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Your Complete Lunchmeat, Cheese & Cracker Pairing Guide

We’ve all experienced the joy that is the classic meat and cheese tray. It’s a go-to for when you need a snack that will feed the masses; it’s quick, easy, and provides variety. All good things, right? Sure, except for the fact that they never really taste that great. In fact, they often leave you feeling disappointed (and a little hangry).

Now that we know how delicious (and affordable) Hillshire Farm® Farm Classics® deli meat is, we don’t feel like we can stand for the subpar meat and cheese tray anymore. So we did some research and are here to tell you how to make your own meat, cheese and cracker ensemble—and how you can make your pairing delicious, starting with the meat.

Hickory Smoked Ham

Any good meat-and-cheese ensemble should include this classic deli fare. Due to its salty-sweet flavor, Hickory Smoked Ham can be paired with a number of cheeses. The trick? Find one with a complimentary flavor and texture.

What Cheese?

Meunster Cheese
Muenster cheese has a fairly mild and smooth flavor and a soft texture. This allows it to compliment the smoky flavor from your meat in the best way possible. And, as an added bonus, it’s lower in fat than some other cheeses, like mozzarella or cheddar.=

Swiss Cheese
Like muenster, Swiss cheese is soft and smooth, with what some might describe as a nut-like texture. It’s mild taste compliments the toasted flavors of the Hickory Smoked Ham.

What Crackers?

Honestly, we could be swayed a few ways when it comes to cracker choices on this pairing. Stack it on top of a salty cracker for another punch of flavor—or, go with something a bit more mild like a club cracker to preserve the flavors of the meat and cheese.

Honey Roasted Ham

The time-tested taste of golden honey matched with the tender taste of ham? Yes, please! Be sure to include Honey Roasted Ham in your set-up—but note that it will disappear fast.

What Cheese?

Brie Cheese
Brie has a smooth, buttery taste with a somewhat salty finish. Pair it with your Honey Roasted Ham for a foolproof combination.

Provolone Cheese
Provolone; one of the most versatile cheeses of all. It has a mild, smoky flavor, which makes it the perfect partner for Honey Roasted Turkey Breast. Put them together, close your eyes, and escape to your meat-and-cheese paradise.

What Crackers?

When it comes to Honey Roasted Ham, we recommend going with a cracker that has a notable salty flavor. When you pair it with the flavors of the honey ham and the mild flavors of the cheese, you have what we like to call a winner.

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

While Honey Roasted Turkey Breast has a sweet flavor, Oven Roasted Turkey Breast has a more mild, home-cooked taste. When it comes to pairing cheese with this deli meat, you’ll want to look for something that has a somewhat tangy flavor, but you’ll want to try keep a smooth texture.

What Cheese?

Havarti Cheese
Havarti is similar to Swiss in its buttery, smooth texture. But, it has a slightly acidic taste, which means it’s perfect to pair alongside your Oven Roasted Turkey Breast.

Asiago Cheese
You might recognize Asiago as the topping on your favorite pasta or soup. It has a semi-sweet flavor but is also sharp—which will balance out the mild flavor of the Oven Roasted Turkey Breast.

What Crackers?

Due to the more mild flavoring of the Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, we recommend choosing a cracker with some more spicy or poignant flavors, like cracked black pepper.

Black Forest Ham

When it comes to the deep smoky flavor of Black Forest Ham, you’ll want to go pair a cheese that has a sweet or tangy flavor.

What Cheese?

Gruyere Cheese
This sweet yet slightly salty cheese has a creamy texture. Its flavor isn’t too overpowering, so you’re able to soak in every bite of your Black Forest Ham without too much distraction.

Cheddar Cheese
Let’s face it—cheddar should be invited to the party no matter what, but it should definitely be paired with your Black Forest Ham. The sharpness of the cheddar serves as a perfect partner for the smoky taste of the ham.

What Crackers?

You’re going to have a lot of flavor happening with this pairing, so we recommend a more mild cracker option, like a club cracker. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, a salty cracker certainly won’t hurt your combo.

Next time you consider grabbing that questionable meat and cheese tray from the grocery store, think twice and pick up Hillshire Farm® Farm Classics® deli meat instead. Roll up the meat, slice up your cheese, stack up your crackers, place them on a tray, and bask in your DIY glory.

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