Cheese and fruit are a classic combination for a reason – the flavors of a sharp, salty cheese with sweet fruit, or a tart fruit with a creamy cheese, are some of the most complex and complementary out there! Learning how to pair cheese and fruit effectively and confidently can really take your meals, snacks, and entertaining to the next level!
When pairing any foods, you want to follow a couple of simple rules. You should make sure that when pairing cheese and fruit, you highlight the flavors of each piece, rather than letting one or the other overpower the pairing. You should also make sure to have contrasting – but complementary! – textures. No one likes eating something that has one texture, so mix it up!
There are some classics like apple and cheddar – a good example of sharpness complementing sweetness, and a firm but creamy texture playing well with a crunchy one. Also, figs, pears and grapes go well together with pretty much every cheese there is! However, don’t be afraid to think outside the tried and true :) Experimenting with flavors is part of the fun of learning to pair foods!
Here are some interesting combinations that highlight several different flavors and characteristics of both the cheese and the fruit:
- Strawberries and Ricotta. This one is another classic, but is so good I had to include it. Ricotta can be sweet or savory, and strawberries walk the line between sweet and tart, so you can pair these two adaptable flavors with ease! Bonus: this is a perfect pairing for brunch too, with a schmear of ricotta on toast topped with some macerated strawberries and maybe a pinch of sea salt. Take the pairing beyond the cheese board!
- Goat cheese and cherries. Goat cheese is sharp and creamy, while cherries are sweet and have a crunch – it’s all about balance! This would be great on toast or a bagel, or even crumbled on a salad.
- Blue cheese and grilled peaches. Blue cheese can be mild or super pungent, but peaches can play the perfect foil, especially when grilled to bring out their natural sweetness.
- Cranberries and mozzarella. Cranberries are tart and have a great crunch to them, while mozzarella is smooth and creamy. The perfect pairing, especially since neither one has intensely bold flavors that take over.
- Blueberries and feta. Feta cheese has a distinct flavor, but luckily, blueberries are mild enough to take on some of the tanginess. Wouldn’t a feta and blueberry muffin even be lovely?
- Oranges and brie. Citrus and cheese? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Brie is salty and creamy, and blood oranges need a little salt, and are not as tangy as regular oranges, and are almost savory. Plus, they’re beautiful together on a tray, making this pairing interesting, pretty, and satisfying.
Pairing cheeses with fruit should be approached like any other pairing experiment – with trial and error. Some pairings you’ll like, and some you won’t, and some you’ll love! But with these rules, and some ideas for guidelines, hopefully your pairing will be easy and delicious! For other delicious things to include with your cheese and fruit for amazing cheese platter presentation, see my guide on how to make a cheese board.