Skip Crackers For Blue Cheese, Opt For A Perfect Chip Pairing Instead

A cheese board is the ultimate party food, a set-it-and-forget-it way to provide guests with a lot of options. You can carefully select some of the best cheeses for a cheese board or keep it simple with cheeses that are commonly found at almost any grocery store. Whichever route you choose, you'll probably set out some crackers, the default pairing for cheese. But if you want to up your cheese board game, take a minute to rethink that reflexive grab.

There is a wide array of things that pair well with cheese, from honey mustard to even soda or sour candies. By switching up what you put on your cheese board alongside the cheese itself, you offer your guests a chance to expand their culinary horizons. One pairing that seems a bit off the wall but actually works very well is potato chips with blue cheese. In particular, tangy salt and vinegar chips. Set a small bowl of salt and vinegar chips on the table, encouraging your guests to pop a piece of blue cheese onto a chip much as they would a cracker.

The natural tang of blue cheese pairs incredibly well with the tang of the chips. The textural difference between the chips and the cheese is also quite pleasing. You can choose a crumbly blue cheese like Roquefort or a creamy spreadable cheese like a Cambazola. You could even do a deep dive and pair different brands of salt & vinegar chips with different styles of blue cheese.

The tangy origins of blue cheese and salt and vinegar chips

Blue cheese comes in many varieties, but what defines them is the distinctive edible mold that runs through the cheese. The mold is a form of Penicillium, a fungus family that, among other things, is what the medicine Penicillin is derived from. When added to cheese, the Penicillium mold "eats" the milk fats in the cheese, a process that lends blue cheese its distinctive tangy, sometimes sour taste and smell. And don't worry, the mold is completely safe to eat.

Salt and vinegar chips have their own fascinating story too. They were born out of the British "chip shops" that serve the classic fish and chips dish. Bottles of tangy malt vinegar are usually on hand for putting on the fish, and naturally, some of that vinegar dripped down onto the potato wedges (the chips) that are served with the fish. Someone put two and two together and realized that the combination of salty potato wedges with tangy vinegar would make for a fantastic potato chip flavor.

So there you have it — tang meets tang with salt and vinegar chips and blue cheese. While no one minds a classic slice of cheddar on a cracker, spicing up your cheese board is a fun way to inject some excitement into your next party. It's as simple as opening a bag of chips and unwrapping some blue cheese, but your guests will be talking about this ingenious pairing for days.