Friday, September 21, 2007

Artisan Cheese and Caramel Tasting Platter

Let me start this post by saying that I am extremely fond of cheese. If I hadn't become a chocolatier, I sometimes wonder if I would have eventually opened a creamery instead. Well... maybe not, but I would have spent a lot of time loitering around one?

This post details a passion of mine that began three years ago, back in the infancy of Eclipse. My first Xmas, I had a client who wanted me to come to her holiday party and do a fancy-schmancy dessert presentation for her guests. At the time, I had recently developed a new caramel sauce and I hit upon the idea of serving it with fruit and artisan cheeses. Thus the Artisan Cheese and Caramel Platter was born! Its changed over time as I have discovered new caramel and cheese pairings, but the essentials are the same. In short, its gooey, creamy, tangy, and very satisfying. Here are the elements (and there and many!):

Chile-burnt Caramel Sauce- Slightly spicy, with a poignant smoky note. Served warm.
Candied mango slices- Sweet and chewy, perfect foil to the caramel's heat.
Sugared torta- From Andulacia, an olive oil crisp bread topped with coarse sugar, anise, sesame, and fennel pollen.
But most important (!), four lovely artisan cheeses, from left to right:
Lemon Stilton- From Leicestershire. Tangy and crumbly, studded with candied lemon zest.
Our own house-made Cacao Chevre- Fresh goat cheese flecked with lavender, rolled in cocoa nibs.
Bucherondin- French. Sharp and tangy, with an aged rind that has a rich finish.
Drunken Goat- Spanish. Dense with overtones of berries that come from a Cabernet-drenched rind.

Its fun, interactive, and more than enough food fit for two. What more can you ask for?

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