magnify Click image to view more.

The Cheese Course: Oh, Honey

Janet Fletcher - June 23rd, 2014

Janet Fletcher, author of Cheese & Beer, Cheese & Wine, and The Cheese Course, and cheese columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for more than a decade, brings her cheese expertise to FoodArts.com.

Honey doesn’t complement every cheese, but when the hookup works, it’s sublime. And no pastry skills are required for this sweet finale.

This summer, invigorate your dessert menu with some tempting cheese-and-honey duos. Find a local honey producer—or start your own hive—to boost your locavore score. Pair subtle honeys with delicate, fresh cheeses, and more robust dark honeys with pungent wheels. A dessert wine recommendation completes the thought.

Three combinations that click:

Fresh ricotta with orange-blossom honey and poppy seeds. Consider Bellwether Farms Whole Jersey Milk Ricotta or Old Fashioned Calabro Hand-Dipped Ricotta, both impeccable. Accompany with raisin toast or biscotti, or with sliced figs, peaches, or nectarines in season.

Young goat’s milk cheese with Acacia honey and toasted walnuts. France’s Cabécou (aka Rocamadour) comes to mind, and honey is the classic companion for it. Any soft, fresh disk of goat’s milk cheese can stand in for Cabécou. Combine toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, pine nuts) and stir into warmed honey for a signature condiment.

Gorgonzola piccante with Italian chestnut honey. Deep amber, intense, and faintly bitter, chestnut honey needs a bold match. French Roquefort, Rogue Creamery’s Oregon Blue, or Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Ewe’s Blue could replace the spicy Italian cheese.

Sign up for Fletcher's weekly email newsletter, “Planet Cheese,” or sign up for her cheese-appreciation classes on her website, JanetFletcher.com.