Pairing Varietal Honeys with Cheese

There are many classic sweet and savory pairings that combine beautifully. Cheese and fruit, for example, come to mind. But have you tried the more uncommon combination of cheese and honey? The savory pungency of a firm, sharp cheddar juxtaposed with the oozy consistency of honey is…delectable. And surprisingly, or not, cheese and honey combinations are found classically in many cuisines throughout the world.

Varietal honeys, also known as single-source honeys, are made from bees that feed largely from one source of nectar, such as orange blossoms or eucalyptus flowers. Color, flavor, and even texture can vary depending on the nectar, producing honeys with a range of colors. Some have herbal notes; others may taste flowery, or even slightly tangy. The difference between a varietal and a store-bought honey (made from bees that pollinate over many different flowers) is significant. For a superior culinary experience, it is well worth seeking out a good varietal if you plan to pair it with a cheese whose flavor profile is also unique and has complexity.

Nutty Cheeses

Honey combines well with aged cheeses having a particularly nutty flavor. Parmigiano-Reggiano, Cheddar, Comté and Gruyère are a few cheeses known for their nutty profiles.

Piquant Cheeses

Sweeter honeys juxtapose beautifully with cheeses of a strong piquant quality, like Roquefort, gorgonzola or bleu.

Sweet and Creamy Cheeses

Less sweet honeys marry well with slightly sweet and creamy cheeses like D’Afinois, Brie or Camembert.

Newly arrived at the Cheese Shop, we have acacia and chestnut honeys from Tuscany, Apicolultura Dr. Pescia, and wildflower and acacia varietals from Tutti Amici. These honeys pair excellently with any number of our imported cheeses. Like anything, finding the right honey and cheese combination is a matter of personal taste and the possibilities for good pairings are endless.  But when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask us about pairing suggestions.

When eating cheese with honey, we recommend that you drizzle lightly and only right before serving. A heavy handed drizzle can result in sticky fingers. Alternatively, you can place honey in a little dipping dish with a small spoon so guests can add it on themselves, to their taste. Bon Appetit!

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