It’s been raining quite a bit around San Francisco lately, which is so great for the drought-ridden land here! The abundance of California dairy and agriculture is the main force that allows me to keep blogging, so as we’re thinking of holiday cheese plate ideas, I thought I’d share with you an all-Californian cheese and fig spread. I love figs. They’re a part of my breakfast every day, so it’s only natural that I love them with cheese, too. My friend Maxx shared with me some local cheeses with figs and fig spreads from Valley Fig Growers, whose tasty products I had discovered several years ago at the Fancy Food Show. If you’re looking for an all-California holiday cheese board, this is a good starting point!
Here’s what excited my taste buds the most:
California Orange Fig Spread, Laura Chenel’s Fresh Goat Cheese. Since fresh goat cheese tends to have a bright, citrusy tang to it, the bright, yet subtle, orange flavor in the fig spread made a cheery complement. This would make a nice breakfast cheese pairing. A sunny start to the day.
Organic Mission Fig Spread, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company Foggy Morning. Foggy Morning is possibly my favorite Nicasio Valley cheese—pillowy soft, fresh and milky tasting, made from the Lafranchi family’s own cows’ milk. I didn’t want to mix too many different flavors to detract from the cheese and the figs, so I kept this pairing’s flavors simple. California figgy goodness with California milky goodness, and I was a happy Miss Cheesemonger.
Balsamic Pepper Fig Spread, Marin French Triple Crème Brie. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant about this fig spread before tasting it, since my cheese mantra is “keep it simple.” The flavor combination was surprisingly pleasant, though, and appropriate for stronger cheeses. I had on hand Marin French Cheese Company’s Triple Crème Brie, which is a velvety, mushroomy, creamy choice, one that needs to be paired with stronger flavors. I’d like to try this with a stronger cheese, maybe Weirauch Farm’s washed rind Peau de Pêche.
Port Wine Fig Spread, Point Reyes Blue. Figs and port are such a classic combination in my mind. Maybe it’s because port has a sweetness reminiscent of figs all on its own. Port wine and blue cheeses are one of my go-to cheese pairings. In this case, the delivery was just a little bit different. The fig port spread stood up well to the creamy, tangy Point Reyes Blue, although I think I would like to try this next with Point Reyes’ Bay Blue, which is a little more mellow and sweet, and could round out the port fig spread a bit better.
If you want some more scrumptious cheese plate inspiration, visit my French cheese and jam pairing session.
*The cheeses and fig products in today’s post were provided by the respective cheese and fig product companies. All opinions are my own.