We at Cheese Grotto have been selling artisan cheese boxes from some of the best cheesemakers in the U.S. for a while now, and we’ve been selling the ultimate home cheese storage method for even longer. But there’s so much more to an excellent cheese board than just the cheese.
That’s why we’re so excited to launch our new specialty cheese tasting box! The Full Artisan Cheese Tasting Gift Package features three of our favorite cheeses, plus a plethora of our favorite accompaniments—crackers, jam, chocolate, charcuterie, you name it. Need it gift-wrapped, gluten-free, vegetarian, or nut free? No problem—just let us know at checkout!
We curated these supporting players from top producers around the world to really make our star cheeses shine. Here’s the full rundown of all the goodies you (or your lucky recipient) get to enjoy when you order. (And if you’re looking for a smaller-sized box with just a few accompaniments, we have those too.)
The Best Cheese for Gift Giving
We built this bountiful tasting box around some of our favorite domestic cheeses from our friends at My Artisano and Lamppost Cheese in Ohio. Start with a lush, buttery round of My Artisano’s Sharon Creek Brie, then try Lamppost’s French-inspired Haya Tomme, a supple raw milk wedge rich with the flavors of hazelnut and brown butter.
Finish the tasting with a hunk of Toby, Lamppost’s English-style clothbound cheddar. Each wheel is wrapped in cheesecloth and brushed with butter before aging to protect the cheese and enhance its rugged natural rind. Taste for notes of tropical pineapple, toasted cashews, and briny olives in this complex raw milk wheel.
The Best Crackers to Serve With Cheese
There are so, so many crackers out there—and while many of them are delicious, most of them aren’t ideal to serve with cheese. You want a cracker that can let the cheese it’s served with play the starring role while also being so tasty, you’d eat it on its own.
We think we found the perfect fit with Olina’s Crackers, which get their rich umami from a touch of cheese mixed right into the batter. Rather than stealing the show from the cheese they’re supporting, these featherlight rounds help amplify each bite’s flavors while providing a wonderfully crisp texture.
The Best Savory Pairings for Cheese
When it comes to pairing cheese with other foods, the sky’s the limit—but we still believe in the classics. That principle guided us while we selected cheese board favorites from high-quality craft producers, and we’re so excited to share them with you.
There are few things we love better than a bowl of juicy, savory olives—and this box comes with one of our favorite blends. Each jar of Losada Mixed Pitted Olives contains a colorful mix including plump green Gordals, smoky Cuquillos, and rare Zorzalenas for a variety of colors, sizes, flavors, and textures. Be sure to try the olives and the Toby together to see how they play with the briny olive notes of the cheese.
Nuts are always welcome on a cheese board—not only for their crunch, but for the way they amplify the nutty notes in many aged cheeses. An Afghani heirloom variety, the Soft Shell Shakurbai Almonds we’ve chosen for this box have a sweet, nutty flavor and more protein than California-grown varieties. They’re dry-roasted and seasoned with just a bit of Afghan Badakhshan salt to add crunch and enhance flavor.
Charcuterie is cheese’s BFF—so we knew we had to find a really special variety to include in this box. We also wanted to feature American cured meats alongside our amazing American-made cheeses, which is why we decided on Lady Edison Extra Fancy Country Ham. Richly marbled and aged 12 to 18 months, these ultra-thin slices of dry-cured heritage breed pork raised in North Carolina pack a flavor punch to rival the best European hams. As if we needed more convincing, it scored a Good Food Award in 2017, too.
The Best Sweet Accompaniments for Cheese
A great cheese board is all about balance—which is why the savory, meaty, and nutty must be balanced by the bright, the sweet, and the fruity. When sourcing preserves, we landed on Le Bon Magot’s Tomato and White Sultana Chutney because of the way it blends the savoriness of tomato, the sweetness of sultanas, warming spices, and piquant Kashmiri chilis. It’s the perfect thing to offset the lactic, buttery richness of the Sharon Creek or the nutty quality of Haya Tomme.
Honey plays a key role in a great cheese board, too, accenting the sweetness in some cheeses and contrasting the savoriness in others. Infused honeys offer a heady blend of flavors and aromas to take your cheeses to the next level. So when we tried Regalis Tennessee Black Truffle Honeycomb, we knew we had to put it in our special holiday tasting box. Deep golden star-thistle honey produced by busy Georgia bees gets an earthy, fragrant boost from Tennessee-grown black truffles, ideal for pairing with saltier cheeses like Toby.
Finally, no cheese board is complete without chocolate, which makes an excellent foil for salty, fudgy blues, pungent washed rinds, nutty Alpines, or buttery bloomies. We chose Milène Jardine’s 70% Dark Chocolate for our holiday tasting box because it strikes a delicious balance between smooth, full-bodied texture and complex, fruity flavor. Try it with a sip of delicate Bordeaux and the Sharon Creek Brie for an indulgent bite.
What’s your favorite accompaniment to serve on a bountiful holiday cheese board? Let us know!