Thursday, June 10, 2010

Say Cheese!

I love cheese. And I eat a lot of it. Apparently so do a lot of other people. I’ve read that Americans eat an average of a half pound of cheese a week. I'm guessing I eat more than that, but I really don't want to know.

At the Sunset Celebration event last weekend, there were a variety of artisan cheese makers. I had the opportunity to nibble on some old favorites and sample some new favorites as well. We’re already familiar with several of the Cypress Grove Chevre cheeses due to their popularity at wine and cheese pairings we’ve attended. Humboldt Fog and Midnight Moon, both aged goat cheeses, often show up on the menu at our favorite place for wine tasting, GC’s Tasting Café. A young Humboldt Fog pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc and we’ve enjoyed Midnight Moon paired with both chardonnay and with Cabernet Sauvignon.

We came home from the Sunset event with two new favorites from Cypress Grove Chevre. The first one is Purple Haze. It is a fresh goat cheese with a mixture of lavender and fennel pollen. It is light and sweet and quite unique. I haven’t played around with serving suggestions for it yet, but I like their idea of figs and a sweet wine.

The other cheese we purchased was Truffle Tremor, an award winning ripened goat’s milk cheese. It is a rich, earthy cheese with truffle added. Our purchase appeared to be on the young side, but still had a nice earthy flavor. It didn’t last long enough to get any older! We enjoyed some of it unadorned, before I began to experiment. Then after some trial and error, I came up with a trio of crostini possibilities to pair it with some other flavors. I wouldn’t necessarily serve all these crostini together. The mushroom version would make a good appetizer, while the other two would be good desserts. Or maybe for an afternoon tea.

Trio of Crostini
Slice a baguette thinly on the diagonal. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and toast.

Mushroom Crostini
Spread Truffle Tremor cheese on toasted baguette and top with with Mushroom Ragout. See recipe from previous post Mushroom Mania. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Cinnamon Pear Crostini
Mix Truffle Tremor cheese with small amount of orange honey to taste. Spread on toast. Top with a slice of your favorite variety of pear and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Mango Basil Crostini
Mix Truffle Tremor cheese with small amount of Meyer lemon syrup to taste. Spread on toast. Sprinkle with black pepper and fresh basil chiffonade. Top with a slice of dried mango. Spread a small amount of sweet jalapeno sauce on mango. (You could also use red pepper jelly, but I couldn’t find any in the frig last night)

I hope you enjoy!

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