One of the best things about spring is that all of a sudden, the world is in bloom. We also love it because it gives us an excuse to play with those pretty flowers—and some amazing cheeses made with flowers—as we select and style the goodies on our seasonal cheese boards. Here are some of our favorite flower cheeses, styling tips, and other tricks for incorporating beautiful blossoms into your boards this spring.
Want to celebrate spring cheeses and wine with us? Join us on April 25th for our Spring Wine and Cheese Virtual Tasting where we'll talk in more detail about spring accompaniments for your cheese board. You can also peruse our ultimate guide to spring cheeses here.
The Best Cheeses Made With Flowers
It’s our opinion that a floral-themed cheese or charcuterie board should have at least one cheese that’s actually made with flowers, which can add unique flavors and aromas in addition to visual appeal when incorporated into a cheese. These are a few to seek out at your local cheese counter, or buy direct from the producer online. And if you're looking to dress up an Easter cheese board, check out our guide to building an Easter Cheese Board.
One of the best-known flower cheeses—and possibly the prettiest—is Alp Blossom, a savory, snackable wheel from Austria’s hay belt. Its rind is coated with a confetti of colorful, fragrant dried flowers, like rose, marigold, lavender, and chervil, adding a floral sweetness to its umami-rich profile.
There are plenty of other cheeses with flower-studded rinds, including some American-made wheels from small-scale artisans. A riff on herb-coated Corsican sheep’s milk cheese Fleur de Maquis, Hudson Flower is a collaboration between Old Chatham Sheep Dairy and Murray’s Cheese. Each bloomy wheel gets a coating of herbs, seeds, and hop flowers before aging, adding a piney note to a smooth, creamy, mellow cheese.
At Valley Milkhouse in southeast Pennsylvania, cheesemaker Stefanie Angstadt coats young wheels of Honey Bell, a lactic-set cow’s milk cheese, in sweet, soothing chamomile blossoms from a nearby farm. The soft, white bloomy rind grows in around the dried flowers, which bring out the sweetness of the milk while adding their own subtle, herbaceous flavor.
Another Murray’s collab, this award-winning cheese starts out as Jasper Hill’s Little Hosmer. Before it ages, the affineurs at Murray’s coat each button of Lait Bloomer in a blend of dried marigold petals and elderflowers. The result is a colorful, creamy wheel with fruity, nutty, and mushroomy notes.
But flowers aren’t just for pressing into rinds. Some luscious aged cheeses have fragrant flowers incorporated right into the paste. Elderflower Tomme is a rustic wheel made by Alsace’s Fromagerie Haxaire, known for flavoring its wheels with unique ingredients like sea beans and schnapps infused with Mirabelle plum. Each wheel is infused with dried elderflowers and washed with sweet, fragrant elderflower liqueur, making for a creamy, supple wheel with a grassy, floral profile and notes of nuts and herbs.
French tommes aren’t the only wheels made with elderflower blossoms. At iconic British cheddar maker Quicke’s, hand-harvested elderflowers are infused into the paste of their clothbound Elderflower Cheddar before each wheel is pressed. The result is a buttery, fresh-tasting Cheddar with a creamy texture and hints of grass and those fragrant elderflowers.
La Di Da Lavender Cheddar
Across the globe in Oregon, award-winning Rogue Creamery incorporates a different floral ingredient: lavender buds, which fleck blocks of their La Di Da Lavender Cheddar. Lavender can be tough to work with—add too much, and the finished product might taste more like scented soap rather than cheese. But Rogue strikes the right balance, creating a smooth, creamy cheese whose floral, earthy notes complement a buttery, tangy paste.
How to Make Your Own Flower Cheeses
Depending on where you live, it might not be easy to get your hands on some of these rare floral wheels. No worries—you can still incorporate beautiful blooms into your cheeses. It’s time to DIY!
The secret here is to use unaged cheeses like chevre, fromage blanc, fresh goat crottin, ricotta, paneer, and mascarpone as a base, then incorporate your own fresh or dried flowers. That can look like rolling a log of chevre in dried rose petals, blending fromage blanc with dried lavender buds and honey, or pressing edible flowers into the surface of a crottin.
Which flowers to pick? If you’re planning to mix the flowers into the cheese, dried will be your best bet, as they pack more concentrated flavor and will keep better in the fridge once they’re mixed into your cheese. (Make sure you’re buying high-quality, food-grade dried flowers from a trusted source like Mountain Rose Herbs or a local herb farm or herbalist.)
As for fresh edible flowers, you can grow your own nasturtiums, marigolds, cherry blossoms, and others—just make sure you’re gardening chemical free. You can also buy edible fresh flowers at well-stocked supermarkets, specialty grocers, and farmers’ markets. As for which edible blooms to pick—and how to use them—our friend Marissa of That Cheese Plate has an excellent guide to the edible flowers she styles into her colorful, Insta-worthy cheese boards here.
Other Ways to Incorporate Flowers Into Your Cheese Boards
What are some other ways you can bring flower power into your cheese and charcuterie plates? Here are a few other tips:
- Flower-shaped cheeses: Every soft-ripened wheel of Illinois-based Dorothy’s Cheese is formed into a classic, six-petal flower shape.
- Tete de Moine “flowers”: Get yourself a girolle and a wheel of this funky Swiss washed rind, then use the blade to “shave” off rosette-like curls of cheese to decorate a floral board.
- Prosciutto roses: Roll slices of prosciutto, speck, or country ham into savory little charcuterie rosebuds.
- Salami flowers: Follow the TikTok trend and use a champagne glass or small jar to make “meat roses” with your favorite round, sliced cured meats.
- Floral drinks: Incorporate flower-infused sips like elderflower soda, elderflower liqueur cocktails, or floral tea blends and tisanes into your springtime pairings.
- Floral preserves and honeys: Seek out unique single-origin honeys like springy black locust, fruity blueberry, or dark buckwheat to match with your cheeses, or choose a local wildflower honey for a more versatile pairing. You can also find jellies and preserves that feature the flavors of blooms like lilac, violet, rose, and elderflower.
Once you’ve gathered your cheeses, pairings, and edible garnishes, follow our guide to building beautiful boards to put it all together. Voila—a fresh, floral cheese board to usher in springtime!
How are you incorporating spring flowers into your cheese boards? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram so we can see your prettiest plates!