.
The following are classic honey, cheese and wine pairings:
- Blue Cheese – Honey and blue cheese are just divine. If you are not normally a blue cheese fan, try it with honey, you may just change your mind. Pair the blue cheese with acacia honey. The soft floral and vanilla essence of the acacia honey will mellow out the strong spicy flavors of the blue cheese. A glass of Sauternes or Vinsanto will pair perfectly with blue cheese and honey. If blue cheese is a little too strong for you, try gorgonzola.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano – Aged cheeses work wonderfully with honey. Parmigiano-Reggiano and honey is a classic combination, but also consider pecorino. Both cheeses pair harmoniously with a mild white honey. A Bordeaux blanc or a white Rhone blend would be a nice accompaniment.
- Ricotta – Soft creamy ricotta cheese smeared across a crostini and drizzled with honey is a match made in heaven. Serve with a side of berries or slices of thinly cut prosciutto. An elegant white Burgundy would be a delectable complement.
- Brie – Warm baked brie topped with honey and almonds add a gooey, hearty element to a cheese board. After baking, top off the brie with neem honey. The spicy chai like notes of the neem adds a wonderful layer to the brie, you will also pick up notes of gingerbread and toffee. Serve with a baguette or a side of berries. A soft light red wine, like a Pinot Noir would pair deliciously.
The key to pairing honey and cheese is to pair a light honey with a mild cheese and more rounded flavored honey with a more intense cheese. There are many combinations of cheese and honey pairings, don’t be afraid to experiment. Spruce up your honey and cheese pairings with a baguette, nuts, charcuterie, seasonal fruits and crackers to make a beautiful and inviting cheese board. If you are entertaining with a variety of cheeses and must choose one wine, I would recommend a dry to an off-dry Riesling . The delicate flavors of the Riesling will complement almost any cheese.