Make your cheese board sing with preserves
Putting together a cheese board can be a lot of fun. In addition to cheese, bread, and crackers there are so many choices to really liven up the experience.
We recently had the pleasure of spending an hour training with Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld, who co-founded Quince & Apple with her husband, Matt, in 2009. The Madison-based company creates preserves that beautifully complement cheese. All of their products are made in five-gallon pots and jarred by hand with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
“Our vision was to make easy, elevated food,” Clare said.
In addition to cheese boards, their preserves can be used as sandwich spreads, and the sweeter ones are great mixed into pastries. And, of course, just spreading it straight on bread is very tasty, too.
Here are some of the Quince & Apple preserves we carry and some fun ways to use them.
Shallot Confit with Red Wine: This onion-based spread has a lovely savory-sweet balance. Clare recommends it with blue cheese, gorgonzola, Parmesan, manchego, truffled cheese, sharp cheddar, alpine-style cheeses like Prairie Ridge Reserve, and stronger-flavored cheeses in general. It’s also a tasty addition to a steak, roasted vegetables, grilled cheese, and smoked turkey sandwiches.
Figs & Black Tea: One of the most versatile preserves, it’s very tasty with goat cheese, softer-flavored blue cheeses like the Point Reyes we carry, and creamy brie. It’s also delicious spooned over vanilla ice cream. Our favorite use is as the base for an easy pizza. Just pick up a pre-made pizza crust at the grocery store, spread on a layer of Figs & Black Tea, layer some prosciutto over it, and top with crumbled gorgonzola. Bake according to the pizza crust instructions. It’s delicious.
Raspberry Rose: This sweet, summery preserve was Quince & Apple’s best-seller in 2020. More tart than sweet, with citrus notes, it’s great with ricotta, comte, a mild creamy goat cheese like Humboldt Fog, and fromage blanc. We’ve also used it in place of raspberry syrup when making a Clover Club cocktail. And it’s just wonderful spread on bread and enjoyed on its own. Pair it with a light pinot grigio or fruity rosé.
Peach Chamomile: This is a more traditional preserve with notes of maple, brown sugar, and wildflower honey with a hint of smoke. It’s a lovely summer accent to tallegio, washed-rind cheeses, aged gouda, brie, and a cured ham and melon salad. It’s also delicious on a baguette. A nice, un-oaked chardonnay will pair beautifully.
Pear Mostarda: Basically, this is a fruit mustard and a really delicious one. It’s got a unique sweet-savory-heat thing going on that’s really delicious with stronger flavored cheeses like a sharp cheddar as well as sweeter cheeses. Spread it on anything where you would use a sweet mustard, particularly a ham and cheese sandwich.
We also carry Tart Cherry with White Tea, Pear with Honey and Ginger, and Apples and Cranberry. We would be happy to help you incorporate any of these delicious spreads into your cheese boards. Don’t forget pickled vegetables, nuts, charcuterie, and, of course crackers, baguettes, and flatbreads. We’ve got a great assortment to choose from.
Want to learn more about using preserves to bring out the best flavors in cheese? Quince & Apple will be holding a demo at the Market from 4-6 pm on Friday, May 7th. They will also sample Potter’s Crackers. We will share more details as the date gets closer.