Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

Photo by Natoora

No offense to my other great dessert loves, carrot cake with orange-cream cheese frosting, or peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, but I’ve never been of the mindset that one needs to end the night with a sugary bang. Maybe just a light ka-boom.

For me, cheese supplies enough of that ka-boom. A little sweet, a little salty, and creamy and loving to everyone that it meets, cheese is its own dessert. Plus, it requires less time than carrot cake, souffles, cupcakes, tarts, and even fruit salad (if you count that as a dessert) to put together. Add a drizzle of honey, a slice of fig, or a spoonful of preserves, and the end of the night just got that much sweeter.

Here are eight of my favorite cheeses to serve at the end of meal, paired to wine or a decadent accoutrement. Play around, and mix these wine and pairing suggestions for a great cheese dessert of your own.

1. Roquefort

We serve roquefort at work and every time a customer gets a piece, I get a piece too. It’s only fair. We serve the sheep’s milk wheel that’s aged by French affineur Jean D’Alos, but if you go to a reputable cheesemonger, they can lead you to their own wonderful selection— just be sure to taste their offerings; some Roqueforts are lackluster. My favorite combo for this raw milk blue is rose confit jelly, made with rose petals. I was blown away the first time I tried this duo, and you just might be too. Many gourmet markets carry a confit.

2. Jasper Hill’s Winnimere

This creamy cheese tastes like chocolaty, bacony, buttery goodness. But there’s more. To serve, you peel off the top, and spoon directly from the cheese onto plates and bread. It’s dessert fun for everyone. I like this with an Auslesse or Beeren-auslesse riesling or barley wine.

3. Pecorino Folgie di Nocci

A semi-firm sheep’s milk from Tuscany, this pecorino tastes like crème fraîche and browned butter. One of the best pecorinos I’ve tried. I serve this sliced, drizzled with a local honey like Marshall Farms from California, and an occasional fresh pepper grind.

4. Achandinha’s Capricious

This hard, aged, already spunky goat’s milk cheese can knock’em dead at the end of a night. Try with a truffled honey from Italy, fresh figs, in-season pears, or a dessert chenin blanc from the Loire Valley.

5. Chèvre with Dark Chocolate

May sound surprising, but chèvre’s lively, lightly tart flavors meld with dark chocolate’s earthy, sweet notes. Think of opposites attracting, like the salty peanut butter and the sweet chocolate of a peanut butter cup. I also like chèvre truffles— easy peasy to make, too.

6. Meadow Creek Dairy’s Grayson

Dessert’s the perfect time to bring out the funk. If people are a little shy about approaching even a slightly stinky cheese before dinner, it’s likely they’re feeling a little more open with a full belly and something sweet to act as a buffer. Leave this raw milk, beefy and sweet cheese out for an hour before serving and pair with pear compote or preserves. I also like Grayson with a sweet Alsatian gewürtzraminer.

7. Pleasant Ridge Reserve

An Alpine style cheese made only in the summer months when cows are munching on sweet grass and wildflowers, Pleasant Ridge is one of my favorites to pair with marmalade for dessert. It certainly doesn’t need any sugar to be appreciated, but a yuzu marmalade highlights the citrus, almost pineapple flavors in the cheese.

8. Comté

Put a two-year old Comté in front of me with a bowl of slowly toasted walnuts and a bottle of vin jaune, and I just may not speak for the next couple hours. You’ll need some time to think about the transcendent flavors, too. This regional Jura combo is likely the most amazing, easy pairing I’ve ever tasted. The cheese doesn’t need to be two-year, but make sure you’re buying from a reputable source, like Essex Cheese, and be sure to taste before you buy.

Posted by on February 21st, 2012

Kirstin Jackson is a professionally trained cook, wine bar manager and cheese program director, food and wine writer, consultant, and instructor, whose fridge and head is almost entirely consumed with cheese. Her cheese blog, “It’s Not You, It’s Brie,” was launched in April 2009, and has since received accolades from Blogs.com, Foodista, and Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchen. Her first book, It's Not You, It's Brie: Unwrapping America's Unique Culture of Cheese published in 2012.

Rachael White

Rachael White
Hosting and Entertaining

Kanako Noda

Kanako Noda
Japanese Cuisine

Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

Elena Rosemond-Hoerr
Southern Cuisine

Dale Yasunaga

Dale Yasunaga
Hawaiian Cuisine

Dave Jensen

Dave Jensen
Craft Beer

Duggan McDonnell

Duggan McDonnell
Cocktails

Prerna Singh

Prerna Singh
Indian Cuisine

John Brady

John Brady
Grass-Fed Beef

Mr. Lew

Mr. Lew
Burger

Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson
Sustainable Seafood

Michelle Kretzer

Michelle Kretzer
Vegan Foods

David R. Chan

David R. Chan
Chinese Restaurant

Lauren Deitsch

Lauren Deitsch
Chocolate

Alain Cohen

Alain Cohen
Kosher Foods

Jackie Yoo

Jackie Yoo
Korean Foods

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich
Fast Food

Dawn Gribble

Dawn Gribble
British Food

Justina Huddleston

Justina Huddleston
Food Trends

Bun Boy Eats LA

Bun Boy Eats LA
LA City Guide

Sara Grunden Kuhs

Sara Grunden Kuhs
Richmond, VA City Guide

Jeff Pearl

Jeff Pearl
Chicago City Guide

Juliet White

Juliet White
Sante Fe City Guide

Ashley Dickey

Ashley Dickey
Orlando City Guide

Justin Chen

Justin Chen
Menuism Co-Founder

John Li

John Li
Menuism Co-Founder

Kim Kohatsu

Kim Kohatsu
Managing Editor

Quantcast