If you love honey, you will love cheese and honey even more. This paring will linger with you like a deep romance. As the holiday season approaches it is not too late to find a honey for your cheese board.
First things first. With honey, I always like to start local. There is nothing that pleases me more than to support the bees that pollinate the flowers in my neighbourhood in London. Also as a member of the London Beekeepers’ Association, I am proud to support small scale artisan beekeepers from my home city. However, it is not always easy to get local honey as demand far outstrips supply (particularly in the run up to Christmas – see my honey gift article here).
Gourmet Honey and Single Variety
However, there are many that delis and food shops that stock a variety of gourmet honeys around the year, which are worth experimenting with. In particularly single variety honeys are very special and worth looking into if you are considering cheese pairings. Single variety honeys are made from bees that feed mainly on one flower type, for example, rosemary, orange and lavender, or some other flower. The difference is staggering, and it’s definitely worth seeking out the varietal honeys if you’re going to pair them with cheeses whose flavours are equally unique and deep. Another option, , is to find honeys infused with herbs or extracts.
Dark Honey and Hard Nutty Cheese
Honey goes really well with sweet and nutty cheeses, think aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, maybe even a hard Cheddar, or any of the alpine cheeses (Comté, Gruyère, Appenzeller) , they all pair nicely with honey—in particular, with the dark and nutty honeys like chestnut or buckwheat.
Light Honey and Sweet and Creamy Cheese
My favourite cheeses tend to be more sweet and creamy, and cheese board aside, honey with fresh ricotta on toast and a dusting on cinnamon is a great go to comfort breakfast. Other cheese to look out for are goat cheese, or feta. I like to pair these cheeses with light citrus honeys like lavender, thyme or orange blossom.
Mellow Honey and Salty Blue Cheese
Blue cheeses are another good choice with honey, as the mellow sweetness of the honey cuts the saltiness. However the big flavours of blue cheese can sometimes be too much with a bold honey. If so, go for a light mellow honey so you don’t get competing flavours.
How much Honey?
In terms of how much honey to eat with cheese, you don’t need much to make this pairing come alive. Try a drizzle.