Gun to the head, what’s the best cheese to slice for snacking with crackers, the proverbial desert island cheese, the last cheese standing in the Great Cheese Debate?
If you said “sharp cheddar,” then you’re right. If you can only pick one cheese to enjoy for the rest of your life, by all means that’s the one to choose. And if you disagree, that’s fine, you go and enjoy your Roquefort or Pecorino Romano or whatnot, it’s every bit your right to be wrong. We can agree to disagree this time.
Besides, we’re actually not here to talk about cheese today anyway, which is good because hackles rise quickly whenever the Great Cheese Debate comes up — Exhibit A is this Roquefort-loving guy over here. Yeah, you there in Ohio. We see you. While it would be easy to go on and on about the peerless Bergamont & Hibiscus Rubbed Fontal wheel from Cello or the delicious semi-solid goo that is French Camembert du Bocage to a good ol’ mozzarella, without which pizza would be the pits, today we’re here to talk about the best crackers for cheese.
Consider the cracker. It’s flat. It’s dry. It’s crunchy. And it’s starchy, traditionally wrought of wheat, though today rice, sorghum, almond flour, lentils, and other whatnot are often used to produce these oft under-appreciated snack delivery systems. Why, see there I’ve done it myself! Snacks need not only be seen as vehicles for other foodstuffs — many can stand up proud on their own … and then be eaten. But even the best cracker is better when eaten topped by a fine cheese.
Pepperjack, brie, blue, or classic cheddar, you choose your cheese, but here are seven of the best types of cracker to serve beside your cheese, salami, and fruit platters. (Or just to have in your pantry because snack time, baby.)
If cheddar is the desert island cheese, then Triscuit is the desert island cracker. This elegantly simply wheat cracker contains but three ingredients: whole grain wheat, vegetable oil, and salt. That is, until you get into Triscuit flavors like Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil, Four Cheese & Herb, and so on. Triscuits, especially the basic one, let the full flavor of a cheese present itself, and they’re tough enough to be loaded with generous chunks of the stuff.
Frankly, I dislike most gluten-free products that try to fill a usually glutinous niche. These crackers, however, I like. They have a decent crunch, they have a decent dose of protein, and they taste good, by far the operative here. And when you go beyond their OG sea salt flavor to the Everything or the Cheddar variety, they are surprisingly flavorful — enough that even a milder cheese like a gouda pops.
Table water crackers have so little flavor that they demand a big cheese like an asiago or a smoked brie. Better yet, they ask for a slice of salami, a wedge of Manchego, and a Spanish olive on top. Yes, as with Triscuits, you can get table water crackers in various flavors, but the basics will always be the best because they form the backbone of the bite.
These long, slender crackers look great on the platter and fortunately taste as good as they look. They are perfect for long, slender slices of cheese but also make great vehicles for dips. You can even crumble them into soups or salads, but these sourdough flatbread crackers are at their best with a good sharp cheddar. Maybe a Vermont white, eh?
Regular Wheat Thins (or the same such cracker beyond the name brand) just don’t have enough substance to make them good crackers for cheese. Stoned Wheat Thins, on the other hand, are thick and robust and great for creamy spreading cheeses or big chunks of harder cheese alike. They’re also pretty damn good with a layer of peanut butter.
Heads up, these crackers don’t crunch like the others. They have more of a chewy bite than a crisp and crumbly feel, and that unique mouthfeel — if we’re getting truly highfalutin — is in step with their unique flavoring. The taste profile of each of the three varieties linked here, Hazelnut Cranberry, Rosemary Raisin Pecan, and Fig And Olive are each both sweet and savory, and they beg for a softer cheese with milder flavor, like a Chevre.
These hearty baked “biscuits” are really just big crackers that are mildly sweet and perfectly delicious when balanced out with a sharp, tangy cheese like a Manchego or an aged cheddar. And because they’re so filling, you can grab a few of the biscuits, a hunk of cheese, and get out the door and on your way without getting hangry. (Also, they make charming commercials.)
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