Cheese Expert Louis Risoli Crafts a New England-Made Sample Platter

Buying cheese is complicated, but your next dinner party doesn’t have to be. Louis Risoli, famed fromager of the late, great L’Espalier, comes to the rescue.

cheese plate

Find these cheeses and accompaniments at Formaggio Kitchen and Wasik’s Cheese Shop. / Photo by Nina Gallant

1. Bradbury Mountain Blue
Winter Hill Farm (ME)

Milk from the popular Jersey cow and super-rare Randall cattle
are combined to make this creamy, not-too-brazen blue.

Pairs with: Taza Chocolate’s 85 percent Super Dark, which balances out the richness with bitter cacao.

2. Arethusa Diva
Arethusa Farm (CT)

When fully ripe, this luscious, boldly aromatic cheese with the flashy orange rind is “dripping with personality,” Risoli says.

Pairs with: Effie’s Homemade corncakes and Wood’s Cider Mill’s cider jelly: Together, they bring out the “nutty, fulsome, caramelized flavors” of the cheese, Risoli says.

3. Burrata
Narragansett Creamery (RI)

When tomato-and-basil season hits, Risoli craves a caprese salad with slices of this “creamy, sweet” cousin to mozzarella.

Pairs with: Wasik’s Yankee Chutney, a “warmly spiced” relish made from the eponymous Wellesley cheese shop’s own recipe.

4. Claire’s Mandell Hill
Ruggles Hill Creamery (MA)

This brightly flavored, award-winning cheese is made from a small handful of milking goats, with subtle notes of thyme and lavender.

Pairs with: Carlisle Honey’s Blueberry Blossom “adds a languid summery touch to this herb-lined cheese,” Risoli says.

5. Landaff
Landaff Creamery (NH)

Crafted in the style of Caerphilly, a traditional Welsh cheese originally made to feed hungry coal miners, the firm Landaff showcases a mild, tart flavor.

Pairs with: New England Charcuterie’s venison salami, a bold, spicy selection that also complements Landaff in a sandwich.

6. Summer Snow
Woodcock Farm Cheese Company (VT)

Made during the warmer months, this super-soft—even runny—sheep’s-milk cheese has a decadent quality. Risoli calls it a “seasonal masterpiece.”

Pairs with: Nectarine Plum Cherry conserve from V Smiley Preserves, a similarly “sunshiny” combination of summer fruit and honey.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to New England’s Cheese Revolution