A drizzle of sweet honey is the perfect contrast to the saltiness of cheese. Honey pairs well with a mild and nutty cheese like manchego, a tangy goat cheese or a pungent blue. Honey is meant to elevate the flavor of cheese, not smother it, so use it sparingly.What Type of Honey Should I Buy?
The vast majority of honey sold in grocery stores is a blend of honeys derived from various flower sources. It is also typically pasteurized to prevent crystallization. This type of honey has a mild and pleasant flavor and is fine for a cheese plate.
However, if you'd like to try honey with more complex flavor components, buy from a gourmet store or farmers' market. Look for honey named after flowers such as orange blossom, lavender and clover. This indicates the type of flower the bee gathered nectar from. The subtle flavor nuances in these honeys are wonderful with cheese. You can also buy flavored honey, which is infused with flavors like lavender, orange or raspberry.
Honey comes in different forms. Liquid honey is the most common. Honey is also sold with chunks of the honeycomb in the jar. You can even buy a whole piece of honeycomb with the honey inside. Many gourmet cheese stores sell honeycomb, as it is a fun way to present honey on a cheese plate.
What Type of Cheese Should I Buy?
- Blue cheese is heavenly with honey. If you usually shy away from strong blues, this is the time to be more adventurous. The sweet honey will mellow out the strong flavor.
- Ricotta drizzled with honey can be served for breakfast or even as a dessert. This pairing is fantastic with fruit like figs, apricots or berries. You can also add a salty element by serving Prosciutto on the side.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano and other aged cheeses with a slightly sharp flavor, such as cheddar, are mild and elegant with a drizzle of honey.
- Feta, goat cheese and other tangy, acidic cheeses are subdued with a drizzle of honey.
The easiest way to serve honey is to drizzle it over a wedge of cheese minutes before your guests arrive. You can also serve it on the side, but this can be messy and result in guests with very sticky fingers.
If you are serving a honeycomb, however, let the guests cut pieces of the honeycomb themselves. Leaving the honeycomb whole is visually stunning on a cheese plate.
Cheese and Honey Combinations