Cheese is one of life’s great pleasures. The variety of cheeses available nowadays is mind-blowing and it is truly baffling to think that all cheeses start with just a few simple ingredients; milk, rennet and salt.
I love to eat my cheese naked without too much embellishment that distract me from the tastes and textures of my chosen fromage. However, I do make one exception, and that is honey.
Honey, much like cheese, is a kaleidoscope of flavours which are influenced by the nectar in the flowers the bees discover around their hives. Honey can elevate and change the taste of cheese into something altogether more sumptuous.
Here are a few of my favourite cheese and Hilltop Honey pairing suggestions.
I got married in Tuscany and they served us slithers of parmesan and pecorino cheese with little pots of local honey alongside drinks, which was just magical. Closer to home, Mario Olianas is a Sardinian who has made his home in Leeds. He makes the most amazing Yorkshire Pecorino which at 30 days old is fresh, smooth and totally moreish. Try drizzling some Hilltop Blossom Honey on it for a real pop of flavour.
I wasn’t a big blue cheese fan until Blur bassist Alex James poured honey onto a chunk of his No. 7 Blue Monday cheese at our first ever Homage2Fromage event and I was a convert. Honey on blue cheese is a game changer. It levels out the blue and makes the flavours pop in an altogether more subtle way. Hilltop’s Cut Comb in Acacia honey is so pretty on a cheeseboard and is wonderful drizzled seductively over a piece of Shepherd’s Purse Harrogate Blue cheese, which is soft and creamy with a golden colour.
My favourite cheese is cheddar, but I fluctuate between different producers. I love Lincolnshire Poacher which is a cross between a cheddar and an Alpine cheese and also Godminster organic cheddar. My current obsession is Hafod which is an unpasteurised cheddar made by hand at Holden Farm Dairy in Wales. It has a real depth of flavour with caramel flavours which go perfectly with a Hilltop’s Welsh Blossom Honey.
Scotland is often overlooked as a cheese-making country but make no mistake, there are some innovative and inspiring cheese producers. With the vast swathes of Scottish heather, the honey is fragrant and earthy. Highland Fine Cheese based in Tain produce a whole range of excellent cheeses but its Black Crowdie, a creamy soft cheese rolled in Scottish pinhead oatmeal and black peppercorns, pairs beautifully with Hilltop’s Scottish Heather honey.
Hilltop Honey produce a Uruguayan Eucalyptus honey which has a rich amber colour and mellow woody taste, it needs a strong cheese to balance it out. Pair it with a French Fourme d’Ambert which is one of France’s oldest cheeses and is soft and smooth with a wonderful blue taste.
Staying in France, we have a beautiful goats cheese called Buchette Miel et Fleur in our Festive cheese boxes, which is infused with honey and coated in rose petals, cornflowers and marigolds. Goats cheese pairs brilliantly with lighter blossomy honeys like a floral Hilltop British Blossom honey.
Finally, nothing beats a drizzle of honey on a Camembert which is then baked to goey perfection in the oven
- Cheese and honey pairing from Vickie Rogerson, co-founder of Homage2Fromage
Homage2Fromage is a unique cheese brand which delivers fun and distinctive cheese experiences without formalities or pretensions. It pivoted from events into cheese boxes during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
It was created in 2011 by Nick Copland and Vickie Rogerson who are both obsessed with cheese. It’s grown in popularity over the years with cheese clubs in cities across the UK – London, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Didsbury, York, Shipley, Bradford and Harrogate - and attracts 1000s of people every month.
It also runs cheese-based supper clubs, cheese parties, corporate events and festivals and are famous for opening Yorkshire’s first ever Cheese restaurant in Leeds in 2015.