13 Cheese & Preserve Pairings
RECIPES & IDEAS
Eggplant Cinnamon Jam & Sharp Blue Cheese, Grana Cheese, or Manchego Viejo
Sweet with a bit of spice to it works best with sharp blue cheese (Roquefort, Cabrales, Gorgonzola Piccante) & mature hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or Manchego Viejo.
Stone Fruit Jam & Grana Cheese or Mild Blue Cheese
Sweet & ripe flavors work great with complex & robust flavors. Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, & Grana Padano are all excellent options to pair with it. Blue cheese is another suitable pairing, but milder varieties like Gorgonzola Dolce, Danablu, or Blue Stilton would work best.
Bushel of Apple Jelly & Gruyere, Asiago, or Fontina
Sweet but with a noticeable tarn underline that works best with cheese that bridge the gap between mellow & sharp. Gruyere, Asiago (d’Allevo or Mezzano), or Fontina’s nutty & savory flavors with strong sweet undertones work great.
Cranberry, Apple, and Orange Marmalade & Brie, Camembert, or Chevre
Baked Brie & Camembert with cranberries is a classic at this point - & for a good reason! The tartness of cranberry goes best with mellow but robust & creamy flavors, & these French soft cheese varieties are the best examples. Chevre, the soft & young goat cheese, is another excellent option.
Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly & Grana Cheese, Gruyere, Asiago (Vecchio or Stravecchio), or Manchego Viejo
Cherry is another tricky option: while it’s tangy and, according to the classic formula, should be paired with mellow cheese, most cheese experts prefer pairing it with robust, sharp cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, & other hard, aged cheese. We’d say it’s more of a “jack of all trades” that can be used either way, but if you’re a fan of tangy flavors & aren’t really into sweeter jams, cherry is the exact balance of sweet-and-tangy to keep on hand.
Curried Tomato Marmalade & Mozzarella, Scamorza Bianca, or Provolone
Sweet but a touch sour (think sun-dried tomatoes if you’ve yet to try it) & pairs best with creamy, milky, mild cheese varieties. Mozzarella, Strachiattella, & Scamorza Bianca will all work great with a dollop of tomato jam on a slice. If you’re a fan of bolder flavors, try it with Provolone Dolce (young Provolone, aged less than three months), a cheese reminiscent of Mozzarella but richer & butterier.
Plum & Gin Preserves & Mild Blue Cheese, Smoked Scamorza, or Smoked Gouda
Sweet with a slight tartness that only adds to the flavor depth, it’s an excellent pairing for milder blue cheese varieties like Gorgonzola Dolce & Danablu, as well as smoked cheese, particularly smoked Scamorza & Gouda, highlighting the smokiness rather than overpowering it.
Citrus marmalades can be somewhat more challenging to pair. You need a cheese that’s not too mellow & won’t get overpowered by the zest & tang from the citrus, but also isn’t too sharp or salty because it will just amplify the bite from the zest instead of accentuating the sweeter tones, which is the cheese’s job in this pairing. Classic rich & buttery, but not overly sharp, Gouda, Taleggio, or Emmental all work for this combo.
Blueberry Jam & Manchego (Semicurado or Curado), Stilton, or Parmigiano Reggiano
Blueberry jam is a veritable chameleon. It’s sweet but slightly tangy, has a great well-balanced flavor profile, & goes well with most moderately aged to old cheese. The best are the ones with a slight bite but not overt sharpness. Manchego aged around 4-6 months or classic Stilton are the most optimal options, but put a dollop on something sharper like Parmigiano Reggiano, & it’ll still work fine.
Strawberry Margarita Preserves & Cheddar, Gouda, or Emmental
This pairing is all about classic flavors. It’s as classic as it gets, & Cheddar, Gouda, & Emmental are as close to “classic” cheese flavor as it gets. Strawberry tends to be on the sweeter side, so I’d advise avoiding milder cheese varieties, but if you want to go a bit bolder, try it with Moliterno, Manchego, or Gruyere.
Apple Hot Pepper Jelly & Ricotta, Provolone, Mozzarella, or Cream Cheese
It’s tricky in that you need something to douse the spiciness with. So, the nigh-universal formula of “balance sweetness with robustness” doesn’t really work since the sweetness is playing second fiddle to spiciness in this case. The “go with mellow when it’s zesty & tangy” formula has a higher chance of working, but there’s a chance that the spice will “swallow” more delicate flavors like brie or Camembert will get “swallowed up.” The ideal solution, in this case, would be mild & creamy cheese like ricotta, Mozzarella, or classic cream cheese, with Provolone or Scamorza Bianca as options with flavors a tiny bit stronger.
Peach Chutney & Blue Cheese, Sharp Cheddar, or Moliterno
It’s another highly sweet option that goes well with sharp, aged cheese. Stronger blue cheese like Roquefort or Gorgonzola is an ideal pairing for this one, but if blue cheese just isn’t for you, look for savory options with a well-pronounced nuttiness like Cheddar or Moliterno.
Blackberry Jam & Camembert, Chevre, Taleggio, or Mild Blue Cheese
It’s sweet but tangy, with a bit of a bite. It’s the classic option of a jam that goes best with milder, softer cheese like Camembert or Taleggio or milder, sweeter moldy cheese like Blue Stilton.