There’s no better way to enjoy spring’s balmy breezes and long sunsets than with a lovely spread underneath the boughs of a flowering tree.
All you need for the ultimate picnic is a great blanket and the right cheeses and accompaniments – though a delicious bubbly wine or craft beer never hurts either. Check out our cheesemongers’ recommendations for your next picnic utopia:
Pick some up from the shop or simply make your own – either way, chèvre marinated in olive oil & fresh herbs is a delicious, fresh intro to spring.
After a dry winter, goats begin producing milk again in March, making spring the perfect time for the freshest chèvre you can find. Silky, rich olive oil, spicy chili flake and fresh rosemary & thyme add complexity and depth of flavor. Plus, this cheese comes with its own container, making it perfect for al fresco snacking.
Pair with: olives, multigrain crackers or fresh baguette, firm salami, prosciutto
Similar Alternatives: La Tur (goat, sheep & cow) // Wabash Cannonball (ashed-rind goat’s milk) // Marinated Feta (goat & sheep)
The tangy, herbal notes of a younger Pecorino are wonderful for outdoor nibbling. Many sheep’s milk cheeses have a bold richness, due to aging plus the intensity of the milk type. Pecorino Paglierino, from the esteemed Casa Madaio in Salerno, Italy, is aged only for a few months – resulting in a lighter cheese that is ideal for a picnic. It’s bright and milky, with notes of grassiness, citrus and peppercorns. Plus, it’s firm enough to hold up in the warmer weather, but not so hard that it requires a super-sharp knife for slicing. Win-win!
Pair with: olives, rosemary (or other herbed) crackers, spicy salami, fresh fruit
Similar Alternatives: Garrotxa (aged goat’s milk) // Manchego 1605 (sheep’s milk)
A picnic just isn’t the same without an aged cheddar or gouda. Why not try have the best of both worlds, with Coolea? A cow’s milk cheese made by a Dutch family that moved to Ireland decades ago, Coolea has the best qualities of both Irish cheddar and Dutch gouda. Its firm but smooth texture slices like butter, and its flavors are perfectly balanced between sharp, tangy notes and caramelized richness. This crowd-pleaser is one cheese you won’t be able to get enough of.
Pair with: fresh fruit (apples, grapes), fruit & nut crackers, saucisson sec, mostarda or pickled fruit
Similar Alternatives: Beemster XO Gouda (extra-aged cow’s milk gouda) // Beecher’s Flagship Reserve (cow’s milk cheddar) // Seven Sisters (local cow’s milk gouda-style)
Everyone loves gooey cheese, but it can be tough to manage in the great outdoors. Enter Harbison – a cheese with it’s own natural container! Harbison has a bloomy rind (think brie) but is also bound in a spruce bark, which holds the wheel together. To serve, slice off the top layer, stick in a spreader knife, and you’re set. Its woodsy, savory flavors and oozy, spoonable texture are extremely addictive, and a few cheese fiends can easily polish off the whole 8-oz wheel in one sitting.
Pair with: fresh fruit (apples, grapes), multigrain crackers or fresh baguette, smoked salami, olives
Similar Alternatives: Green Hill Double-Cream (bloomy rind cow’s milk) // Epoisses (washed rind cow’s milk)