Want to wow your guests with a great charcuterie board or sandwich filling? Check out our guide to the best cheese with salami pairings.
The combination of salami and cheese is a charcuterie board classic. But for the uninitiated, selecting a salami and cheese pairing may be harder than it looks; there are seemingly endless varieties of both. If you don’t know much about salami and cheese, it’s tough to know where to begin.
To help you get started, check out our guide to the best cheese with salami pairings. We’ve included both old favorites and some you may not have heard of before.
In the United States, when most people think of salami, they imagine Genoa salami. This is a salted, spiced, dry-cured sausage made mostly of pork. It has a sharp, memorable flavor, and you can find it on deli sandwiches and charcuterie boards around the world.
The soft, mild taste of provolone cheese makes the perfect counterweight for Genoa salami. It’s worth trying this popular cheese with other types of salami as well. Almost every Italian deli offers a Genoa salami sandwich topped with provolone!
Get a little taste of history with Rocinante Iberico, a traditional Spanish cheese enjoyed for over 2,000 years. It’s made with a mix of cow, sheep, and goat milk, and that mixture results in a delightfully smooth flavor. Its finish is especially notable: a little bit nutty and hay-like.
Rocinante Iberico is firm, so it’s one of the best cheeses for crackers and salami. It goes especially well with lomo, another Spanish classic. Lomo salami is lean and dry-cured, and it has a rich, slightly smoky flavor.
You might be surprised to see mozzarella on the list. But when you realize that pepperoni is actually a variety of salami, it all makes sense. The most obvious way to serve this beloved pairing is on a freshly baked pizza.
You don’t have to feel limited to pizza, though. Try making pepperoni stromboli or even mushrooms stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella!
Looking for a crowd-pleaser for your next gathering? Look no further than gouda and any variety of pepper-crusted salami. If you’ve ever had gouda, you know that it’s smooth, creamy, and a little smoky, often with the barest touch of sweetness. Combine that with the invigorating, sharp flavor of salami with a pepper crust, and you’ve got a beautifully balanced treat.
The Gouda-salami combination is a winning appetizer, but you can also make it into a memorable sandwich, especially if you melt the Gouda. The smooth, melted cheese and the crispy pepper crust add yet another element of contrast you and your guests are sure to love.
Cheddar cheese is great on burgers and ham sandwiches, but it’s also great with salami. It might not be the most exotic choice, but its sharpness forms a memorable synergy with the saltiness of any salami variety. If you want to try a new twist on a familiar favorite, consider making ham and cheddar sandwiches but substituting salami for the ham.
Emmental cheese is the original Swiss cheese. It was first created eight centuries ago in the Emme River Valley, and it remains a favorite in Switzerland and around the world. Emmental has a yellowish tint, and its nutty, faintly herbal taste makes it incredibly versatile when it comes to pairings.
Like Gouda, Emmental cheese is a great choice for salami sandwiches, and its smoothness makes it a great counterpart to the zing of pepper-crusted salami. If you love spicy food or just want to try something a little bit different, add some pizzazz with a few slices of pickled jalapeno pepper, too.
Asiago cheese is often found in blends with mozzarella and parmesan. But if you’ve never tried it on its own, you’re missing out! Asiago’s flavor is deep and nutty, so it’s the perfect companion for spicy Calabrese salami. This salami variety is made with paprika and cayenne, so it has a real kick!
This is a combination that will really make a statement on a charcuterie board or sandwich. But if you want to do something a little different, try a salad with grated Asiago, slices of Calabrese salami, roasted red peppers, and fresh tomatoes.
Comté is a distinctive Alpine cheese made from cow’s milk. Its exact flavor profile can vary a bit based on the season and production techniques, but it often includes sweet notes that you can’t find just anywhere. Comté can include notes of apricot, toffee, and hazelnut. Its texture is dense and smooth, and it goes nicely with the rich, slightly herbal flavor of venison or wild boar salami. Try this combination along with sourdough bread, kalamata olives, and maybe some olive oil for drizzling.
Manchego is the quintessential sheep’s milk cheese. If you’ve never tried it before, you’re in for a treat! It’s a somewhat hard cheese that manages to be sharp, sweet, savory, and creamy all at once. This light, nuanced taste pairs well with the strong flavor of Genoa salami.
However, if you really want to showcase manchego’s impressive range of flavors, try leaning into the savory-sweet angle with a unique appetizer. You can easily make one-bite skewers with slices of salami and manchego. Add some jammy cherries (cherries cooked with maple syrup and red wine vinegar), and you’ll have a wonderfully complex palate pleaser!
Parmesan’s bold, distinctive flavor is present in countless Italian dishes. If you love stronger flavors, it’s an ideal choice for pairing with just about any type of salami.
However, because parmesan and most types of salami have strong flavors, it’s a good idea to add some dimension to this salami and cheese pairing with some milder flavors. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do. Try placing pesto, salami, and melted Parmesan atop slices of ciabatta, and you have a wonderful appetizer or light lunch!
The best cheese for crackers and salami depends, in part, on your individual tastes. If you like cheeses that are both salty and bold, you might like pecorino romano, a sheep’s milk cheese that’s often grated over pasta.
This cheese’s savory flavor pairs well with pasta and offers the opportunity to create a contrasting blend of flavors. If you’re creating a charcuterie board, place slices or chunks of pecorino romano alongside dried fruits, pecans, and other sweet-leaning morsels. This combination pairs nicely with the earthy, herbal flavor of venison salami.