Especially during months of the year when fresh fruit is not widely available, fruit spreads are an ideal pairing with cheese. Put a dollop of these spreads on a slice of baguette with a piece of cheese and serve as a bite-sized appetizer. Or, serve the fruit spread next to a cheese plate and let guests try different fruit and cheese combinations on their own.
The dried fruits and spices in Chutney add an exciting zing of flavor to a cheese plate. A light spread of Chutney is also a good way to liven up a grilled cheese sandwich. Chutney tends to pair best with sharp white Cheddar. It can also be paired with fresh goat cheese. Either make your own chutney or try a brand like McQuade's Celtic Chutney
Although made from fruit preserved with syrup, Italian Mostarda is more spicy than sweet. The spiciness comes from powdered mustards seed, which gives off a slow wasabi-like burn. A tiny bit of Mostarda paired with Gouda, Italian Parmigiano or Pecorino is a tasting experience you won't forget.
3. Quince Paste
Also known as membrillo, quince paste is a fruit spread made from quince, a fruit with a flavor that is somewhere between a Golden Delicious apple and a pear. It has a thick, jelly-like consistency that can be cut into thin pieces, or you can spread the quince paste onto a cracker or slice of bread. Quince paste is often made with sugar and a little lemon and its sweet flavor pairs well with the saltiness of cheese.
There's a reason apple pie is often paired with Cheddar cheese - something about cooked apples with a little bit of butter, sugar and cinnamon pairs really with cheese. The apples are mild and only slightly sweet and taste great with everything from sheep's milk cheeses to Brie.
5. Fig Spread
Fig spreads sold in cheese stores are often imported from Spain and Spanish cheeses pair especially well with this dense, fairly sweet spread. Soft goat cheeses are also delicious with a smudge of fig, as is blue cheese and Brie. Trying cutting a wedge of Brie in half, filling the middle with a light layer of fig spread, then putting the top of the Brie back on and baking until the cheese is just soft. Serve with crackers.