I'm a bit particular when it comes to crackers. I'm even more so when it comes to crackers with cheese. I tend to be an unequivocal supporter of plain bread alongside my wedges, and the less bread, the better. (It should be the cheese that shines, right?) But when I do go the way of a cracker, I have one go-to:
In recent years I've become much more open to the types of breads I'll serve on a cheese board— for years I was a steadfast baguette-and-baguette-alone kinda hostess. But I now appreciate a good fruit and nut loaf or even pumpernickel, the latter so especially good with a fresh goat or ripe brie.
But cracker-wise, I'm not too easy to please. Good crackers are expensive, and I think it's safe to claim that so many of them— hard in texture by nature— just don't compliment hard cheeses. Crackers, then, in my mind, don't go with about 50% of cheeses, so what sense does it make to even try to serve them? In terms of mouthfeel it's just nonsensical. Somehow, though, a soft bread works just fine with both soft and hard cheeses. Maybe it's the bread-lover in me, or perhaps it's a food paradox.
Leave it to Trader Joe's, then — surprise, surprise — to fashion an affordable, downright delicious cracker. It's gluten-free, too.
These paper-thin rice cracker thins are slender enough to hold varying textures and quantities of cheese, and they're light enough in terms of both heft and flavor not to overpower anything on your cheese plate. They're sesame-laden and really, so, so delicious. Ever-so-slightly salty, and just a bit nutty, which are the two components I look for in anything I pair with cheese. Pretty perfect, especially compared to those prevalent garlic and herb crackers that appear all too frequently on cheese boards.
These crackers are almost reminiscent of poker chips. They fit nicely in the hand, and you can almost dole them out in the same manner, with such great feel between your fingers. Only heightened, of course, with a smear of cheese— be it a hard or a soft one.
Next week, my (only) other go-to cracker. Stay tuned.
(Image: Emily Levenson, used with permission.)