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Perfectly Yummy Cheese Pairings

This week, it’s all about things that go together. (Alex, I’ll take “Pairings” for 1200…)

Salt and pepper, bread and butter, Romeo and Juliet, fish and chips! Wine and cheese! Jam and cheese!

What spreads and fruits will go well with your cheese? There are so many to choose from! This week, we’re pairing our three cheeses with delicious preserves and marmalades from Eat This Yum – a small-batch maker of unique jams designed for cheese and other foods.  That touch of sweetness will balance the saltiness and tang of your cheese and create an exciting and unforgettable flavor.

We’ll be pairing St. Stephen with crostini and the Strawberry Lavender Lemon Zest preserves. And we’re serving the Kaaslust Gouda in grilled cheese bites with Blackberry Rosemary Marmalade. Stop in for some yummy pairings!

St. Stephen

St. Stephen Tastings Gourmet Market

This is Four Fat Fowl’s premiere cheese. Made from locally-sourced Jersey cow’s milk, St. Stephen bursts with flavor. A decadent, award-winning triple crème, it is is beautifully handcrafted with a luscious, creamy interior. It tastes like sweet cream butter, but with a delightful and subtle tang.

Four Fat Fowl prides itself on the freshness of the milk (just 20 minutes from cow to vat) and its exquisite taste. The high-butterfat Jersey milk gives the cheese a soft and creamy texture with a rich mouthfeel. (Triple-crèmes must have a fat content of 75% or greater to qualify as such.) St. Stephen is reminiscent of Delice de Bourgogne, and you’ll love the explosion of butterfat on your tongue.

The taste will vary depending on age. Best consumed within 6 weeks of the date on which it was packed, the cheese changes over time. When it’s packed, St. Stephen is firm, tangy, and milky and with a bright white rind. After 5-6 more weeks, the cheese becomes soft and oozy with a mellow butter flavor and a rind that is beginning to brown. All phases are wonderful!

Origin: Stephentown, New York
Producer: Four Fat Fowl
Milk: Pasteurized cow
Rennet Type: Animal
Age: 6+ weeks
Look: 8 oz. wheel, pillowy white rind. The paste is the color of just-churned butter.
Rind: Bloomy
Feel: Velvety, smooth, silky
Smell: Slightly earthy and mushroomy
Taste: Ripe, super creamy, hints of wheat, nutty, earthy
Pairs well with: Try it with Eat This Yum’s Strawberry Lavender Lemon Zest preserves for a taste that defies description.
Tastes good with: Champagne or other bubbly, light rosé, Pinot Noir

Sheep Ricotta

Sheep Ricotta Tastings Gourmet Market

Produced from high quality sheep’s milk from Sardinia, this fresh Ricotta is made using the strictest quality standards.

Ricotta means “recooked” and refers to what is created from twice-heated whey left over from the cheesemaking process. Technically not cheese, it is, strictly speaking, a latticino – a dairy by-product. But, oh, what a by-product! Unlike grocery store ricotta, this Ricotta is made from sheep’s milk, resulting in a delicious, easy-to-digest, creamy delight.

Great on its own, but add it to a recipe to appreciate its true potential. Most of us think of Ricotta as something to put in lasagna, but it is so much more than that. It is incredibly versatile and adds a creamy zippiness to countless recipes. Add a dollop to pasta or salad or soup. Use it to create an unforgettable dip. Swipe it over a slice of baguette and drizzle a bit of honey on top.

Origin: Sardinia, Italy via Orlando, Florida
Producer: The Ricotta and Cheese Factory and Central Formaggi
Milk: Pasteurized sheep
Rennet Type: Animal
Age: Fresh
Look: 1 lb. tub of gorgeous white Ricotta
Feel: Fluffy, creamy, velvety smooth
Smell: Delicate, milky
Taste:  Delicate. The BEST Ricotta we’ve ever tasted!
Pairs well with:  Its versatility transforms recipes into new forms of deliciousness.  Try it with Eat This Yum’s Tomato Jalapeño Marmalade.
Tastes good with: Chenin Blanc, sparkling wine

Kaaslust Gouda

Kaaslust Gouda Tastings Gourmet Market

Known for his unique organic cheeses, Jan Craens runs Kaaslust, a small, traditional one-man cheese company in Veenhuizen. Veenhuizen was once a small farming community and charitable society in the Netherlands. The cheesemaker chose an illustration of the community’s founder, General Johannes van den Bosch, as Kaaslust’s logo to pay homage to Bosch and his ideal of assisting disadvantaged people to make a new start as farmers. One can still see the signs above cottages and commercial buildings that illustrate the purpose of the community: “Pray and work,” “Education”(the home of the teacher), “Maallust” (joy of milling), and “Devotion.” Craens chose “Kaaslust” (joy of cheese) to put over his door.

Craens has no interest in creating a mega-business. He uses a traditional set-up and embraces the small scale because it allows him to try new things. “I can’t make cheap cheese for Aldi supermarkets,” he says, “but I can make more unusual kinds of cheese very well.”

Speaking of which . . . his organic Dutch Gouda is aged in a peat barn (a barn with walls of peat), giving the cheese an unforgettable, rich flavor. And it’s as versatile as it is delicious. Kaaslust is also hard to get! A rare cheese from a small maker. A true gift for gourmets.

Origin: Veenhuizen, Netherlands
Producer: Kaasmakerij Kaaslust
Milk: Cow (organic)
Rennet Type: Animal
Age: 7 months
Look: Pale
Rind: Natural
Feel: Creamy, smooth, soft
Smell: Lactic
Taste: Full-flavored, buttery
Pairs well with: Try it with Eat This Yum‘s Blackberry Rosemary Marmalade.
Tastes good with: Beer

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