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cheese course accompaniment?

amanda Dec 13, 2004 12:12 AM

hello everyone,
i'm looking for suggestions for things to serve with a cheese course - i.e. little bites that complement the flavors of a traditional cheese plate. in the past i've used apple/pear slices, candied pecans, fig tapenade...do you have any suggestions or recipes?

also, since we're having this for dessert we were thinks of serving small, rich chocolate cookies or truffles as well, for those who must have a sweet...any suggestions/recipes that wouldn't clash with the cheese?

its decadent, but its the holidays..


  1. a
    amanda Dec 13, 2004 07:41 PM

    thanks chowhounds, these are great ideas...i'm now so excited for christmas dinner i can't concentrate!


    1. f
      fatcat Dec 13, 2004 04:21 PM

      mejoul (sp?) dates are great with brie. I split them, take the pits out and fill them with a nice soft brie. I've also put almonds on top to finish the look. It's a good sweet accompaniment to the cheese.

      1. k
        kc girl Dec 13, 2004 11:52 AM

        Maybe funwithfood's cookie recipe she posted on this board just a short while ago would be an accompaniment?

        1. j
          jackie Dec 13, 2004 11:28 AM

          Hi, we love a fruit salsa (cranberry or cherry is our fav.) with a nice triple blue cheese and also honey on a thin slice of aged parm. is wonderful. I think the best thing we've learned about having a cheese course is to limit the number of cheeses to 3 or 4. More than that and the palate gets confused.
          As far as something sweet to have, I think I'd use a biscotti, great to dunk into port or a sweet red wine or even coffee or tea.

          1. d
            Dorothy Dec 13, 2004 11:09 AM

            A not-too-sweet cookie/biscuit would be good: I like Carr's Wholemeal Biscuits if you can find them. They're like a more robust, wheaty-nutty graham cracker.

            1. k
              Keri T. Dec 13, 2004 09:54 AM

              Honey goes very well with goat cheese, I also like dried cherries with other cheeses. At Otto, they serve all of their cheeses with three accompaniments a black truffle honey, a cherry "sauce" (more bitter than sweet) and a slightly spicy apricot "sauce," all are really good.

              1. l
                Limster Dec 13, 2004 02:11 AM

                Fruits, jams, honey, all kinds of nuts are lovely cheese accompaniements.

                Some specifics that I like:

                Dried cherries go really well with epoisses.

                Membrillo and honey with manchego.

                Crisp and sharp Chinese pears along with walnuts are great with creamy rich blue cheeses, e.g. Fourme d'Ambert, Saint Agur

                How about having the choc truffles after the cheese course to separate the flavours? You can drink port with both of them, and it could aid the transition from one course to the next.

                BTW, for those who can't drink alcohol, high quality teas can be a good substitute for wine. I find basic woodsy teas like Assam or Darjeeling go quite nicely with creamy pure-tasting cheeses like a Brillat-Savarin; most goat cheese should also be fine. There's not much of a fruit component in some of the teas that I like, but you can make up for it with dried fruits, sliced apples, membrillo etc... For more complex stuff, I'm hoping to experiment with mellow tie guan yin/iron goddess of mercy, smokey oolongs, rich peety pu-erhs etc...., but haven't had a chance yet.

                Certain varieties/grades of dragon well come with a distinctive chestnut/peanut flavour and should pair with subtle cheeses that go well with nuts. I think some of the hard cheeses might work, but again, yet to do the experiment.

                And teas will handle both cheese and chocolate too.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Limster
                  nja Dec 13, 2004 12:54 PM

                  Yeah, serve the chocolate as a separate course after you finish the cheese.

                  I like to serve a very dark, flavorful bread with cheese. Try a cranberry/walnut bread or an olive bread.


                  1. re: nja
                    kc girl Dec 13, 2004 01:48 PM

                    Maybe limpah (aka limpa) bread. It is a dark pumpernickel with orange and anise. Maybe a nearby bakery can make you some with some of their pumpernickel dough.

                  2. re: Limster
                    peppermint pate Dec 13, 2004 06:20 PM

                    Great suggestions. We had a cheese course at our wedding and served a few of the cheeses you mentioned (St. Agur, Epoisses as well as Etorki, L'Edel de Cleron and Selles sur Cher) with many of your accompaniments, including port. Some specialty food stores sell containers of dried apricots stuffed with almonds and dates stuffed with walnuts that are pretty and work well with the cheeses. There is also a dense Spanish cake made with almonds and figs that goes beautifully with sheep's milk cheeses.

                    I was out for afternoon tea recently and they served this killer Stilton with both a ruby port and some kind of smoky tea (maybe oolong?). I knew the port would go nicely but I couldn't believe how well the tea worked with the cheese. Highly recommended.

                    1. re: peppermint pate
                      Limster Dec 13, 2004 11:01 PM

                      Many thanks for the Stilton/tea rec. I'll definitely have to give the oolongs it a try.

                      1. re: peppermint pate
                        Funwithfood Dec 14, 2004 10:34 AM

                        That smokey tea was most likely Lapsang Souchong, my favorite!

                        1. re: peppermint pate
                          peppermint pate Dec 15, 2004 10:39 AM

                          I called the hotel where I went for tea and it was in fact an oolong tea that they served with the stilton.

                      2. b
                        Bunny-Bunny Dec 13, 2004 01:23 AM

                        Membrillo (Spanish quince paste) goes very well with dessert cheese courses. Also, grapes, cherries, and blackberries can work well if you can get them. Date/nut breads and things like that work well. As do dates in general. I wouldn't hesitate to include prosciutto either.

                        I've had chocolate truffles with black pepper that paired really well with big, red wines. I would imagine they would go well with your cheese plate.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bunny-Bunny
                          Bunny-Bunny Dec 13, 2004 01:39 AM

                          Oh, and marcona almonds work well too!

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