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Cheese and Jam Pairings: Ideas for Cheese Boards

Cheese and Jam Pairings: Ideas for Cheese Boards
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Cheese plates are one of the easiest, yet most elegant (and delicious), ways to delight your family and friends, whether it be a small gathering or a hosted event. There are many types of pairings to consider when putting together cheese plates, from cheese and wine pairings to cheese and meat pairings to cheese and fruit pairings. This post focuses on pairings of cheese and jam, highlighting some of the great fruit-forward flavor combinations as well as some more savory pairings.

Cheese platter showing combinations of crackers, cheese, jams and herbs as appetizers.
Popular cheese and jam pairings

Jump to: Pairing Ideas | Tips for Great Cheese Boards | Holiday Platters | Fruit Wines | Boards for Entertaining

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Cheese and Jam Pairing Ideas

Here is a chart with some ideas of great (and tested) cheese and jam pairings.  If any of these pairings look good to you, look for similar jams at your favorite outlet.

Chart showing ideas for cheese and jam pairings.
Cheese and Jam Pairing: Chart A
Graphic illustration of cheese and jam pairings on a blackboard.
Cheese and jam pairing chart B

4 Easy Keys to Successful Cheese Plates

The world of cheese and jam pairings as a cheese tray or cheese board offers a wide range of taste and texture options. So much so that it can be quite overwhelming. Here are four key ideas to focus on:

  • Balance the flavors of your cheese-jam plate with other items that offer complementary flavors. You want a balance of sweet, tart, salty and acidic (And maybe spicy). The jams are sweet, the cheese tends to be mild and fatty, so consider olives, salty cured meats, or acidic fruits like apples or citrus.
  • Consider texture (i.e., crunchy crackers with creamy cheese and whole-fruit jams rather than jellies).
  • The visual display is important. A wood or slate cheese board becomes a true thing of beauty when you arrange it with pale yellow cheeses, jewel-toned jams, and fresh crispy green micro-greens.
  • And finally, think about convenience, especially during the busy holidays. Some of the condiments come in jars that are attractive enough to plop right on your cheese board next to its intended cheese partner.
Cheese platter with two fruit jams in front
Cheese and jam platter

Holiday Cheese Boards and Spreads

Here are some ideas that can add variety in taste, texture and convenience. And the great thing about cheese plates is people with different tastes and/or diets can pick and choose what suits them. It’s nice to have everyone happy during the holidays!

  • nuts
  • honey in small jars
  • carmelized onions
  • fresh herbs (micro greens are fun)
  • cornichons (those little pickles);
  • salty meats (like salami, pepperoni, other deli meats);
  • crackers (seeded and not seeded)
  • sturdy robust breads
  • mustards
Example of a Christmas cheese board
Example of a holiday-themed cheese board

Wine Pairings for Cheese and Jam Plates

Wine and cheese pairings are a subject unto their own, and there are many resources to help you with that end of things. One good option is to try out a fruity wine pairing if you are not using fruit jams. Oliver winery can get you started with a range of cheese and fruit wine pairings.

If you are including a lot of fruit jams on your cheese plates however, I would probably opt for a white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. That’s just my taste however. Check with your local wine/liquor store expert for their suggestions.

Food board with cheeses, grapes and red wine.
Food board with cheeses, grapes and red wine.

More Ideas for Cheese Plates, Cheese Platters or Grazing Boards

For those on a low carb or low sugar diet, try these ideas for low carb cheese plates

For holiday gatherings or planning a party, try this comprehensive guide on putting together cheese boards for a crowd

My favorite board or platter however is this seafood platter that always graces our table during the Winter holidays.

Seafood platter with shrimp, cucumber, salmon, crawfish, crab legs, cocktail sauce, mignonette sauce, crackers, wine and baby pickles.
Seafood platter for 6 (cold seafood)

And lastly If you want ideas around a dessert board with plenty of sweet recipes for treats and for cocktails, this Valentines dessert platter might help with some inspiration.

Dessert plate for two
Dessert plate for two

Visual Appeal of Fruit-Forward Jams:

When my husband walked into the kitchen as I was preparing a cheese plate he surprisingly said,  “that is some good looking food”, and proceeded to gobble up the leftovers.  The husband is a fairly taciturn type of guy, so hearing these words expressed so strongly (for him) was quite a surprise.  I think it was a nod to the power of the visual. So many colors and textures!

Ideas for cheese plates using cheese and jam pairings with pairing chart included

Hopefully these Cheese and Jam Pairings will be useful to you in putting together cheese plates for any celebration or event.

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