Mixing cheese with fruits: a match made in heaven

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Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved eating Labneh with apples. For those who are not familiar with Labneh, it’s a Lebanese acidic cheese spread made from cow or goat milk. It is generally eaten with olive oil, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes or fresh mint. But I just loved matching it with apples. I thought the sweetness of apples balanced the acidity of the Labneh to make for a perfect combination.

I apply the same rule for practically all cheeses I regularly eat. Here is my list of combinations that just make perfect sense and if you’re in for something unusual, I’m pretty sure you’ll love them too.

  • Brie with pears: Brie is a sharp cheese. I’ve seen it served with cherry tomatoes or grapes, which are good alternatives, but not as good as pairing it with pears.
  • Labneh with apples or with grapes: don’t ask me what got to me at age 5 to eat Labneh with apples, but that was one of the best things I ever tasted.
  • Halloumi cheese with watermelon: this one is a classic and most people know about it. Just keep the Halloumi fresh and don’t grill it or else it won’t be as good.
  • Bulgarian white sheep cheese with watermelon: even better than the Halloumi, because the saltiness of the cheese is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the watermelon.
  • Kashkaval cheese with watermelon: ok I know, watermelon seems to work with all kinds of cheese, but it actually does! You should try it with Kashkaval cheese made from sheep milk, it’s even better.
  • Parmesan cheese with strawberries: what better than to balance the saltiness and edginess of Parmesan with the sweetness and fluffiness of strawberries…
  • Goat cheese with mango: goat cheese is very acidic so it needs to be toned down by notes of sweetness that don’t overthrow its original taste. Mango just does that perfectly well.
  • Manchego cheese with quince paste and walnuts: ok, this is not a fruit we’re talking about, but I could not leave it out of the list. I will not explain what this is about; just try it, ok?

Any cheese and fruits pairing you would like to recommend? I’m all open for new and even more unusual combinations!