Feel that crispness in the air? That’s fall approaching. And when we make the seasonal shift from flip-flops and bathing suits to boots and comfy sweaters, it’s also time to change out the cheeses in our Grotto. While there’s never a wrong time to eat cheeses like chevre or fresh mozzarella, our light, summery selections can take a momentary backseat to cheeses perfect for fall.
As autumnal flavors abound at farmers’ markets, it’s time to dig into brawny aged cheeses with rich textures and big flavors that will keep us going through to winter—like the trio of aged wedges from Old Brooklyn Cheese Company that we’re featuring in our Fall Wine & Cheese Virtual Tasting with Suhru Wines on Sunday, September 27th! Here are some of our favorite cheese styles to dig into when the temperature drops.
When I think of fall, I think of apples—in my opinion, the undisputed queen of autumnal fruit flavors (sorry, pumpkin spice). And few cheeses pair as well with a juicy, crisp Jonagold or tangy yet mellow Golden Russet as cheddar does.
For an extra-special cheese board with some heirloom apples from a local orchard, garlicky dill pickles, and crunchy sourdough flatbread crackers, reach for a nutty, earthy clothbound cheddar like Redhead Creamery’s Lucky Linda or Jasper Hill’s iconic, award-winning Cabot Clothbound.
At any age, Holland’s most famous cheese is an excellent option any time of year—but since the name isn’t protected by a PDO, quality can range widely, especially with younger wheels. Pro tip: Varieties made in Holland tend to be higher quality, although domestic producers are making some excellent Goudas, too.
Some of our favorite U.S.-made Gouda-style cheeses are Old Brooklyn Cheese Company’s Teffenhardt, aged for three months to develop notes of honey and caramel (it’s one of the featured cheeses in our Fall Wine & Cheese Virtual Tasting). For a softer, younger option that’s also a great melter, try Boston Post Dairy’s Trés Bonne.
Nutty Emmental, robust Gruyere, meaty Parmigiano-Reggiano—these wheels and more come to us from the long cheesemaking traditions of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps. These dense, hard cheeses are among the finest cheeses to pair with bold wines, dark beers, and sweet-savory flavors we crave with fall weather.
When it comes to domestic wheels inspired by these cheeses, Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Wisconsin’s Uplands Cheese Company is one of the best. Modeled after French Beaufort, it’s made only with milk from cows grazing on lush, summertime pastures to capture complex notes of bread and honey, hazelnut and mushrooms.
Old Brooklyn’s Lake Erie Breakwall, a crystal-flecked Grana Padano-style wheel with notes of fresh grass, toasted nuts, and pineapple, is another great example. We’ll be pairing it with Suhru’s Dry Riesling and Shiraz during our fall tasting—get your tickets by September 21st!
While blue cheese may be seasonless in its applications—it’s as tasty crumbled on a burger at a backyard BBQ as it is on a wintry beet salad—its dense, rich texture and peppery, sweet-savory flavor profiles are a welcome foil to the earthy flavors and refreshing nip of autumn.
We love to pair wheels like Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue, which has a fudgy texture and a nutty sweetness, with a few squares of dark chocolate, a bottle of fruity red wine, or a dark, rich beer like an Imperial stout.
What are your favorite cheeses to dig into in the fall? Let us know!