With Thanksgiving and winter holiday season right around the corner… we wanted to dole out some tips on how to make an awesome New England Cheeseboard! Obviously, a cheeseboard starts with the cheese selections…we have a few favorite cheese makers here in New England who we suggest you start with.
Arethusa Farms is located in Litchfield, CT and they make some amazing cheese all produced on premises from their award-winning cows. One of our favorites from these producers is there, Arethusa Blue. This blue cheese captures the rustic elegance of our favorite farmhouse blues from the British Isles. Chocolaty and toasty, sweet yet pleasantly salty, firm yet creamy, Arethusa Blue boasts a deep, multidimensional flavor. Blue cheeses in general pair perfectly with maple syrup, apple jam & honey and this cheese is no exception.
Cato Corner Farm is located in Colchester, CT and offers over 16 varieties of cheese made on premises but our favorite is by far their funkiest, The Hooligan. This cheese is a ripe washed-rind cheese with a soft creamy paste, slightly firmer center and gorgeous orange rind. This cheese spreads perfectly on toast points or crackers and pairs delightfully with candied pecans, pepper jelly, dried cranberries and honey.
Jasper Hill Farm is located in Greensboro Bend, VT and their motto is “A Taste of Place” and that is exactly how their cheese is created. Jasper Hill Farms offers a wide variety of artisanal cheese, but our favorite came from a collaboration with well know Vermont Cheese producer Cabot to produce a cave aged cheddar. This cheddar is full of flavor crystallization and pairs great with pumpkin butter, blueberry jam, maple syrup and maple candies.
There are many other amazing cheese producers here in New England and we encourage you to try them all! Now that we have the cheeses covered it’s all about the accoutrements! When putting together your cheeseboard this holiday season consider adding these New England ingredients as accompaniments to your cheese selections; artisan crackers or toast points, roasted almonds or candied pecans, locally harvested honey, maple syrup or bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, pumpkin butter, apple jam, blueberry jam, pepper jelly, fig jam, fresh fall fruits like apples or pears, marinated olives or pickled vegetables. Lastly here is an easy do it yourself recipe for pumpkin butter to bring your cheeseboard to the next level!
Easy Pumpkin Butter Recipe
- 30 ounces pumpkin purée
- 2/3 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 Tbsp bourbon
- You can use canned pumpkin for this recipe or roast sugar pumpkins to make your puree. If starting with whole pumpkins; set your oven at 400F, core and deseed pumpkins, roast for 20 minutes in oven with convection setting on, rotating half way through. Once pumpkin is cooked, remove from oven, let cool and then remove flesh off of the skin, place in a food processor and puree until fine.
- Add all ingredients to a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat and stir to combine.
- Once it begins bubbling, reduce heat to low and simmer.
- Cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The total process should take 30-40 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent any over caramelization in the bottom of the pot.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more brown sugar or maple syrup for sweetness, lemon juice for acidity, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for warmth, or salt to balance the flavors.
- Once cooled completely, transfer to a large glass container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.