Elevate Your Cheese Board with Pâte de Fruit from Willamette Valley Confectionery


By Kevin Shalin

Cheese and wine lovers alike are constantly seeking out new and interesting combinations which pair well together, elevate the palate and create memorable eating experiences. And while a glass of red wine and a cheese board go hand-in-hand, many folks have probably never tried adding some pâte de fruit – a firm, jelly-like fruit confection – into the mix.

I recently sampled several flavors of Willamette Valley Confectionery’s pâte de fruits, including: raspberry, blueberry, marionberry and strawberry rhubarb. After referring to WVC’s pairing guide (see below), I put together a simple board of bleu and goat cheese, as well as popped open a nice bottle of Pinot Noir.

After all the components were in place, I decided to try each separately, and was particularly impressed by the beautiful colors and intense, vivid flavors of the pâte de fruit. Each simply tastes as if you’re biting into a piece of fruit, which in some respects, you are. A slight sliver of the tart and sweet marionberry, coupled with a crumble of soft, nutty bleu cheese, paired well with the subtly smooth Pinot. The goat cheese and the raspberry pâte, each with a somewhat less bold flavor profile, set off the other to perfection and was even more to my liking.  Finally, I chose to eat both the blueberry and strawberry rhubarb sans wine and cheese, opting to enjoy each of these pâte de fruits on their own.

So … whether you enjoy blueberries and  strawberries, or a good Reisling and Merlot wine, or sharp cheddar cheese and smoked gouda, just know that the combinations of wine, cheese and pâte de fruit are endless, and the fun of it all is finding the right pairing that truly ignites your taste buds.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of including an artisan confection on a fine cheese board probably never entered your mind.

Hopefully, now it should.

Just don’t forget the wine.

Pate de Fruit, Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide

Kevin Shalin, who has spent time living in Houston, Boston and Little Rock, is a writer of all things food related. His work has appeared on the Houston Press food blog Eating Our Words, as well as Eat Arkansas, Bourbon and Boots and his personal blog … The Mighty Rib.