Sunday, August 1, 2010


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.


  1. Love your suggestions and I love watermelon and feta together! Try adding some briny black olives and very thinly sliced red onions mascerated in lime juice. Then sprinkle over some finely chopped mint and this is an unbelievable summer salad.

  2. That sounds like a fantastic combo! I love watermelon by itself but I also eat it occasionally with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Thanks for the new way to enjoy this lovely fruit.