How to pair cheese with nuts
by Jes @SnackFirst on Jul 12, 2022
The perfect match - Addictive crunch of nuts versus the smooth, creaminess of cheese.
Dating back to more than 4,000 years ago, nobody knows who made the first cheese. It may have started with an Arabian merchant who stored his milk supply into a pouch made of sheep's stomach. The heat from the journey caused it to curdle and unknowingly became a type of food.
Growing up, we are exposed to cheese with cheese fries, cheese slices in our sandwiches and cheese baked rice. Unlike our European counterparts, we are more into cheese derivatives, rather than slicing and eating cheese chunks on their own as snacks.
Even though cheese is not recommended in paleo diet, they are highly popular in ketogenic diet because they are high in fats, calcium and proteins. They are also rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, B, zinc, phosphorus, to name a few. In addition, cheese is a fermented food so the probiotics would help in our digestive and gut health. As we age, we tend not to drink too much milk but cheese would help to boost our calcium source. 40g of cheese daily is sufficient of our daily limit and research has shown this could improve our heart health.
First, let's start with the types of cheese.
1) Soft/Fresh cheese - Mozarella, Feta, Cottage, Goat
Fresh cheese are soft and not aged at all. With high levels of moisture, they grow moldy easily so do not sit them at room temperature for more than 2 hours. These soft cheese can be used for cooking or replace cream cheese. Salads or pizza or baked rice are some food you can typically see them.
2) Semi-hard/soft - Camembert, Brie, Edam, Emmental, Gouda
Swiss cheese is the picture you have in mind for cheese with the little holes in between. They are caused by carbon dioxide bubbles that are released during fermentation. They are sweet and melts easily, so these cheese are usually used in fondue, raclettes and casseroles.
3) Hard cheese - Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere
As they are low in moisture, these cheese have a strong flavour and more rich and complex in taste. Made usually from cow's milk, these cheese are aged for several months and Cheddar is a rare source of Vitamin K2. Cheddar cheese are typically used in cheese burgers and great in sandwiches.
4) Blue cheese
Blue bacteria is introduced so that the cheese have a sharp, distinctive flavour. The cheese will have blue spots or veins and are an acquired taste. Some say they taste like medicine while others swear by it!
Most popular cheeses
Mozarella is most popular in the world followed by cheddar and parmesan. The Americans and Europeans are top consumers of cheese while Asians consume lesser due to a higher proportion being lactose intolerant. In the supermarkets, you can see cheese bites, slices for sandwich, cubes for cutting, grated cheese for baking and so many variations.
Here are some combinations recommended by people around the world that you can try:
Almonds + Cheddar / Swiss topped with fruits - Slightly salty nuts are best with these strong flavourful cheese. As the cheese may be a bit overwhelming after several bites, some dried fruits like raisins or apricots are great to cut through the taste and give some moisture to your palate.
Pistachio kernels + Parmesan / Brie / Camembert- Pistachios have a distinctive flavour so they go well with soft and sweet cheese. Parmesan and pistachio are well know flavours to pair together even for cooking recipes!
Pecans + Brie / Gouda / Golby / Edam - Pecans are also great with the springgy semi-soft cheese and the earthy taste does not clash with the cheese flavour. You can also try honey pecans which will enhance the taste greatly!
Cashew + Blue cheese - It's a tough match for blue cheese as they taste sharp and intense but we think cashews are quite a good match. Pair them with crackers or even topped with some almonds, they could be quite tasty. Even better, have some wine together so you can properly start the party!
Honey walnuts + Goat cheese - Goat cheese has such a unique taste so this is for the adventurous only. The saltiness blend well with sweet nuts and walnuts are highly popular to mask the nut's earthy taste.
Chocolate coated nuts + Gruyere cheese - Chocolate coated nuts are sweet yet with a hard crunch inside so Gruyere cheese are frequently eaten together. Depending on preference, you can go with dark chocolate for bitter tones or milk chocolate for more sweetness.
Popular nuts include almonds, walnuts and pecans and they pair well with almost any cheese. Usually a cheese platter will also come with some crackers for some munching activities. Fresh or dried fruits are also included in the party as they are sweet and moist.
Let us know what you have tried and happy snacking!