The Top 2 Cheese And Jam Pairing Tips For Better Charcuterie Boards

A charcuterie board or a cheese board contains a hand-picked selection of food items that either go exceptionally well together or create a startling contrast that makes your taste buds pick up on certain flavor nuances. Purpose and intention fuel the design of a perfect charcuterie board — it's not just a haphazard collection of meats, cheeses, and jams. Just like selecting the decor for a room so the space comes together, the best charcuterie boards are crafted from tips offered by professionals.

Chad Galer, vice president of product innovation and food safety at Dairy Management Inc., grew up on a dairy farm and studied microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. His many years of experience and vast knowledge of cheese have earned him the privilege of being a judge for the World Championship Cheese Contest, as well as other competitions. As a respected expert, Galer provided two insightful tips on pairing cheese and jam to create better, no-brainer charcuterie boards: Branch out from sweet and fruity jams, and serve jams with a small spoon so they don't overpower your cheese.

How jam variety and utensil size improve your charcuterie board

Pairing cheese and jam to create that magical midpoint of something wondrously new can be tricky. This is because both cheese and jam can add potent flavor elements. While a charcuterie board's focus may be on its meats and cheeses, you're doing your guests a disservice if you don't take advantage of the wide variety of jams that are available.

For example, Galer pointed out that while sweet fruit jams are easy to put on a cheese board because they pair with most cheeses, there are plenty of other options that you don't want to overlook. He said, "A cheese board can be easily enhanced with a hot jam (spicy mango) or hot and smokey with hot pepper bacon jam. Also, don't forget sweet and savory jams, like tomato jam or Balsamic onion jam."

He also advised that, since jam's flavors are so strong, your guests mustn't overpower your carefully selected cheeses by adding too much jam. As a subtle solution to that problem, Galer serves jam with a tiny spoon or other small serving utensil. This makes it a little harder to slather cheese with an abundance of jam.