Back in July, I decided to host a contest – I wanted to support readers from around the United States who are committed to exploring local cheese. So the folks at Di Bruno Bros. and I decided to offer a copy of our book, The Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, to one person from each of the 50 contiguous United States. The best “state cheese board” would win a free book.
From the entries we received, we’re selecting three favorites to showcase here – from Georgia, California, and Wisconsin. They represent the most creative cheese boards that were submitted. Curious to try some? Next time you pop into Di Bruno Bros., ask to taste something from your home state or from one of the cheese boards below.
Check back later this week to see a few more of our favorite boards!
Georgia Cheese Board
By Laura Buchanan
Laura writes: I created a pub cheese plate of sorts. I made a homemade cheeseboard using a baking sheet and chalkboard spray paint.
On the board I have locally made mozzarella and goat cheese from Blue Moon Creamery. I lightly battered the mozzarella and pan-fried it. I used peaches from a farm in north Georgia and honey from Cleveland, GA to make a peach chutney to top the mozzarella with. The goat cheese was a sampler of cranberry, blueberry, and strawberry goat cheeses.
I made homemade pretzel bread for the cheeses. On the cheeseboard there was also homemade boiled peanuts- a Georgia favorite (and a favorite of our guests who enjoyed them!). We rounded out the plate by serving locally made beer from SweetWater Brewery in Atlanta, GA.
California Cheese Board
By Ryan Johnson
Ryan writes: This cheese board is the culmination of three or four years of me slowly falling in love with the cheese and produce in Northern California. While the breadth of beautiful food in this area lends to a thousand possible plates, the pairings I’ve brought together on this board reflect my personal favorites and the bounty of summer at the farmer’s market. Everything on the board is super local. Except the infamous Humboldt Fog, everything is produced within eighty miles of my doorstep in San Francisco.
I’ll start with Foggy Morning, which is not only aptly named for it’s fresh taste and damp, pillowy paste, but in that it’s great for breakfast. I paired it with fresh, still-sweet peas and purple basil to play up the brightness.
Next is Andante Dairy’s Tomme Dolce, a beautiful cheese with a million layers. Wet, lactic, sharp, citrusy, a whiff of dank funkiness, and a paste that gives balancing nutty undertones. The majority of cheese pairings add some crunchy texture, but with this one I wanted to bring it in the opposite direction. I paired it with blackberries, which brings the texture from Comte-esque to ethereal, and included a gin and tonic with meyer lemon, which brings you from ethereal to actual heaven.
The ‘main course’ is Nicasio Square, a washed-rind that hits you with an aroma and flavor that’s deeply nutty, earthy, bacon and mushroomy, as some caramel sweetness peeks out from behind. I paired it with a toasted dried fruit bread and medjool dates to bring the cheese’s natural sweetness forward. Russian River’s sour Supplication is the perfect beer to pair.
Secondo is Humboldt Fog with black figs and lonza, which seems like more of an antipasto if you’re a traditionalist. However, this is my cheese plate, and I like the progression of a washed rind in the previous pairing into a cured meat in this one. Especially lonza, which is cured with honey and has a nice mead-like funk. This pairing is a classic of the area. Sweet, rich, aromatic, and it really comes together in back of your throat more so than on your tongue.
The last cheese – Point Reyes Bay Blue – is my favorite blue in all of the USA (sorry, Oregon), but completely overshadowed by it’s more popular yet inferior younger sibling. Aged for longer than their regular blue, to me this cheese has the perfect variety of blue stank and is held up by a rich paste that is not too nutty or too sweet or too dank – just a little bit of each. I’ve put it with dark chocolate, black honeycomb, and nocino (a sweet walnut liquer) to end on a sweet note.
Wisconsin Cheese Board
By Karuna Sijpati
Karuna writes: You’d think that making a cheese plate that represents Wisconsin would be easy, but it was really a bit of a challenge. With such a rich history and crazy variety of options, it’s hard to fit it all on the plate! All of the edibles came from some great (and diverse!) sources, all within 5 miles of me: the Dane County Farmers Market, Fromagination (specialty cheese shop), Metcalfe’s Sentry (“fancy” grocery store), and Woodmans (less fancy grocery store)
The flags represent the wonderful dairies and cheesemakers around the state that appear on the plate (or…possibly next to the plate). The cheeses you see in my photo are:
For more inspired cheese board ideas, please visit Madame Fromage.