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The Art of Pairing Nuts and Cheese: A Guide for Flavorful Combinations

One of the keys to any successful cheese paring is having varying textures in the accessories, and what better add-on than nuts? Become a cheese connoisseur by learning the art of pairing nuts and cheese. You'll notice that every nut complements perfectly with a distinctive cheese.

nuts and cheese on a cutting board

The smooth creaminess of cheese against the crunchy goodness of nuts is a culinary masterpiece. While nut textures are similar, there are still distinctive qualities. Nuts like cashews are buttery, while crunchy hazelnuts are more bitter. To make a perfect pairing, you need to understand and appreciate the isolated qualities of different nuts and cheese, and how they combine.

Read on to learn how and why you should add nuts to your cheese board condiments.

Why Nuts and Cheese Complement Each Other

Cheese and nuts share multiple characteristics that make the combination blend perfectly. The two have rich aromas, texture, and flavors but also have significant contrasting elements like creaminess versus crunch. The best cheese combinations are made by tapping into this unique complimentary nature.

You're looking for two primary effects when pairing cheese, contrast or complement; nuts and cheese offer both. Sometimes the easiest way to compliment a flavor is through contrast. The sweet buttery taste of cheese complements the salty and savory notes in nuts. On the other hand, the crunchy texture of nuts is an accent that livens up the creamy backdrop of cheese.

Choosing the Right Nuts and Cheese

For a quick and fast pairing, walnuts, almonds, and pecans typically go well with nearly every type of cheese, so these are a great starting point.

Almonds have a slightly salty taste which is excellent with strong flavourful cheese. Such cheese, like Swiss and Cheddar, can have an overwhelming flavor after multiple bites, and almonds are a great addition to pierce through the taste.

Roasted pecans go well with semi-soft and springy cheese like gouda and blue cheese. These nuts have an earthy taste that will not clash with the unique flavors of the cheese. Try honey pecans to build the taste.

Nuts, fruits, and honey as condiments on a cheese board

Walnut halves are a popular addition to cheeseboard condiments. They offer a safety net when exploring eccentric cheese like goat cheese. Its taste is for adventurous cheese lovers and blends, if not masking, the earthy taste of walnuts, especially honey walnuts.

Exploring Flavorful Combinations

If you're looking for the best cheese combinations, you'll need to be bold enough to explore flavourful combinations. Here are tips on cheese and nuts combinations.

Pairing Soft Cheeses with Nuts

Soft cheeses can quickly edge towards blandness; pairing soft cheese with nuts creates a bold contrast between creaminess and delicate textures against crisp crunches.

Pistachios are characterized by a distinctive flavor that pleasantly blends with soft and sweeter cheeses like camembert, parmesan, and Brie. The greenish-purple color of pistachio nuts also looks better when paired with light-colored cheeses.

Pairing Hard Cheeses with Nuts

Hard cheeses carry savor and depth to every culinary experience. The best nuts for these cheeses should compliment that boldness. Macadamia and red skin peanuts are great options for your hard cheese. Macadamia nuts pair well with aged cheddar, while peanuts blend well with manchego cheese.

Pairing Blue Cheeses with Nuts

Pairing tangy blue cheese with nuts creates a dynamic flavor. Cashew nuts have an intense sharp taste that matches blue cheese's salty, savory flavor quite well. The buttery and creamy mouthfeel of cashews and their mild sweetness also contrast the tense texture of the bold-flavored blue cheese.

Blue cheese with nuts on a board

Beyond the Basics: Creative Cheese and Nut Board Condiments

You can now get creative after learning the basics of combining various nutty and cheesy profiles on a platter. The art of perfection in cheese and nuts pairing will require you to fully interact and engage with multiple senses by playing up the contrast while maintaining duos with similar flavor profiles.

Explore the combination of the bold umami notes of cashew with complex and earthy cheeses. Break the norms of almond combinations by pairing them with herbal or lightly fruity cheeses. Walnuts have a tannic quality that tempers their softness, so you can pair them with rustic cheeses. Push your exploration even more by targeting a pairing that seeks sweetness. In this case, go for the sweeter nuts laced with honey and place them against bold iterations of cheese.

Take your nut and cheese pairing to the next level by going for spiced nuts. Explore your prowess by delving into nuts with notes of cinnamon and pair them with creamy and fruity cheeses for a playful bite.

Conclusion

Building your dream cheese board condiments is easier than it sounds. Purchase your stock of roasted nuts and have fun with the salty snacks. Start with the basic pairings or dive straight into the bold nut and cheese combinations. The art of pairing is grounded in creativity and an adventurous spirit. Try the combos and let your palette traverse the exciting textures and flavors.