DISCOVERING HABANERO CHEESE PAIRINGS for the Aspiring Cheesemonger

Posted by: Lynne Roy - Manager, Product Marketing - Bothwell Cheese

For the cheese connoisseur, pairing cheese with wine, beer, spirits and other accompaniments is an art; but not all cheese lovers have the same instincts.

Pairing a flavoured cheese, such as Bothwell’s Habanero with Cracked Black Pepper, may seem even more daunting. That’s where we step in!

We’ve gathered the best snacking and entertaining combinations for this award-winning cheese so that you can feel like a cheesemonger too.

When pairing a high heat cheese, the idea is to compliment or contrast the hot flavour notes and the following suggestions will do just that.

PAIRING TIP #1: Add some fat. Doing so will reduce the intensity of the hot peppers in the cheese.

Use fat contributors, such as:

  • Naturally flavoured potato chips (i.e. plain or ripple)
  • Charcuterie meats (i.e. Genoa salami)
  • Avocado (try this pairing in a grilled cheese, you won’t regret it.)
  • Flavour-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oils (i.e. lemon or peach).

PAIRING TIP #2: Add something sweet. The residual sugars give your taste buds the impression of reduced heat. Sweet flavour combinations include fresh, dried and candied fruits, plus jams and honey.

Experiment with sweet pairings, such as:

  • Mangoes, peaches, or cantaloupe
  • Dates, figs, or sweetened cranberries
  • Candied mango or ginger
  • Vanilla & rhubarb jam

Image Source: Livestrong.com


PAIRING TIP #3
: Compliment with vegetables. The freshness of veggies brings out the heat profile in the habanero peppers. Our recipe for Chorizo Habanero Stuffed Poblano Peppers is the perfect way to experiment with this pairing.

Try layering vegetable combinations, such as:

  • Sliced fresh yellow, red or orange bell pepper with mixed sprouts.
  • Sliced cucumber, mixed sprouts, cherry tomato

BONUS PAIRING TIP: Eat with bread. Bread absorbs the oils in the habanero peppers and balances out the heat in the cheese. Add French bread slices as a base for any of our suggested combinations and be sure to try our BBQ Chicken Habanero Flatbread recipe.

Image Source: Red Spring Bakery

While cheese making is part science and part art, pairing them doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t overthink it – all palates are different. Experiment with various accompaniments to find your winning combination.

Happy pairing!