Hello, my friends! Do you know what month October is? It’s American Cheese Month! No, not the orange slices. This month, we celebrate the cheeses that are made in the USA (although . . . does it also include cheeses from the other parts of the Americas? Hmmm . . . someone please answer this question in the comments below!)!
To celebrate, I’ve partnered up with California’s Valley Fig Growers and some of my favorite bloggers to throw an American cheese and California fig party! Joining in the feast is the Snobby Foodie, Cheese Sex Death, and Jac o’ lyn Murphy! Woohoo! Click on the links to see what cheese and California fig party they have come up with! And then, at the end of this blog post, enter our giveaway for the chance to win your own Valley Fig Growers fig spreads and Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California figs. As my “pairing vehicles”, I used 34 Degrees crisps [affiliate link], since I love their light texture and delicate flavors.
Here are my California fig spread and cheese pairings:
Sofia + Valley Fig Growers Balsamic Pepper Fig Spread
When I was working at Cowgirl Creamery, Sofia (goat, Capriole Goat Cheese, Indiana, pasteurized) quickly won me over. Its gorgeous bone white paste accentuated by two lines of black ash through the center, and around its rind make my heart flutter! Its zippy flavor, which deepens and grows more complex with age, are perfect to me. This particular piece was from an aged Sofia, so it had a peppery finish. That finish paired nicely with the pepper in the balsamic pepper fig spread. Moreover, the fig spread smoothed out the cheese’s front zing.
St. Albans + Valley Fig Growers Organic Mission Fig Spread
This new cheese by Vermont Creamery (cow, pasteurized) had to make it to this cheese plate! It is very much like St. Marcellin, a French cow’s cheese that also comes in a small clay dish. This cheese was excellent, as are all of Vermont Creamery’s cheeses! Its lactic tang builds up slowly, then gently dissipates on a buttery horizon. It is so soft, it practically drips down the throat. Such a clean cheese deserved a clean pairing, so I went with the natural jam spread, and it worked beautifully!
Jeff’s Select Gouda + Valley Fig Growers Orange Fig Spread
This gouda, from the Caves of Faribault in Minnesota, is new to me, and relatively new-ish on the scene. The result of a collaboration between the Jeff Jirik of the Caves of Faribault and Jeff Wideman of Maple Leaf Cheese. It has a natural rind (a little unusual for a gouda). It’s not super expensive, which I was glad to see, but you can’t tell just from tasting it. I loved the creamy, fudgy texture with notes of caramel. There was a sort of jalapeno pepper finish, which surprised me. The Orange fig spread made for a great pairing. The citrus notes brightened up the cheeses flavors considerably!
Oma + Valley Fig Growers Port Wine Spread
Oma, made by Sebastian Von Trapp (yes, those Von Trapps) and aged by the Cellars at Jasper Hill, is another one of my favorite American cheeses. This one hits you with funky flavor, but also lulls you into contentment like a warm, velvety blanket. Sigh. The port wine fig spread made for an excellent pairing here! It brought out a slight coffee note in the cheese with . . . rubber (?) notes. It was quite extraordinary. I highly recommend it!
Let’s see what my blogger friends have done with California figs and cheese!!
Enter the Sweepstakes
You may enter once. The Sweepstakes begins 12:01am PDT on October 17, 2016, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PDT on October 21, 2016. One grand prize winner will be chosen at random after the sweepstakes period ends. The grand prize winner will receive one 8 oz. bag of Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid golden figs, one 8 oz. bag of Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid mission figs, one jar of each of Valley Fig Growers’ four California fig spreads (orange, organic mission fig, port wine, balsamic pepper). For the complete official rules, click here.
Thank you to everyone who entered the sweepstakes! The entry period is closed, and I will choose a winner shortly.
Sponsored post: I received free samples of Valley Fig Growers California fig spreads and California figs, as well as payment, to write this post. 34 Degrees provided me with their crisps, and I independently decided to include them in this post. All opinions are my own.
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