I love pairing cheese and fruit, but I’d never heard of combining feta and watermelon until I talked to Lori Sollenberger from Hidden Hills Dairy last week. She makes a raw-milk feta that I’ve been swooning over ever since it arrived in my CSA share last week.
Lori's feta reminds me of saltwater taffy: sweet on the front end, salty on the finish. It also calls to mind a woman my parents used to know, who sprinkled salt on her watermelon. Her name was Mrs. Davidson, and she lived in Leipzig, Ohio – I can still see her lipsticky grin and remember how she taught me to latchhook. We used to visit her whenever my father needed to get his violin fixed; her husband was a violinmaker.
Mrs. Davidson always fed us well. She was a ‘50s era cook – a fan of molded jello served with a blob of mayo, that kinda thing. I got the feeling salted watermelon was part of her bouffant-and-big-smile past.
If you try this sweet-salty combination, wrangle some mint if you have it in the yard. It's strangely refreshing. Epicurious suggests taking things a step further and adding both ground pepper and red pepper flakes. Somehow, that’s oddly appealing, too. Don’t ask me why, child, don’t ask me why.
Below, you’ll find a few other cheese-and-fruit combinations that I love. With fresh fruit in season, these pairings are especially luscious, and they make for an impressive dessert on the fly when comp’ny comes over.
Delice de Bourgogne + strawberries
A gorgeous triple crème. Serve with bubbly and candied pecans.
Blue cheese + figs
Picky a salty blue. Set out hunks of honeycomb and toasted walnuts.
Goat cheese rolled in ash + blackberries
Valencay is widely available. Humboldt Fog is the real meow.
Aged cheddar + apples
Dress up with caramelized onions, crisp baguette rounds, and fresh rosemary sprigs.
Chevre + Asian pears
Crisp meets crisp. Drizzle with buckwheat honey.
Nectarines + fresh ricotta
For breakfast, top with brown sugar. For dessert, almond biscotti.