Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and crackers: ready for their close-up

Peanut butter has jelly. Burgers have fries. And cheese? What else could complement cheese but crackers? Cheese and crackers have been palling around for almost two centuries since they first made a splash as an after-dessert course in restaurants in the 1850s. Today, this classic duo is still going strong in everything from first-grade lunchboxes to the most elegant charcuterie board.

Now, don't tell crackers this, but here in Wisconsin, cheese is the star of this happy partnership. Sure, cracker brings the crunch and sometimes the hint of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. But in the end, the cracker is just the vehicle we use to eat our yummy cheeses.. We thank you, humble cracker, for letting cheese steal the spotlight. Here's to a long and happy union of flavor and crunch on the meat and cheese platter of life.

Which cracker for which cheese?

With so many cheeses and seemingly endless types of crackers, how can you know which two are the perfect pair? Here are a few cheese and cracker selection tips for your next cheese charcuterie board.

  • Spreadable cheeses. It takes a little bit of pressure to layer a soft cheese like fresh mozzarella or mascarpone , so you'll want something sturdier like a woven wheat cracker that won't fall apart. The neutral taste of water crackers is great for the bold, buttery flavor of triple cream cheeses. And the nutty, mushroomy flavor of camembert goes particularly well with crackers embedded with nuts, seeds, or dates.
  • Semi-soft cheeses. Cheeses like monterey jack or havarti are the easiest to pair with crackers because these cheeses keep their shape when you cut them. Butter-flavored crackers work with most semi-soft cheeses. Crackers with walnuts are great with fontina, and crackers with fennel or caraway work well for havarti or muenster cheese.
  • Hard and semi-hard cheeses. Harder cheeses may crumble a bit when you cut them, so a larger cracker may be needed to keep all the bits of flavor goodness from falling away. Crackers with dried fruit work well for cheddar, swiss, and manchego cheese, while olive oil crackers are delightful with parmesan.
  • Blue cheeses. The sharp, tangy flavor of blue cheese is well-balanced by a cracker with a bit of sweetness – try crackers flavored with honey, dried figs, or berries.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is cheese and crackers?

What is cheese and crackers?

Cheese and crackers is a well-known food pairing that first became popular in the 1850s when restaurants featured this pairing as an after-dessert course. Cheese and crackers were also a standard food ration for soldiers during the Civil War. They became ubiquitous in American households in the 1950s when cheese and crackers were widely recommended as a snack for children.

What are the best ingredients for cheese and crackers?

The best cheese and crackers pairing is a personal choice. Still, experts suggest that the most pleasing combinations feature a highly crunchy cracker topped with flavorful cheeses, a layer of sweetness from honey or fruit, and umami-rich ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, olives, prosciutto or anchovies.

Pile on the flavor with Wisconsin cheese and crackers

Whether it's championship-quality cheese and crackers, a spectacular cheese sauce or the best macaroni and cheese recipe you've ever tasted in your life, chances are the cheese will be from Wisconsin.

Did you know Wisconsin produces more flavors, styles, and varieties of cheese than anywhere else in the world? Or that we've won more awards than any other state or country? It's all because, as a state, we're pretty laser-focused on doing one thing really well: making the tastiest, most award-winning, highest-quality cheese in the universe.

So, the next time you're picking up cheese for a great platter of cheese and crackers, make sure it's from Wisconsin. The crackers will thank you, and your guests certainly won't be disappointed either.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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