After two days of creamy cows-milk cheeses, we turn today to the equally luscious goats-milk cheese from California’s Cypress Grove: the multi-award winning Truffle Tremor. This earthy, rich cheese is always a delight.

Truffle Tremor and its fans (with cheesemaker Mary Keehn)

To really impress your guests, go all out and serve a truffle-themed cheese board with a trio of Truffle Tremor, Tartufo salami from Creminelli, and truffle honey. Add two more cheeses, perhaps Rogue River Blue and Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, to cut the richness (and round out your West Coast cheese trilogy). Serve with a dry sparkling wine from California.

It’s hard to imagine a more decadent way to ring in the New Year … but we’ll try with tomorrow’s #1 bubbly-worthy cheese pick, so stay tuned!

disclosure: I received free samples of Creminelli salami. No other compensation was received, and as always, all opinions and reviews are strictly our own.

It frequently happens that when we mention the name of our blog, the person responds, “Oh, I love champagne!” And I think to myself, “huh, we should really write about champagne someday…” Of course, it goes without saying that champagne pairs perfectly with a wide range of cheeses, but the use of its name here on the blog was originally intended to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Yes, we occasionally eat cheese with something bubbly, but really, cheese is perfect any time of the day, whether with coffee, chocolate, wine or even beer. Obviously, our focus here has been on the first half of the equation.

But if ever there was a time that called for cheese with champagne, surely it’s New Year’s Eve. Here are some of our favorite cheese and bubbly pairings (note we’re equal opportunists here, just as likely to serve cava or prosecco as the French version):

  • Cava with drunken goat and Mahon Curado, and Spanish almonds and olives
  • Prosecco cocktails with pecorino, such as pecorino foglie de noce, and tallegio.
  • For the real thing, champagne, stick with gooey French cheeses like Chaource. A warm crock of St. Marcellin is just the gooey sort of comfort food needed on a chilly winter night (assuming you’re not celebrating New Year’s in the Caribbean).
  • Of course you can stick with domestic products too, like Virginia’s Thibaut-Janisson Brut de Chardonnay and Cypress Grove’s bubble-worthy Truffle Tremor.
  • Some of my favorite cheese-and-bubbly pairings are not with wine at all, but with beer. Like Allagash’s effervescent Belgian-style White Ale with Jasper Hill’s Winnimere.
  • And for little ones, or designated drivers, try sparkling pear cider with a good cheddar. We might suggest Cabot clothbound.

Personally, I’ve got St. Marcellin and olives in the fridge for tonight, and an Oregon-inspired cheddar cheese ball in mind for watching the Ducks in tomorrow’s Rose Bowl. Jill’s planning a dressed-up comfort food meal of truffled mac ‘n cheese.

What are you enjoying your New Year’s cheese with?

As someone who attempts to eat mostly locally, particularly during the summer months, I generally look the other way when purchasing cheeses shipped by plane, train and auto across the Atlantic or from the West Coast. Sure, I have plenty of fine, local cheeses to incorporate into my weekly all-local meals, outside of the scope of our “100 Great Cheeses” list. But as the French national holiday Bastille Day approached, I began to wonder, is there anything France can do that we haven’t tried in the US? Would an all-American cheese and sparkling wine tasting leave us wanting something more?

With the grudging assistance of my cheesemonger, aghast at my proposal of “ignoring 2,000 years of French cheesemaking history,” I assembled four all-American cheeses made according to French recipes:

  • Jasper Hill Farm‘s Constant Bliss (Vermont), made in the raw-milk tradition of chaource but with only the uncooled evening milk of their Ayrshire cows, this rich, buttery cheese seems like a double- or triple-creme, and pairs perfectly with a sparkling wine.
  • Roth Kase‘s Grand Cru Gruyére Reserve (Wisonsin), another raw milk pick, is as smooth as any French gruyére, with fruity, nutty notes. I loved this with the chocolate and both the bubbly and beer.
  • Sartori Raspberry BellaVitano (Wisconsin) is a cheddar-textured cheese soaked in New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale for a decidedly American flavor. As smooth as a comté, the added berry tang makes this a nice match for sparkling wine.
  • Salemville Amish Blue (Wisconsin) is a very mild, sweet buttery blue that would not be my first choice among American blues. It was actually almost too sweet for the ale, but was mild enough not to overpower the sparkling wine.

I paired the cheeses with homemade pickled sour cherries (following a French recipe), Taza Mexican-style chocolate from Massachusetts, Thibaut-Janisson sparkling wine from Virginia, and Southampton Abbot 12, a Belgian-style ale from New York. Not exactly a 100-mile cheese board by any means, but still entirely sourced from the Eastern half of the United States.

The Constant Bliss and Thibaut-Janisson were just as sweetly matched as chaource and champagne, while the more sweet than tangy American blue was more appreciated by the blue cheese-adverse than those of us with a weakness for Roquefort. All in all it was a solid showing by the Americans. And what did we eat following the tasting? All-American buffalo dogs on the grill and a cherry pie for dessert. Vive la Revolución Américain!


We know budgets are tight these days, and gourmet cheeses can really make your grocery tab add up quickly. Here are a couple ways to incorporate cheese in your holiday feasts and still have enough money for the Hanukkah brisket, Christmas goose or whatever else is on your menu!

Pick a “showcase” cheese. Odds are you’re serving enough other food for people to fill up on, so you don’t really need to have multiple cheeses. Pick one high quality cheese, centered among spiced nuts and other accompaniments, and pair with a beverage, for a stand-out start or finish to the meal. Try Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor paired with a California sparkling wine for a first course, or a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano and spiced hot cider for an after dinner treat.

Make cheese a star ingredient. Baked brie – with seasonal cranberry sauce or fig preserves – stretches your cheese dollars and is sure to please a crowd. Or try blue cheese-filled endives, topped with pomegranate seeds (a la Eric Ripert) for festive little bites of cheese.

Look for budget-friendly cheeses. You don’t have to get the most expensive triple-creme cheese from France to wow your family and friends. Look for heartier favorites like a Dutch gouda or aged Irish cheddar – or look for domestic brands, like Cabot/Jasper Hill (Vermont) or Carr Valley (Wisconsin). Tillamook‘s vintage white extra sharp cheddar (Oregon) is a budget-friendly family favorite. A mild, hard cheese like cheddar and gouda will hold up well to a variety of foods and beverages as part of the holiday meal.

Skip the Champagne. Perfectly palatable sparkling wines from California, Spanish cava, or Italian prosecco can be found for $15-30, and will delight your guests when paired with cheese treats. I love Tarantas organic cava ($12.99 at Whole Foods) and have used Trader Joe’s $6 prosecco in pomegranate cocktails that are perfect for Christmas. Sean of Vinifico! recommends Zonin Prosecco Brut NV ($14), and Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre calls Scharffenberger Brut “America’s best bargain bubbly.” (See his blog for more bargain sparkling wine recommendations.)  

Hope your holidays are cheese-filled and merry!