5 Super-Surprising Grocery Store Finds to Elevate Any Cheese Board

published Nov 22, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Despite your best efforts, sometimes planning gets away from you. And sometimes, perhaps you tire of the same old pairings for cheese during appetizer hour. Olives, crackers, baguette, honey, dried fruit, nuts. Blah, blah, blah! How about some easy-to-find and slightly oddball picks to change things up a bit?

These are my top five, super-surprising accoutrements to go on any cheese board. You easily can find them in any grocery store. Or better yet, you might even have a few of these things in your pantry already.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

1. Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix

Oniony, salty, and perfect. We all know its magical powers as the base for many things. But here’s the trick: Use fresh ricotta instead of sour cream for a creamier, cheesier version of French onion dip. Pair it with a walnut and fruit bread, and serve it alongside a cheddar for a pretty standout combination of savory and sweet. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

2. Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Cookies

They’re crisp and snackable to no end: a straw of dark chocolate ganache wrapped in a twirl of crisp tuille cookie. Throw them in a low glass and they’ll add some height and visual intrigue to any cheese plate in a flash. (Or just lay them down and call it a day.) Their sweetness is pretty much exactly what you need to contrast the brightness and saltiness of a spread of cheeses. Chocolate and cheddar? Yes, please. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

3. Kettle Chips Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

We discovered this accidentally and are totally into it now: Pairing S&V chips with blue cheese somehow elevates both elements. The blue can match the sting of the vinegar, and vice versa. And there’s something ironically highbrow about a humble pile of potato chips that we just love.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

4. Beef Jerky

If you’re shopping at a grocery store and can’t find some of the more common meats to pair with cheese, like prosciutto and soppresata, go for jerky. It’ll satisfy that umami thing we all crave to match our cheeses. Bacon also works. Bake strips in the oven at 350 degrees on a sheet pan until crispy, brushed with maple, cayenne, and sesame seeds. Baguette slices, be gone. 

Related: We Tried 10 Different Pouches of Beef Jerky — and There Was One Clear Winner

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Baby Sweet Corn in the Can

Instead of olives, cornichons, pickled okra, and peppadews, head to the canned section of your grocery store. You’ll be surprised at how well these crunchy little guys complement your wedges and rounds. 

Do you have any other surprising snacks you like to put on your cheese boards? Tell us about them in the comments below!