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Beyond crackers: best cheese pairings

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Award-winning cheesemonger Hero Hirsh has picked her favourite accompaniments to enliven everything from brie to stinking bishop

Illustrations: Harry Malt

Ardrahan with Westons Organic Premium Cider

“Wine with cheese is great, but a glass of cider is best with this semi-soft cow’s milk cheese. The honey-coloured buttery flavour of the cheese gives way to a lingering nuttiness. Cider refreshes the palette and makes you ready for another bite.”

(Cheese £25/kg; £2.15, waitrose.com)

Morangie Brie with Tillmans Organic Lingonberry Jam

“A soft, melting brie made on a family farm in north Inverness, the ripe and earthy flavour marries well with the syrupiness of the jam. From the same family as cranberries, these small, tangy red fruits are eaten all over Sweden.”

(£4.95/250g; £3.70, scandikitchen.co.uk)

Cornish Blue with Paxton & Whitfield’s Nuts About Figs

“Firm with a mild, creamy flavour without any of the harshness of many blue cheeses, this pairs perfectly with the rich fig and walnut paste. Balancing the umami mouth-feel of the cheese, the paste adds texture and subtle sweetness.”

(£23/kg; £2.95, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk)

Eve with Beetroot and Horseradish relish

“A fantastic blend of sweet and peppery flavours, this relish provides a good contrast to the lemony smoothness of this runny goat’s cheese. It’s also a delicious way to spice up cold roast beef or smoked fish.”

(£6.50/125g; £4.50, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk)

Lord London with Gail’s Buttermilk Seeded Crackers

“The only cheese named after our capital, this citrusy and creamy pasteurised fromage is perfect heaped onto Gail’s artisan crackers, which are covered with seeds. The fennel and anise seeds help bring out the lemony notes in the cheese.”

(£25/kg; £1.60, ocado.com)

Stinking Bishop with Cocomaya’s Russian Tea Loaf

“Taking its name from a variety of pear (the cheese is dipped in perry), the pungent smell and immensely creamy flavour of this cheese are best accompanied by a fruity artisan loaf. The dried fruit and nuts in Cocomaya’s balance the power of the cheese.”

Montgomery’s cheddar with Caramelised Red Onion

“You need something powerful to stand up to the bold flavours of this aged Somerset cheddar and this sharp and sweet chutney is the one for the job. It really balances the nutty and dry notes. Together they make a brilliant gourmet cheese on toast.”

(£24/kg; £2.09, waitrose.com)

Good Queen Maude with Paxton & Whitfield’s Fig Ball

“Made with figs from southern Italy, slowly baked then wrapped in their own leaves, this is a great pairing for this firm, sweet sheep’s milk cheese and interesting for a cheeseboard. Maude’s fudge undertones are brought out by the dried figs.”

(£38/kg; £7.75, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk)

Perl Las with a glass of Romate Oloroso Sherry

“The sherry’s dried fruit flavours bring out the unexpected sweetness of this well-rounded blue cheese. Perl Las means ‘blue pearl’ and is made entirely by hand in west Wales. If stilton is too strong for you, this is a lighter and creamier alternative.”

(£22/kg; £6.99, majestic.co.uk)

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