The cheese course has a new beverage pairing to explore

Cheese plate served at the White House
Cheese plate served at the White House / Kevin Dietsch/GettyImages

While abundant cheese plates captivate the senses, ending the meal with a cheese course and a beverage to sip might be the ultimate dining experience. Instead of a sugary spoonful as the final bite, the savory ending creates eating satisfaction. Rather than another glass of wine, consider an Italian digestif, an amaro, as the food and beverage pairing.  

Recently, Tillamook released its 2024 dairy food trends predictions. While there may be a push for more cheddar variety, those flavor variations are more than another infusion of wine, beer, or even a little herbaceous note.  

Adding to that conversation, the Tillamook experts believe that globally inspired, spicy flavors will influence the cheese conversation. Whether those slices top savory burgers or creative a new take on some air fryer nachos remains to be seen. But, the traditional offerings will sit side by side with some bold counterparts.  

Speaking to the 2024 dairy trends predictions, Katie Petri, Director, Consumer & Market Insights, TCCA and member of the Tillamook  “Predict the Yum” Trends Taskforce said, “It was really fun to step back from our day-to-day work to think about how trends we are seeing here in the Pacific Northwest or in our industry may impact restaurants, dinner tables, and charcuterie boards nationwide. A few of our 2024 trend predictions were influenced by analyzing how consumers are grocery shopping and prepping their foods, which directly impacts shopping lists, specific ingredients, and flavor choices. 2024 should be delicious!” 

The unexpected cheese course beverage pairing that ends the meal on a high note.  

One of the 2024 dairy trends predictions included pairing an end of the meal cheese course with amaro. For those unfamiliar with the term, amaro refers to a bittersweet herbal liqueur. Many people might be familiar with Aperol, Campari, or even Fernet Branca.  

While many people pair a cheese course with a wine, choosing a digestif can be a more rounded end to a meal. Whether or not the pairing is truly helping with digestion can be debated over many glasses and plates, the reality is that this food and beverage concept might be the less sweet, more satisfying option.  

Thinking about this cheese and amaro pairing, this idea is not necessarily that Aperol Spritz that people drink in the mid-afternoon sunshine. It is more of a Fernet Branca with its herbal, earthy notes that can highlight some of the sometimes overlooked flavors in a cheese.  

For example, a reserved cheddar with buttery, bready notes contrasted by the floral, medicinal flavors of an amaro seems to be the period to the food sentence. No one is left wanting more after this food and beverage pairing.  

Whether or not this concept will arrive at the local restaurant or at the next dinner party remains to be seen. But, it is another chapter to add to the never ending food trend conversation.