You’ve heard about pairing wine and cheese and pairing meat and cheese. Now, get ready to take your Wisconsin Cheese to another level with jam pairings. Pairing sweet or spicy jams with fresh cheese unlocks a whole new world of flavor. For pairing best practices and our favorite jam and cheese pairings, look no further.
Jam vs. jelly vs. preserves
First off, let’s get down to basics: What’s the difference between jams, jellies, and preserves? They’re all fruit-based spreads, but their differences come down to how much of the original fruit is used to make them.
Jellies have the smoothest consistency and are made by mixing the fruit juice with pectin, and then heating it until it thickens. Jams are made in a similar manner, but small pieces of the fruit—like seeds or fibers—are left in the mixture, so you’ll get little bits of crushed fruit in each mouthful. Of the three, preserves use the most fruit.
For preserves, the fruit is chopped into small pieces, mixed with sugar, then folded into a syrup or jam. Citrus preserves even use the rind of the fruit. Jams, jellies, and preserves are all great options to pair with cheese. It just comes down to how much actual fruit you want in each bite.
Why pair jams and jellies with cheese?
Simple: they’re delicious together! The flavor of jam complements the cheese beautifully. Just like when you pair wine and cheese or cheddar cheese and apple pie, different combinations elevate the taste to be greater than the sum of its parts.
We love pairing soft, sweet cheeses with more bitter preserves or a spicy jam. Bold aged cheeses marry well with sweet jams and jelly. Mix and match to your heart’s content!
Best jams to pair with Wisconsin Cheese
Some jams were just meant to be featured on a cheese board. While we encourage you to try any and all condiments you have with Wisconsin Cheese, these are some of our favorite pairings.
Marieke Gouda with Apricot Preserves
We’ve never met a gouda we didn’t like, but Marieke’s might be up there as one of our favorites. Raised in the Netherlands, Marieke Penterman brought her time-tested, Old World cheesemaking methods to Wisconsin, where she combined them with some Wisconsin-style creativity—and we’re so glad she did. Marieke’s flagship gouda boasts classic caramel and butterscotch notes, and when paired with the sweet-tart flavor of apricot preserves, well, it’s a pretty goud-a combination. Preserves have more fruit packed in every bite than jam or jelly, which adds a nice variety in texture.
Carr Valley Bread Cheese with Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
Known as juustoleipa in Scandinavia, this traditional cheese is also one of the best-kept secrets of the cheese world. When warmed slightly, bread cheese transforms from squeaky and buttery to soft and caramelized. Our friends at Carr Valley Cheese Co. say it’s reminiscent of the French toast you had growing up, but extra cheesy and sweet. When topped with strawberry-rhubarb jam, each bite transports you to the sun-soaked fields of a summer’s day in the Finnish countryside. If sweet, fruity, and tangy is your, ahem, jam, then this pairing is right for you.
Roth’s Buttermilk Blue® Cheese with Honey
This is it. This is the blue cheese that will convert any blue skeptic into a blue-iever. Roth’s signature Buttermilk Blue is tangy and mellow—a perfect mild blue. Drizzle with honey for a creamy, sweet, intricate burst of flavor. Add chopped pecans or walnuts for an extra crunch, and thank us later.
BelGioioso Parmesan with Raspberry Jam
This parmesan is a labor of love. Aged in BelGioioso’s special caves for over 10 months, where it is hand-turned and carefully inspected, the result is a sweet, nutty aged parmesan with a tantalizing aroma. The slightly sweet, slightly tart raspberry jam balances and enhances the delicate flavor of parmesan. Suffice it to say, this unique pairing deserves a place of honor on your next cheese board.
Roelli’s Red Rock Aged Cheddar with Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
Ok. We realize mustard isn't a jam, jelly, or preserve, but this was too good not to squeeze in here. Ever had a cheese-and-mustard sandwich when you were young? Meet the adult version. We always say to match the level of intensity when pairing, whether you’re pairing cheese and jam or cheese and wine. The sharp taste of Roelli’s aged cheddar is balanced by the assertive Dijon. If you love cheddar cheese and you’re ready for a pairing to rock your world, look no further.
Pair on, Friends!
Inspired to try some new flavor combinations? With so many jams and Wisconsin Cheeses to choose from, we’d wager that there might be infinite pairings on the horizon. What a tasty challenge!
If these creative jam and cheese ideas have got you hungry for something else, try our selection of over 400 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese. Share your charcuterie board with us on Instagram or Facebook and become part of the largest cheese community in the world. Don’t forget to read our latest issue of Grate.Pair.Share where you’ll find even more recipes, stories, and tips!
Searching high-and-low for that one Wisconsin Cheese with no luck? You can get all your favorite Wisconsin Cheeses delivered right to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers that allow you to order cheese online. Award-winning Wisconsin Cheese is just a click away.
What jam goes with cheddar cheese?
Fig jam, strawberry jam, or mustard (not a jam, but darn tasty) all pair well with cheddar cheese. Make sure to match the intensity of your cheese to your pairing. A sweeter jam like strawberry will pair well with a young, mild cheddar, while a bold aged cheddar is great with hot pepper jelly, mustard, or even a chutney.
What cheese goes with blackberry jam?
Cream cheese pairs well with blackberry jam for a sweet twist, or choose a contrasting cheese for a balanced bite. A mild blue cheese, like Roth’s Buttermilk Blue, offers a spicy, flavorful taste that is wonderfully tempered by a sweet blackberry jam.
What does fig jam go with?
Fig jam pairs well with almost any Wisconsin Cheese! We love it with Butterkäse, blue, mild cheddar, or even cream cheese.
What jam goes with havarti?
Havarti, a soft and creamy Danish-inspired cheese, pairs well with raspberry, strawberry, and fig jam. For a savory pairing, try it with onion jam or bacon jam.