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Perfect Honey and Cheese Pairings

Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2009

Just a tiny drizzle of honey is enough to complement the salty nature of cheese. But with so many different types available, it can be difficult to know which ones are a match made in heaven and which simply don't belong together. For help finding the perfect pair, read on. 

Blue cheese tastes especially delicious with subtly flavored honeys such as alfalfa and clover -- blame it on the piquancy of the cheese and the mild sweetness of the honey. Don't be afraid to experiment with bold blues (even the stinky ones!), as subtle honeys have a way of cutting spice and sharpness. 

Nutty cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano and alpine cheeses such as gruyere and comte pair well with flavor-rich varieties such as chestnut and buckwheat honey. When pairing these firm cheeses, there's no need for bread or crackers -- just break off a piece, add a dribble of the sweet stuff, and eat with your hands! 

Creamy cheeses such as goat cheese, brie, and camembert taste delicious when supplemented with a citrus honey. Amanda Parker, assistant manager of Murray's, a world-renowned specialty cheese shop in New York City, also recommends pairing creamy cheeses with honeycomb (not only does it look beautiful on a cheese board, it tastes delicious). "Honeycomb is very sweet, and it's structured enough that you can spread cheese right on top," Parker says. "Personally, I love to eat it with triple-cream cheeses." 

Most cheese shops encourage you to come into the store to sample a variety of cheese-and-honey pairings to ensure that you pick the perfect combination for your palate. Serving yours for a crowd? Uncork a bottle of dry white wine -- it's the perfect combination. (Bonus: It's in the color palette.) 

Learn more about Murray's and Amanda Parker.