A Cheese of One's Own

A cheeseboard can make even the most ordinary night feel celebratory. But what if you’re on your own? A giant spread isn’t always practical or affordable for a solo snacker. So, to conclude our month of cheese, we chatted with Ian Pearson, the head monger of Murray’s Cheese Bar, to find out easy cheese pairings that won’t break the bank, but still feel like a treat. Here are seven ideas for a party of one…

Seven Best Cheese Pairings: Aged cheddar and Honeycrisp apple

Aged cheddar + Honeycrisp apple. “The saltiness of an aged cheddar, along with its sharp earthy notes, makes a delicious contrast with the sweetness of a Honeycrisp,” says Ian. As if we needed another reason to be psyched for fall.

Seven Best Cheese Pairings: brie and pilsner beer

Brie + pilsner beer. Reach for this duo on nights where you want to kick back and watch reality TV. “Pilsners are light and delicate, so stay away from full-flavored cheeses that will overpower,” Ian notes. “A buttery, mushroom-y brie is a great match.”

Seven Best Cheese Pairings

Parmigiano-Reggiano + prosciutto. Introducing the Hollywood couple of cheese pairings. “It’s a classic combination for good reason,” says Ian. “It’s hard to go wrong with the buttery sweetness of prosciutto.”

Seven Best Cheese Pairings

Ricotta + tomato. Take advantage of these last weeks of tomato season with this snack. “Creamy ricotta makes a great plate fellow with a sweet heirloom tomato — the opposite characteristics balance each other out,” says Ian. Finish with a hefty pinch of sea salt.

Seven Best Cheese Pairings

Goat cheese + sauvignon blanc. “The creamy goat cheese teams nicely with a dry, crisp, tart white wine,” says Ian. “A classic baguette with a little crunch or sea salt crackers are always welcome additions, too.”

Seven Best Cheese Pairings

Burrata + arugula. “This is a fun one,” says Ian. “Burrata is hollow ball of mozzarella — kind of like a coin purse — filled with uncooked curds and cream, and it tastes delicious with arugula. When you you tear into the cheese, the cream spills out, coating the leaves like a dressing.” Sprinkle with flaky salt and fresh ground pepper. Voila, the best two-ingredient salad you’ve ever had.

Seven Best Cheese Pairings

Blue cheese + honey. If you don’t want to shop for pairings, look no farther than your pantry. “You can always just reach for honey,” explains Ian. “It successfully compliments every single cheese, but it’s especially lovely with blue.”

Thoughts? Any pairings you would recommend? Thank you so much, Ian and Murray’s.

P.S. More cheese recipes, and what it’s like to be a cheesemonger. Also, cheese makes you high!

(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo.)