We all know the classic fruit and cheese combinations — grapes and brie, apples and cheddar, manchego and quince paste just to name a few. A couple of years ago I watched Dave Tallent do a cooking demo at the Bloomington Farmers Market where he made a salad with watermelon, feta, and tarragon, in a light vinaigrette. Wow. I’ve since seen the combo elsewhere, but that was my first exposure to the magic interplay of salt and sweet, soft and crisp, funky and fresh that comes from matching cheese and melon.
While sheeps milk feta is a good choice for eating with melon, I prefer a good goat cheese (feta or otherwise) because I really like that goaty tang. At last week’s market the Capriole Farms Old Kentucky Tomme tasted just right to me, so I bought a wedge and ate it up with a sweet, cold watermelon. Fabulous. I am embarrassed to say I ate most of it standing at the kitchen counter, dripping melon juice and spitting seeds into the sink.
This week the craving was still on me so I got another wedge of Old Kentucky Tomme and, because I am a sucker for stinky, barnyardy, washed rind cheeses, a wedge of Mont St. Francis too. For the sake of civilized eating behavior, I got a seedless watermelon. This time I resolved to sit at the table and eat it off a plate.
As you can see, there is, at least, a plate. The Mont didn’t love the melon – just too strong and salty I think. It was happiest on a piece of crusty bread, all by its lonesome. But the Tomme was once again spectacular with the watermelon. When I went back for seconds I never left the counter.