This summer, we're thrilled to be hanging out (physically) with actual friends and family, and are delighted that our social calendars are filling up fast. The one semi-problem? Our hosting know-how is just a little rusty. We need a crowd-pleaser that will impress all of our guests — and Black River Cheese totally fits the bill.

Black River Cheese — named after the romantic banks of the Black River, on the outskirts of Picton in Prince Edward County where the company was established — makes delicious cheese that pairs perfectly with your favourite seasonal food and drinks. Farmer-owned and made with 100 per cent Canadian milk, Black River Cheese doesn't craft your average cheddar. Black River uses natural and local ingredients to make quality Canadian cheese that can elevate any gathering.

Take Maple Cheddar, their most popular and acclaimed variety. A sophisticated blend of medium-aged, fine artisan cheddar and local Prince Edward County pure maple syrup and maple sugar, this cheese is delicious all by itself — or an ideal accompaniment to a number of cheeseboards. Similar to a premium-aged cheddar in texture, Black River's Maple Cheddar pairs well with fruit like blueberries and raspberries, duck liver pate, smoked bacon and macadamia nuts on a classic board. Due to its sweet-savoury taste, it's also an unlikely (but heavenly) companion to chocolate, making it the ideal contender for a more experimental dessert board

Another fantastic option is Black River's Honey Cheddar, which blends real Prince Edward County honey with their medium-aged, fine artisan cheese. The subtle saltiness of cheddar meets honey sweetness, making a cheese that's worth celebrating. Like a good wine, it's best to temper these cheeses before eating — take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you plan to serve it. Bringing it to room temperature will allow you and your guests to taste all of the delicate flavour notes.

Don't just think of wine when pairing your cheeseboard for guests — Black River's Honey Cheddar goes with everything from British pale ales to cocktails. The cognac-based sidecar is a citrusy sipper that pairs perfectly with the fruity cheddar, matching its structure and depth. Meanwhile, the honey complements the smokiness and sweetness of scotch tipples like the classic rusty nail.

Black River also makes a delicious variety of cheese including Pepper Jack, Goat Cheddar, Aged Cheddar, Smoked Cheese and Cheddar Log, a fun option for entertaining. The next time you're hosting, let the experts do the heavy lifting, so all you have to do is bring out the Black River Cheese.

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