One of the things we love most about cheese is pairing it with other foods like charcuterie, pickles, and honey. Our new subscription box program, which features cheese, crackers, and a rotating variety of accompaniments, is the perfect way to try new honey and cheese combinations (check it out here). Here’s what you need to know about pairing cheese and honey.
How to Use Honey With Cheese
The sweetness of honey complements all kinds of cheeses, from milky, mild fresh types to salt-forward, umami-rich varieties. You can drizzle it over a whole wedge or over slices of cheese on a cheese board or portion it into a small jar or bowl so guests can use it as a condiment. A glistening square of honeycomb served in a large spoon or small dish looks great on a cheese board. You can even pour honey atop a wheel of Brie or bowl of fresh ricotta.
Honey comes in a wide variety of colors, textures, and flavors that vary based on the plant (or combination of plants) the bees are pollinating. This is based on geography—certain plants grow in certain regions—as well as the time of year.
When it comes to flavor, the best honey is the one you like for the application in question and the cheese you’re trying to pair. In terms of intensity, honey is sort of like cheese in that lighter-colored varieties will have a lighter flavor, while those with deeper, more intense colors will also have stronger flavors.
A dark buckwheat honey, for example, is a classic pairing with salty blue cheese, while a pale yellow spring wildflower honey will have a more delicate, floral flavor that pairs better with a fresh, tangy chevre or fromage blanc. Part of the fun is tasting through a variety of different honeys and cheeses—which is exactly what you can do with our new curated cheese subscription.
How Our Cheese & Pairings Subscription Box Works
Our subscription boxes come in three different sizes. You can sign up here to receive yours as a monthly subscription, with the flexibility to change the delivery week at any time. (They make great cheese gifts, too.)
- The Solo Package: One cheese, one accompaniment, crackers
- The Duo Package: Two cheeses, two accompaniments, crackers
- The Trio Package: Three cheeses, three accompaniments, crackers
What Honey Is Best for You?
No single honey is “the best.” But our favorite honeys—the ones we recommend to pair with cheeses and source for our cheese subscription—tend to have a few things in common.
For one thing, they’re sourced from purveyors who work with sustainably-minded beekeepers. They’re often single varietal—meaning the bees are gathering nectar from a specific type of flower—or a wildflower honey blend that showcases the unique and seasonal flavors of a specific region. Ideally, they’re minimally processed, too. These “healthy honeys” are considered by some to be better for you because they retain more of the original enzymes and pollen than highly processed, filtered varieties.
How We Chose the Best Honeys for Our Subscription Box
When we set out to source new and exciting honey varieties for our cheese subscription box program, we wanted to highlight American honeys that showcase the unique terroir of the regions in which they’re produced—all the better to pair with our selection of American artisan cheeses from those regions.
We also include honeys from ethical purveyors working closely with sustainably-minded beekeepers around the world to bring you unique and flavorful single-origin honeys.
This sustainable honey company uses the European Union’s organic beekeeping guidelines as part of its sourcing criteria for its honey collection. Their product line includes honeys made from the nectar of single flowers like cherry and linden from Germany as well as wildflower varieties sourced from honey farms in Brazil.
Bee Raw specializes in varietals sourced from family-run American farms making local honey whose bees pollinate only wild or organic floral sources. Their honey is not processed, treated, blended, or filtered, so colors and flavor profiles shift from season to season and region to region. Check out our guide to pairing their honeys with cheese.
Savannah Bee Company
Savannah Bee Company founder Ted Dennard has been keeping bees for 35 years—and that experience and dedication to producing the best-quality honey shows through in the Georgia-based honey shop’s products. In addition to varietals like tupelo honey, lavender honey, and acacia honey, Savannah Bee Co. creates honey blends specifically for use on cheese boards.
Bee Local by Jacobsen Salt Co.
Oregon-based artisanal pantry company Jacobsen Salt Co. added their own honey line, Bee Local, in 2015. Their raw honeys in varieties like carrot flower, blackberry, and buckwheat are sourced from sustainable apiaries in the Pacific Northwest.
Mitica Lavender Honey
Produced in Spain by bees gathering the nectar of wild lavender blossoms, this versatile honey has a delicate floral flavor with a note of spice. Use it to brighten up goat’s milk cheeses or mellow out pungent blues.
The Best Flavored Honeys
While varietal honeys get their signature profiles from bees collecting the nectar of a single flower, flavored honeys are infused with other delicious ingredients after they’re made. These bold, unique flavors kick our favorite cheeses up to the next level.
Regalis Tennessee Black Truffle Honeycomb
The very first honey we ever sourced for our tasting box is one of our absolute favorites—and not just because its flavor is incredible. Sought-after single-origin star thistle honeycomb from Georgia is infused with shavings of real black Perigord truffle cultivated in Tennessee (and yes, eating honeycomb is delicious!). It’s an American spin on an Italian classic that’s like no other truffle honey we’ve tried.
Mike's Hot Honey
Bee's Knee's Salted Honey
Made in Brooklyn from wildflower honeys sourced in the US and Argentina, this deep amber honey is blended with salt brine to combine two of our favorite flavors into one. Squeeze a drizzle over soft, mild cheeses to add delicious contrast.
Selezione Meile di Acacia Tartufato
Acacia honey is known for its light texture, pale color, and fruity, delicate flavors. This brand, made in Emilia-Romagna, is the perfect carrier for the earthy, unmistakable flavor of real black truffle. It’s perfect when drizzled over a salty hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
What are your favorite kinds of honey to pair with cheese? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!