The crunch of nuts is a tasty contrast to the creaminess of the cheese. There are a few nuts that pair especially well with cheeses. Serve them next to a cheese plate or sprinkle the nuts around a platter of cheese. Nuts are also the perfect garnish for salad recipes that include cheese. The following are four tasty nuts and the cheeses that pair best with them. Feel free to experiment with other nuts and cheeses. There is no wrong way to eat these two delicious foods. In addition to the nuts listed below, try flavor variations of each nut. For example, many nuts can be coated and then baked with either sweet or savory spices for an added flavor dimension.
Serving Cheese and Nuts at a Party
If you are serving these pairings at a party, consider labels for the cheese. Many people like to know what kind of cheese they are eating and it can be hard to tell just on looks alone. Also, note if any guests have any nut allergies. If so, they probably can't consume any food that is adjacent to the allergy-inducing nuts, so it can be thoughtful to keep some snacks separate from the nuts for anyone with allergies.
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Pecans have a natural sweetness that complements the saltiness of most cheeses. There is hardly a cheese out there that doesn't taste great with pecans. They are especially tasty when dressed up a bit with a sweet or spicy coating. For a spicy kick, try to make some Cajun-spiced pecans. These are tasty on a cheese plate, included in a salad, or even as a sweet potato casserole topping.
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Walnuts have an earthy flavor and drier texture when compared to other nuts, which makes them a delicious garnish for aged cheeses like cheddar. The flavor of walnuts also complements sheep's milk cheeses like Petite Basque and Pecorino Ginepro. If you want to serve walnuts with soft cheese, drizzle the walnuts with honey and serve them with blue cheese like Gorgonzola or Roquefort. Keep napkins on hand for sticky honey-covered fingers.
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Almonds and harder aged cheeses are an unbeatable afternoon snack, especially with slices of crisp apple. Raw and roasted almonds are good with most cheeses or try slivered almonds sprinkled on top of a soft cheese. Marcona almonds, which is a Spanish variety, are a popular nut. They pair well with any Spanish cheese. Marcona almonds can be found or made, roasted plain or with added spices like rosemary or curry.
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Pistachios lend their lovely greenish-purple color and delicious flavor to cheese plates. The nut looks and tastes its best when paired with creamy, light-colored cheeses. Serve pistachios with ricotta, fresh goat cheese, feta, and triple crème cheeses. When including pistachios on a cheese plate, remember to include a shell bowl for discarding the outside shells. If you really like the flavors of cheese and pistachios, you can make this warm, gooey Turkish kunefe dessert.