Hello, everyone! This week, people everywhere are either celebrating or denouncing Valentine’s Day, that Hallmark holiday with shady origins now dedicated to romance and love. I partnered with Whole Foods to bring you some cheeses and accompaniments I find particularly suited to a romantic meal, even if your dining partner is a book. ^_^
Vermont Creamery Bijou
Goat, Vermont, USA, pasteurized
With a name like “Bijou,” meaning “jewel” in French, how could you not add it to your cheese plate? This longtime favorite of mine comes in a delightfully small package, perfect for intimate gatherings. Its tangy flavors and thick, tongue-coating texture sets the stage for a whole new level of cheese-consuming pleasure.
Andante Dairy Rondo
Goat + Cow, California, USA, pasteurized
The cheese from Andante Dairy are all named for musical terms. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “rondo” is an instrumental composition typically with a refrain recurring four times in the tonic and with three couplets in contrasting keys. When you serve this beauty, you’ll have to come back to it four times (at least) during the course of the meal! This delicately flavored cheese, adorned with pink peppercorns and herbs, is a refreshing one! I especially loved the cheese’s rounded mouthfeel and fresh cream flavor.
Canti Fior di Noce
Sheep, Tuscany/Umbria, Italy, pasteurized
This Italian cheese hails from a region famous for its sheep’s milk cheeses. Maker Canti has wrapped the cheese in walnut leaves (the cheese’s name translates to “walnut flowers”), which gives an extra earthy, forest flavor. I wouldn’t recommend eating the rind on this one, as it is extremely bitter and funky earth.
Rogue Creamery Flora Nelle
Cow, Oregon, USA, pasteurized
Another floral-sounding cheese for our Valentine’s day plate! Flora Nelle has the most blue veins of Rogue Creamery’s excellent blue line up. Its crumbly-creamy texture is an elegant way to close out the cheese plate, and its sweet flavors reminiscent of berries and cream will delight your tastebuds!
Ines Rosales Sweet Olive Oil Tortas
These large round tortas come individually wrapped in thin paper. Delicately sweetened and seasoned with anise seeds, they are an exotic cheese accompaniment. This company makes other flavored tortas as well, just in case you’re not an anise fan, such as Seville orange, rosemary + thyme, and cinnamon.
Chuao Chocolate Potato Chip Bar
I had never had potato chips with my chocolate, so when I saw this on the shelf, I decided to give it a go. The bar is made with milk chocolate, and it’s a bit on the sweeter side. The potato chip use was rather subtle—I was hoping for more, but nothing is stopping you from eating this chocolate with extra potato chips!
Poco Dolce Espresso Toffee Squares
Incredibly, these small squares made from one of my favorite local food companies clink together like actual ceramic tiles. I admit, I am not always a toffee fan, but I love how Poco Dolce never makes anything too sweet. The marriage of espresso and toffee is balanced and restrained.
Fran’s Chocolates Grey Salt Caramels
Get a box of these caramels for your loved ones, and another for yourself. Fran’s has mastered their slow-cooked butter caramels, coated with just the right amount of dark chocolate and grey sea salt. They’re not too sticky on the teeth, which I particularly appreciate. And if you are lucky to live near a physical Fran’s Chocolates store in Seattle, Washington, then consider yourself extremely lucky!
Le Grand Courtâge Blanc de Blancs
A little sparkling wine goes a long way, and this one is especially pleasant. Its crisp mouthfeel and notes of apples, honeysuckle, and brioche complement just about all the cheeses and accompaniments I chose today.
You can find all of these cheeses and accompaniments at your local Whole Foods store (although Rondo might be a little tougher to find because it is a small production cheese). Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, let me know how in the comments!
This blog post was sponsored by Whole Foods. I received food and payment. All opinions are my own.
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