Cheese & Pears – Sweet and Savory Pairings

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Topping a crisp, juicy pear with creamy cheese is a delicious and texturally-rich flavor combination. Whether you’re looking for a quick midnight snack or sophisticated hors d’oeuvres for your next dinner party, a cheese and pear pairing is a fun and sophisticated option. Perfect your pairings with these simple tips.

Start by becoming familiar with the flavor profiles of your pears. Comice pears, for example, are rich and creamy, featuring an almost custard-like texture with a strong, sweet flavor and a delightful scent. If you prefer a snack that’s light, crisp and refreshing, you may want to choose the smooth and slightly citrusy d’Anjou pear.


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After you’ve selected your pear, it’s time to find the perfect cheese. The first thing to consider is what cheeses have flavor profiles that will complement your fruit. Comice pears, for example, are so sweet that they benefit from just a little bit of salt. Try pairing your Comice with a salty, full-flavor cheese, like a Manchego. D’Anjous, on the other hand, work well with fresh, bright cheeses, such as feta. Golden pears, which are sweet and crisp, pair with anything from a strong blue cheese to a creamy aged cheese.


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Another important factor to consider is texture. To create the most interesting pairings, go for textural contrast. Top your creamy Comice pears with Stiltons or Gorgonzolas that feature just a bit of crystal formation or a slightly grainy texture. Crisp d’Anjous go great with smooth and creamy cheeses, such as a fresh goat Chevre.

Finish your delicious treat with a beautiful presentation. For plated or pass around dinners, prepare your pears by slicing them thinly, topping each piece of pear with a slice of cheese and finishing with a sprig of rosemary or sage for color. For something less formal, spread your cheeses and pears on a platter and let your friends dig in.


With the delicious pears and cheese in our Hickory Farms gourmet fruit baskets such as our Slice of The Season Trio, you can easily enjoy this fantastic sweet and savory combination at any gathering.


Impressive Cheese Platters for Party Guests

Nothing gets the party going quite like the delicious combination of fruit, cheese and wine. By choosing complimentary flavors of gourmet wine and cheese, you’ll be able to make the perfect cheese plate. Wow your guests with a fantastic platter using these simple guidelines.

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Start by selecting the cheese. This is where you get to be a little bit adventurous and have some fun. As a general rule, you want to pick between three and five different varieties and have two ounces of cheese per guest. Try mixing and matching cheeses with different flavors and textures to really keep your guests on their toes. Start with one blue cheese, one soft ripened cheese and one hard cheese, such as artisanal cheddar. Then, spice it up a little more by adding a fun or exotic cheese you’ve never tried before. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

Next, it’s time to add the accompaniments, starting with the fruit. Create a pretty presentation by rimming the platter with mixed slices of fresh fruit, including apples, plums, pears and peaches. Then pile on the dried fruits. Your platter should be filled with golden and dark raisins, dried apricots, cherries, dates and any other festive fruits you can think of. Finish by adding slices of baguette and wafer crackers, a mix of jams and chutneys and your serving utensils.

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Finally, it’s time for, perhaps, the best part – the wine! To keep your gathering casual and fun, don’t worry too much about directing your guests in their pairings. Instead, stock a collection of whites and reds in both dry and sweet options and encourage your friends to dig in. The more combinations your guests try, the more fantastic pairings you’re going to find.


With these simple tips, you can make a gourmet fruit and cheese platter you and your guests will love to snack on. For a great starting point for your party, pick up a Hickory Farms Vineyards and Orchards Gift Box. With wine, cheese and fruit, you’ll have everything you need to begin an amazing platter.

Tips for Hosting a Holiday Open House

For those who love to entertain but don’t necessarily want to throw a fancy dinner party, hosting a casual holiday open house is a great alternative. Your home is already decorated with festive décor, so all you’ll need to do is set the date, invite your family and friends, and plan some tasty treats for everyone to enjoy.

As open houses are less formal than other holiday parties, one of the keys to success is to keep it simple when it comes to the menu. Serving a variety of appetizers will keep your guests pleased and will give you more time to mix and mingle with your guests since all you will have to do is simply restock as needed throughout the event.

Also, Delish suggests planning a menu where most items can be prepared in advance. For instance, you can make a large quantity of spiced nuts several days before your open house event with gourmet nuts from Hickory Farms.

A meat and cheese platter makes for hearty munchies that guests will enjoy snacking on. Our Party Planner Gift Box has everything you need for such a spread: Beef Summer Sausage, Turkey Summer Sausage, cheeses like smoked Gouda and farmhouse cheddar, and sweet hot mustard.

Gourmet Nuts from Hickory Farms

Grand Nut Party Assortment

Fruit and Cheese Baskets from Hickory Farms

Fruit and Cheese Fest

Vegetable and dip platters are another easy appetizer for holiday open houses. We love this presentation with the dip placed inside a cored pepper instead of a bowl. The red and green peppers will add an extra touch of holiday color to your tablescape.

Veggie appetizer ideas from Hickory Farms

Photo via Mundo Chica

If you do want to serve a few warm appetizers, consider a cheese melt with breadsticks. Our Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese is always a great choice, but you can also spice it up with our Jalapeno Cheddar Blend or Parmesan Herb Blend for an extra burst of flavor.

Tablescape ideas from Hickory Farms

Photo via Country Living

Sweets are another holiday open house staple. Trays filled with treats like Holiday Petits Fours, Peppermint Snow Mint Cookies, Artisan Fudge, and Famously Thin Peanut Brittle will make any guest with a sweet tooth happy.

Dessert menu displays from Hickory Farms

Photo via Glorious Treats

Of course, no holiday gathering is complete without a variety of drinks. That’s the Spirit recommends offering one or two festive cocktails, as well as coffee, tea, cider and wine.

What are some of your go-to appetizers for holiday open houses? Leave a comment below to share with us, or share on the Hickory Farms Facebook page.