Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cheese Entertaining

OK, so I overdid it a bit on the purchasing of artisan cheese for the holidays. Apparently not everyone eats a pound of cheese at a dinner party when you have 59 other courses. So now I'm looking at all the delightful left-over chunks of funky cheese in my fridge and wondering what to do, what to do?

Then I remembered Barrie Lynn, The Cheese Impresario. Barrie Lynn is great at finding new ways to enjoy old favorites. I got the chance to spend a day with her last year visiting artisan cheesemakers and while driving on the windy roads in the hills of southwestern Wisconsin, she gave me some great ideas on how to spice up those leftovers that may be hanging out in your fridge.

So here we go ... hang on to your flavor profiles.

1. Aged Gouda: this is one of those cheeses where a little goes a long way (hence the couple pounds I still have in my fridge). Here's a new idea: Try serving a slice with a bit of caramel sauce swirled prettily on a plate. A new dessert for a family dinner? One of the best aged goudas made in Wisconsin is from Roth Kase in Monroe - try their Vintage Van Gogh.

2. Blue Cheese: believe it or not, blue cheeses go great with honey. To really mix it up, try some flavored honey, such as chestnut, orange blossom or blueberry. Then add a few candied nuts and pour this concoction over top your blue cheese chunk. Yummy. For a good Wisconsin blue, try Hook's Tilston Point, Black River Blue from North Hendren Dairy, Salemville Amish Blue or Montforte Blue made by the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

3. Carr Valley Cocoa Cardona: here's another dessert possibility. Place a slice on a dessert plate and then swirl chocolate around it (even the old stand by of Hershey's Syrup works if you don't have any frou frou chocolate sauce in your fridge). When you dip the Cocoa Cardona cheese in the chocolate, it kicks it up one more flavor notch. Totally recommend this instead of ice cream.

I know Barrie Lynn had more ideas, but those three were apparently all that my brain could absorb at one time. Have fun making new dishes out of old favorites. Happy New Year!