Five Surprising Cheese Pairings | Tasting Table Recipes

Five surprising cheese pairings from Casellula’s fromager

At Casellula, a sleek Hell's Kitchen wine bar known for its inventive cheese pairings, fromager Tia Keenan knows the rules well enough to break them. To compose her intricate cheese plates, Keenan draws from her lengthy cheese list and a rotating selection of house-made accompaniments (preserves, sauces, pickles and amazing confections). She can match wine and cheese in her sleep, but Keenan prefers to play around with less common combinations. Here, she suggests five unconventional pairings:

Cheese: Andante Dairy Minuet

Pairing: Gus Extra Dry Ginger Ale soda

Why it works: A spicy, sparkling soda cuts through this extra-creamy goat cheese from California, which Keenan supplements with a ginger-plum compote and tarragon syrup.

Cheese: Zurwieser

Pairing: Brooklyn Brewery "Local 1" ale

Why it works: A crisp, Belgian-style wheat beer is a natural mate for this rare cow's-milk cheese from Bavaria. On the side, sweet lemon curd and crunchy raisin macaroons complement the hoppy brew.

Cheese: Gorgonzola Piccante

Pairing: Manotsuro "Four Diamonds" sake

Why it works: Dry, floral sake offsets the richness of this pungent, salty blue from Italy. Punchy wasabi-pickled green beans add a nice crunch.

Cheese: Mahon

Pairing: Dansk Mjod "Viking Blood" mead

Why it works: Reminiscent of sherry, this honey-based wine goes nicely with a sharp Spanish cow's-milk cheese; crunchy sunflower-seed brittle adds nuttiness on the side.

Cheese: Beehive Cheese Co. Barely Buzzed

Pairing: Alvear "Solera 1927" Pedro Ximénez sherry

Why it works: Chocolate and coffee are surprisingly happy bedfellows here: A semihard cow's-milk cheese encased in a coffee- and lavender-dusted rind with a crispy dark chocolate feuilleté and raisiny sherry. Buzzed, indeed.

Casellula, 401 W. 52nd St.; 212-247-8137 or