Culinary Circle Sesame Water Crackers“Because it’s sturdy, it’s good for spreads. And the subtle flavor doesn’t overwhelm mild cheese,” said a fan. Best with: Brie, soft goat cheese, and Havarti. To buy: $2 for 4.4 ounces.
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Best Woven Cracker
Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheats“I like the flaky basket-weave texture and the light, buttery taste,” said one tester. “It’s a solid snack all by itself.” Best with: Cheddar, cream cheese–based spreads, and Gorgonzola. To buy: $3.20 for 8.5 ounces
3 of 7 Bob Hiemstra
Best Rice Cracker
Sesmark Ancient Grains Sea SaltAn unexpected dash of pepper gives these thin, light disks a welcome kick. The rice lends a touch of sweetness. Best with: Brie, ricotta, and Robiola. To buy: $3 for 7 ounces.
4 of 7 Bob Hiemstra
Best Flat Bread
Wild Harvest Organic Multi-Seed Flatbread
“It’s like a crisp everything bagel,” raved a staffer. “You get an explosion of garlic, rye, and pepper.”
Best with: Cream cheese–based spreads, soft goat cheese, and Gouda.
To buy: $2.50 for 4.5 ounces.
5 of 7Bob Hiemstra
Best Wafer Cracker
34 Degrees Natural CrispbreadLike a flattened wafer ice cream cone, this winner has a sweet flavor that complements strong toppers. Best with: Aged goat cheese, Gorgonzola, and Gruyère. To buy: $4 for 4.5 ounces.
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Best Salted Cracker
Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Down East CrackersThese unassuming blond squares surprised tasters with “their buttery goodness and potent dose of salt.” Best with: Camembert, Cheddar, and Gouda. To buy: $6.50 for 5 ounces.
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More by Mail
Some of the best crackers are sold only regionally. If you can afford to buy in bulk, here are a few of the Real Simple food department’s favorites for special occasions.
La Panzanella Original Croccantini: Serve these handmade sheets of flat bread with soft goat cheese for a simple hors d’oeuvre. To buy: $7 for 8 ounces, winepavilion.com.
E.A.T. Raisin Pecan Crisps: The chewy raisins in these slivers of toast offer sweet contrast to a creamy Gorgonzola. To buy: $38 for four 8-ounce boxes, elizabar.com.
William Poll Original Baked Potato Thins: Though these addictive golden rounds aren’t crackers per se, they deserve a place on your cheese platter. Top them with manchego and fig jam for an instant canapé. To buy: $25 for three 4-ounce boxes, williampoll.com.