Pair Your Fancy Cheese With Graham Crackers For A Delicious Contrast

From that overflowing cheese board to the last bite at an impeccable French dinner, many people gravitate toward the dairy product. Whether it's milk from a cow, goat, or sheep, the robust flavors that cheese can offer delight people. From a well-aged variety with its pungent qualities to a simple, fresh option, the flavors can be highlighted with creative pairings. Although some ideas look to charcuterie, jams, or other foods, the type of cracker on the board provides more than crunch. That choice might be the surprising flavor combination that makes people hungry for more.

When Wisconsin Cheese interviewed cheese expert Jeanette Hurt, a simple statement summarized cheese pairings. They believe that there are really no rules and personal preference should give anything and everything on the plate. But, for people who are looking for a little assistance, the idea of contrasting or complementing flavors is often the sentiment that guides the choice. Specifically, Hurt recommends answering the question, "do these strengths of flavor match." It might sound like a math question, but the flavor sum must be equal to its parts. 

For example, a pungent cheese needs something equally as strong to stand up to the taste. A milder cheese can work with a more subtle flavor. For the turophile who is looking for a new cheese and cracker combination, it might be time to steal a graham cracker sleeve from the kids' snack stash.

Graham crackers and cheese is not just a cheesecake pairing

While the classic New York Style Cheesecake has a graham cracker crust, the dessert isn't the only time where cheese and graham crackers can be flavorful friends. Even if that snack can be associated with kids who crave that sweet honey or cinnamon flavor, there are more than just two uses for the pantry staple. As one lifehacker writer asserted, graham crackers and cheese could be the food pairing that is the ultimate flavor surprise.

Although some people might scoff at the sweeter cracker and sharp cheese pairing, the reality is that contrasting flavors in foods can really work. For example, blue cheese can be pungent with its funky persona but that bold flavor is balanced by the honey notes in a graham cracker. It's almost like a yin-yang scenario. If blue cheese is too aromatic for personal tastes, sharp, aged cheddar is another potential pairing. People who are fans of cheddar on apple pie will appreciate this food combination. Lastly, a salty, sweet, savory combination like an aged bacon gouda with the graham cracker could also work well. While there will always be a place for that Ritz or even simple Carr's Water Cracker, a little variety can bring excitement to the table.

Curious cheese pairings that can elevate eating enjoyment

As the cheese plate continues to be part of the food conversation, the food-by-number approach to an overflowing board is more than just breaking down a math problem. While personal preference should always guide food choices, joining together flavors, textures, and a little creativity can make for a pleasurable eating experience. 

For example, contrasting a pungent blue cheese with a sweeter flavor often works. Whether it is a graham cracker with a Pointe Reyes blue or a milder Wisconsin Cheddar Blue with a drizzle of honey, the balanced boldness invites another sampling. Even serving blue cheese with a dark chocolate square can be quite enjoyable. 

Beyond flavor combinations, contrasting a creamy texture with a crunchy cracker can be equally enjoyable. For example, instead of serving a warm brie with a fruit compote, consider that creamier cheese with a crisp cracker studded with fruits and nuts. Whether it is a tart cranberry and walnut combination or a fig and olive oil option, the different textures can lead to eating satisfaction. Whether it is a punch to the palate or something milder, sweet, flavorful dreams are made of cheese.