It’s always fun to enjoy a little sweet treat at the end of a meal or party. Why not add an elegant edge to your dining experience and adopt the European custom of serving a cheese course for dessert! It’s a delicious, unexpected, easy way to end any evening. And with our tips you’ll create a dessert cheese course experience that wows!
♥ Choose Your Cheeses
When composing all cheese boards, including for dessert, you should try to feature a variety of cheese textures and milk types. In the case of a dessert course you should also look for cheeses that are lighter in body and that pair well with sweet or fruit based accompaniments. Tangy, creamy, goat cheese is a natural choice for desserts -we also love it in our recipe for Mini Goat Cheese Cheesecakes with Berry Compote.
Spreadable, soft ripened, cow’s milk cheeses like Triple Creme Brie, Brillat Savarin, Delice de Bourgogne, or Camembert make great additions to slather on baguette or seeded crackers with jam. You can also enjoy Brie in other dedicated dessert recipes like our Brie and Port Cherry Thumbprint Cookies.
For some contrast, we love to add nutty, rich, aged cheeses such as a sheep’s milk Spanish Manchego or a well aged Gouda or Italian Parmesan Reggiano – both prized for their flavorful crunchy crystals.
Creamy, mild blue cheeses are also an amazing flavor-packed addition that plays well with sweeter condiments and dessert wines like Port. Try French Bleu D’Auvergne, Italian Gorgonzola Dolce, or South African Blue en Blanc. Learn more about choosing a crowd pleasing blue cheese in our post “All About Blue” – it includes recommendations for even the blue cheese shy!
♥ Easy Accompaniments
As a complement to your cheeses it’s always nice to offer a variety of garnishes and go-withs to create an interactive tasting experience. Fresh or dried fruit is a natural choice for a dessert cheese board – try everything from fresh figs, dates, apples, pears, berries, grapes and stone fruits like peaches, apricots and plums. Tip: Plums are a fun and unexpected addition to many cheese dishes – try our Balsamic Glazed Plums with Burrata for your next party or cozy night in.
Add honeys, fruit preserves and jellies, balsamic glaze, quince paste, or a traditional fig jam to your platter to drizzle and dollop over your cheeses for a custom tasting experience.
For a welcome crunch that’s perfect for dessert, we love serving candied nuts, seeded crackers, ginger cookies, or biscotti as part of an after dinner cheese course.
♥ Wines to Pair
Just about any wine you enjoyed with your meal will work here but to REALLY amp up the dessert course vibe consider serving a special dessert wine for sipping such as Moscato d’Asti, late harvest Gewurztraminer or Riesling, Port, Sherry, or Sauternes. You can also try a sweet edged whisky or bourbon, brandy, or an aged French armagnac for an after dinner drink to enjoy with your cheese.
As with all cheeseboards -be sure to remember to take your cheeses out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to enjoy them at room temperature for peak flavor and texture!