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So you're preparing a grazing tray for your next big party - but you're not sure what dips are going to complement your cheeses. There are so many new and unusual condiments on the market today; it can be difficult to determine which will go over well with your guests.
What's more, the complicated nature of cheese - hard, soft, bitter, sharp - makes it especially difficult to know whether or not a dip will match your arranged palate. As you're arranging your cheese board, then, it's easy to find yourself asking: what dips do you have to have with a cheese board? We've found some of the most delicious complementary dips for you to try.
When it comes to setting out your cheese board, some of the best dips to complement your arrangement include:
- Caramelized onion jam
- Spicy honey dip
- Peach jam
- Lime preserves
- Garlic dill mustard
- Sour cherry preserves
You can adjust your preferred cheese board dips based on your own preferences as well as those of your guests. The more you experiment, though, the more likely it is that you'll stumble across a truly unbelievable combination of condiments, cheeses, and other accouterment.
8 Tasty Dips To Add To Your Cheese Board Spread
When you start shopping for cheese board dips, keep your guests' tastes in mind. You'll rarely go wrong when you seek out a diversity of flavors, so why not try one or multiple of the 8 following dips?
1. Caramelized Onion Jam
Caramelized onion jams amplify an onion's natural sweetness with nothing but time and heat. By the time you've broken your onions down to their golden perfection or bought some of the jam already available at your grocery store, you'll have access to a savory, sweet, and rich dip.
Onion jam is ideal in its versatility. It pairs best, however, with cheddar and brie.
2. Spicy Honey
Originally a trendy dip in places like New York City and Seattle, spicy honey has made waves all throughout the United States. This honey is processed through traditional means and then infused with chili peppers, giving it an unexpected kick.
The combination of sweet and spicy makes this honey an ideal dip for some of the creamier cheeses you might include on your cheese board. Keep a bottle nearby for use with cream cheese, ricotta, or burrata.
The creamy appeal of hummus makes it an excellent dip to include alongside just about any meal. Vegetables and bread both come alive when exposed to the nutty, creamy taste of unflavored humus. Start adding in hints of garlic, and you elevate your afternoon snacks to a whole new level.
When it comes to your cheese board, though, use hummus to balance out some of your saltier cheeses. Humus pairs best with provolone and parmesan, especially when you include naan among your spread.
Note, though, that your flavor profile will change if you experiment with flavored hummus. Garlic hummus, for example, is still good with salty cheeses, but the mixing flavors may overwhelm your palate. When it comes to garlic hummus, consider pursuing a cheese like Swiss for a pairing.
4. Peach Jam
Peach jam is an especially versatile cheese board dip. The dip's light flavor and overall sweetness let it complement both blue cheeses and goat cheese with some ease.
You don't always have to jump straight into heavy funk to get the most out of peach jam, though. If you're in the market for softer cheese, consider trying peach jam with cottage cheese. Add a cracker or piece of dry bread for a texture break, but enjoy the way the sweetness of the jam compliments the tang of the cottage cheese.
5. Lime Preserves
Lime preserves are a unique dip in and of themselves. Because limes are seedless, sweet, and citrusy, though, they are an ideal addition to any cheese board. You can enjoy lime preserves best with goat cheese or any bite-heavy hard cheeses.
There's more than one kind of chutney in the world. The universal appeal of this dip, though, is its strong sense of vinegar and spices. Combine a chutney spice mix with fruits like apples or sweet tomatoes, and you have the ideal addition to any cheese board.
While your specific cheese pairings should vary based on the flavor of chutney you bring home, cheddar and fresh goat cheese are always safe bets. Mozzarella, too, tends to go well with tomato-based chutneys.
7. Garlic Dill Mustard
It's not always easy to find the right condiment for hard cheeses. Stronger cheeses like cheddar tend to overwhelm your mouth, meaning they need an equally powerful flavor to compliment them. This is where mustard comes in.
Spicy mustard, like garlic dill mustard, has the spice to add a tingle to your tongue as you take a bite of cheese. Not only is this flavor delicious on its own, but it prevents the sharpness of cheddar and other hard cheeses from overwhelming your senses.
Experimental eaters can also include horseradish on their cheese boards for a similar effect.
8. Sour Cherry Preserves
Citrus is an underlying theme to a lot of the ideal cheese board dips. Combine the sour citrus kick of preserved cherries with soft cheese, and you have a match made in heaven.
Sour cherry preserves are all but guaranteed to bring the lift you need to cheeses like brie or even swiss. You can include a dollop of these preserves with any buttery cracker and cheese to keep your mouth prepared for your next culinary adventure.
What Do You Serve With a Cheese Board?
Cheese boards and charcuterie boards may have some significant overlap, but they're not the same things. Even so, you can serve many of the same side dishes as you would with a charcuterie board when you put a cheese board out and on display. These include:
- Sharp or aged cheddar
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Goat cheese
- Blue cheese
Bread and Crackers
As mentioned, certain condiments like jams and preserves go well with unique cheese. For more staples, however, it's best to look to crackers and bread.
You ideally want a non-flavored or light carb to go with your cheese. These additions are meant to accentuate your bread, not overpower them. With that in mind, keep away from garlic crackers or seedy bread.
Grapes and Fruit
Cheese and grapes are a match made in heaven. If you can find some purple grapes at your local grocery store, you've got the perfect cheese board accessory locked and loaded.
That said, there are other fruits that go well with cheese boards. Honeyed dates make an excellent addition, as do nectarines and orange slices. Cherry tomatoes, which are technically a fruit, are also a nice, acidity addition to the swath of cheese you make available to your guests.
Meats (In Moderation)
A cheese board, as the name suggests, celebrates cheese. The inclusion of fine meats can make for an interesting spread, but it can also take away from the board's overall weight in question.
If you do want to include meats for some of the hungrier members of your party, consider something like soppressata ham or speck. Cured meats, too, have the salty, aged flavor to either match or contrast the cheeses you have on your board.
What Cheese Goes on a Cheese Board?
You've determined what dips and add-ons you want to go with your cheese board. But what about the cheese itself? It's in your best interest to try and bring a diversity of cheeses to the board you intend to share. This way, your guests can experiment with a wide variety of flavors. Some of the best cheeses to display on your cheese board can include:
What Jam Goes With Cheese?
Most cheeseboard cheeses are going to be rich in flavor. While parmesan may be salty and cheddar may be sharp, both benefit from including something sweet to balance them out. Jams tend to offer the complement that these cheese need. Some of the best pairings include:
- Cream cheese and blackberry jam
- Blue cheese and blueberry jam
- Butterkase and fig jam
- Havarti or brie and raspberry jam
How Do You Eat From a Cheese Board?
Etiquette is a complicated issue to discuss, especially when you're working on a cheese board. Different cheeses require different manners, as do different settings. With that in mind, consider the environment you're in as well as the type of cheese it is you want to eat.
The more formal the dinner you're at, the better it'll be for you to take small samplings from the cheese board. Be sure to use utensils when they're made available to you and to keep a napkin on hand at all times.
In less formal settings, your only restrictions should be based on party size and cheese type. Most of the time, informal dining settings encourage guests to graze from a cheese board or eat when they're hungry and to their satisfaction.
In other words, do not dive into the brie with your fingers, but don't be afraid to take enough to fill you up, either. Stay polite and use your intuition for the best party results.
Elevate Your Cheese Board Arrangement
Cheese boards are all the rage at today's house parties. What distinguishes a great cheese board from a good one, though, is the dips you arrange alongside your various cuts of cheese. Get creative while keeping some staple condiments near by, and you'll have a sure-fire arrangement all but guaranteed to keep your guests happy.