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Making a Mother's Day Cheese Plate? Turn it up to 11.


If your mom is anything like my mine, she'd appreciate a Mother's Day cheese plate that rocks the dairy boat.

She'd like a Mother's Day cheese plate that was so unusual she'd have to ask twice if the cookies really were supposed to go with the cheese (yessss, Mom). One that featured fermented vegetables and preserved fruit. One that let her enjoy the many layers of her favorite cheeses in ways she never had before.

For Mother's Day, turn your mother's cheese plate up to 11.

Of course you can build a simple plate packed with cheese, and maybe a little honey or dried fruit. But a more contemporary option is pairing cheeses that you know your mother (or the mother-figure in your life) adores to exciting sides and condiments that she'd never cozy up to her favorite wedges on her own. Do the daring leg work for her.

My mom (isn’t she cute?)

My mom (isn’t she cute?)

Should you be afraid to go bold in your pairings? If you reach out of bounds, will flavors get too extreme or clash?

No, and maybe. In case you're wondering, I can now speak from with confidence that dried mango with chili powder does not play nicely with cheese. Play around after Mother's Day- here are some pairings that are good-to-go now

Tried and tested, these are my picks!

My Mother's Day cheese plate features the lovely Comté: Stepladder Creamery's Cabrillo, Tomales Farmstead Teleeka, preserved lemon, Oreo's or Newman's O's, and Cultured's gingery sauerkraut.

Full disclosure, the Comté Association sponsored my post and asked me to pick 2 more cheeses to feature on the plate. More disclosure, Comté was already one of my top 10 cheeses (so, yay!).

Comté with Cultured's "Super Sauerkraut Salad:" I've recently discovered the joy of pairing krauts and fermented cabbage with this Alpine-style cheese. This one is one of my favorite duos. The kraut's gingery and tangy flavor slices through Comté's richness like a bright acidity wine does a triple-creme, while allowing the cheese's brown buttery and hazelnut nuances shine through. Pair a gingery and bright beet-hued kraut with golden Comté, or go a little bolder and pair with Kimchee (really- it's not to spicy-start with a tiny piece and go as bold as you like it). Even more pairing, you ask? Throw an off-dry Riesling in the mix. But the next way I'm trying this combo is in a grilled Comté and kraut grilled cheese sandwich with buttered country bread.

You can read more about Comté's culture and history here.

Steppladder Creamery's Cabrillo: A goat and cow's milk hybrid, Cabrillo already shows light notes of lemon from its goat's milk so matching it to a preserved, salty lemon felt natural. It made it even more sunny and bright. I also tried it with goji berries, and... well, let's pretend I didn't. Together the preserved lemon and the Cabrillo offer a liveliness fit for a cheese plate, or light appetizers. Another cheese option? Garrotxa, Panteleo, or Pennyroyal Boot Corner.

Tomales Farmstead Teleeka & Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cookies: Goat, sheep, and cow's milk- are you sensing a California theme here? Yup, when goat and sheep's milk cheesemakers don't have enough milk from the tiny producers (goat and sheep provide less milk during certain seasons), they often buy cow's milk from dairy farmer neighbors. This cheese is like a robiola, and the grassy hints of the goat's milk shine through while the sheep and cow's milk provide a thick, creamy texture. I've always loved fresh chevre with chocolate so I decided to test these cookies out here. Delicious. Bright and sweet and earthy. At one point I scraped out the cream filling from the cookie sandwich, replaced it with Teleeka, and liked the cookie even better. Another cheese option? La Tur, Tomales Farmstead Kenne, or Vermont Creamy's Crémont.

Enjoy your Mother's Day with an amazing woman in your life.