The Type Of Cheese That Takes Perfectly To A Drizzle Of Hot Honey

Of the many ways to enjoy hot honey — from transforming a drab slice of pizza to a cocktail that lacks pizzazz — our favorite is to generously drizzle the spicy sauce over cheese. But not just any cheese; the fresh, unripened varieties are what works best with this piquant syrup. 

Hot honey, with its larger-than-life flavor profile, make it better suited to pairing with mild ingredients, and when it comes to dairy that means keeping things on the fresher side. Since they haven't had the time to age, fresh cheeses don't have any of the strong, developed flavors or funky aromas of mature ones, meaning they won't compete with the condiment's bold flavors. Fresh cheeses, mildly milky with barely-there nuances of sweetness and tang, may not be strong in flavor, but they have a richness of moisture and heft that's effectively cut by hot honey's sweet heat, making the two an ideal match. 

Pair hot honey with these fresh cheeses

Hot honey is a welcome complement to nearly any type of fresh cheese. For example, a milky mozzarella or creamy burrata can fare particularly well when topped with a dose of fiery honey. Spreadable cheeses like a fromage blanc, delicate chevre, or even velvety quark can also become more interesting with a drizzle of the ingredient. But that's not all. Fresh ricotta, with its delicate sweetness, also makes for a wonderful match with chili-infused honeys, much like equally sweet but richly buttery mascarpone.

The fresh cheeses to avoid, however, include those with a more assertive profile. For example, while salty feta or tangy queso fresco may be great options to serve with regular honey, the same isn't true of hot honey. This is because the level of spice in the condiment can actually enhance the perception of saltiness in cheese, which can overwhelm taste buds and create a less-than-ideal flavor pairing. Essentially, opposites (neutral fresh cheeses and zesty hot honeys) really do attract.

After selecting the perfect cheese and the hot honey of your liking, the final step is determining how to serve the two. Simply place cheese and honey side by side on a board, or use a honey dipper to drizzle the peppery honey over the top. For spreadable cheeses, you can even stir in hot honey for better presentation. The only thing left to do is give this contrasting pairing a taste test!