Pick some different sweet condiments like apple butter, pear compote or rosehip jam, some crispy and fresh slices of fruit and add some crunchy nuts. Serve on a cheese board and let your guests experiment with flavors and different combinations. It’s a great way to discover new flavors but also a great conversation starter!
Here are five of my favorite sweet condiments for cheese:
Smooth and spreadable apple butter is delicious with cheese. The consistency is more compact than jam and the apples become caramelized as much of the water they contain is boiled away. And there’s no need to hold back the spices when making apple butter. All the warm autumn spices can be used – cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, cloves, fennel seed, allspice and star anise. Add one or two or just keep it au natural. This version is quite simple with just cinnamon and vanilla making it pretty all-around.
Apple jelly tastes divine with cheese. And even better – it’s a great way to use up some of those less-than-appetizing apples hanging on the tree. If you have your own apple tree, then try to pick them before they’re fully ripe if you plan on making jelly.
If you have made a lot of jelly but don’t think you will use it all with the cheese, it is also great for adding flavor to sauces and gravy as well as in marinades or homemade sweet chili sauce.
Blackberries make the very best jam! Out of season, a little basket of fresh blackberries costs a pretty penny. But all of that changes when they’re in season and you can just crawl into the nearest blackberry thicket to pick them yourself. To enhance the flavor of the blackberries, this recipe uses less sugar than most recipes for blackberry jam.
The biggest difference between compote and jam is probably the fact that jam is preserved for later use while compote is and should be enjoyed somewhat sooner. For this pear compote we added a little fennel seed to give it a slight anise/liquorice flavor. Make sure to add a little lemon juice to taste to balance out the sweetness.
If the pears are very hard, they won’t necessarily turn nice and soft. If they’re very ripe, they may only need to be cooked briefly. So keep an eye on the pot if you want compote with some structure.
Pickled Rose hips
Rose hips and the rose plant is a very fragrant bush and the berries taste exceptionally good. It may be a little work to clean rose hips, but it's worth it and when you have jumped past the obstacle, a very good option is to make this pickled variety. The syrup also tastes incredibly good. I have decided to spice it up with some hazelnuts in season about the same time as rose hip. This fits any cheese board so make plenty!