Hello, my friends! Phew—I have hardly had time to catch my breath this past week. I had several out-of-town visitors, a wedding to attend and the accompanying bridal portrait session to shoot, a sunrise family photo session, and of course—operetta rehearsals for the Mikado. It opens in only a couple weeks!
This week is my last in the series with Petals of Love Floral Studio on how to throw a great cheese party. We showed you how to make a beautiful floral arrangement at home and how to create the perfect cheese party mood. At last, here comes the cheese! With some help from the extremely knowledgeable mongers at Cheese Plus and my friends at The French Farm [affiliate link], we got four absolutely stunning pairings together for my guests. One of them, an intense foodie who has already joined me on cheese tastings, proclaimed. “Wow, Vero. Those cheese pairings were life changing. They changed my world.” LIFE CHANGING. What a compliment! Do you want to taste them yourself? Of course you do!
[Don’t forget that you get a 20% discount from the French Farm [affiliate link] if you use the code word “DAHLIA” at checkout. It’s good one time and runs through August 15!]
Fromager d’Affinois + l’Epicurien Confit of Figs & Balsamic Vinegar
This was intended to be my starter cheese—Fromager d’Affinois, a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese with the texture of whipped butter, can be found at many grocery stores, showing you that you don’t always have to go to a fancy cheese shop to find delicious cheese. Its mild, buttery texture and flavor drew out the confit of figs and balsamic vinegar [affiliate link] until they all blended and then faded softly away, a great prelude to the other pairings on the plate!
Brebis des Pyrénées + l’Epicurien Rosemary Jelly
This cheese pairing proved to be the most popular of the party! This pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees mountain region of France has notes of sweet grass with nutty undertones, and is an easy one to eat with your fingers. To keep with the grassy notes of southwestern France, we paired it with a French rosemary jelly [affiliate link]. It’s a little unusual to see herbal jellies anywhere in the States, and I wanted to give my guests a memorable experience. Judging by how quickly it disappeared, it worked!
Nettle Meadow Kunik + Maison Pébeyre Truffle Honey
Ever since I was in law school and read that cheesemaker Sheila Flanagan was an attorney (and later magistrate judge), I have held a small corner of my heart for Nettle Meadow. Her Kunik is a delightful triple crème cheese made from goat and cow’s milk. It’s got a texture like softened butter and a tangy finish to it so I knew needed a stronger accompaniment. Luckily, this Maison Pébeyre truffle honey [affiliate link] was on hand to save the day. I don’t always love truffle-flavored products, but this honey has won me over with its full, balanced flavor. The opulent pairing combined all of those truffle, floral, and buttery flavors into a savory symphony worthy of the most discerning palate.
Hill Farm Dairy Stawley + l’Abeille Occitane Miel de Lavande
This was the rarest pairing of the evening—I don’t know when I’ll have another opportunity to recreate it! That’s because Stawley, a raw goat’s milk cheese from Hill Farm Dairy in the UK, rarely makes it to American cheese counters. I snatched this wheel up—when else would I get to share such a special cheese with my friends? I’m fairly certain the Stawley I purchased was a little more aged than the ones you can find in the UK (because of travel times), so it had a bit of a crumbly texture, and a deep, earthy flavor with a long finish. Lavender tends to pair well with goat cheeses, and the creamy French lavender honey from l’Abeille Occitane in Provence worked beautifully. It’s as though the paste and rind of the cheese enfolded the honey on the tongue, yielding a harmonious, wonderfully smooth and subtle combination.
Floral design: Petals of Love Floral Studio. Cheese shop: Cheese Plus. Tableware: Kate Spade. Condiments and cheese knives: The French Farm [affiliate link], 20% off your purchase with coupon code “DAHLIA”. Napkins: Pier 1 Imports. Table Runner: Catherine Denoual Maison.