Monthly Archives: November 2011

Holiday Cheese Recipes: All Hail the Ball & Fondue Parties

Farmhouse Cheddar, Bourbon and Pecan Cheese ball

Farmhouse Cheddar, Bourbon and Pecan Cheese ball

Union Square is decked out with more white lights than a Diwali festival, drugstore chains are now displaying their trusty battery-powered dancing Frosty the Snowman, and the evites to holiday parties are eying your inbox. The winter holiday season is here. No matter whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the opportunity to share a glass of bubbly at a party with your friends near some mistletoe, or the seasonal changing of Hershey kiss wrapper color,  you’re probably going to be going to or hosting a party sometime soon.

It goes without saying then that you’re going to need to bring something cheesy somewhere. Just in case you wanted to do something beyond bring a cheese plate, I compiled my favorite cheese recipes for you that are fit for a holiday party. Some are app style, some are for sit down meals.

These are recipes that I’ve used over and over again throughout the years or have recently caught my eye for my own holiday events. I hope you enjoy them!

RECIPE LOVE

Appetizers

Cheeseballs: Just in case you haven’t heard me professing my love to cheeseballs yet, let me do it here. I love a good artisan cheese ball, and I created these recipes (one pictured above) for NPR’s Kitchen Window series to publicly declare my adoration. The flavors in each cheeseball were inspired by the amazing work of the cheesemaker.

Mediterranean Mezes: Haloumi Squares with Tapenade

Roasted Feta

Leek and Comté Tartlets

Grougere: Pâte a Choux

Walnut-Blue Cheese Coins

Mille-Feuille with Two Goat Cheeses

Mains & Sit-downs

Baked goat cheese, photo from David Lebovitz website

Baked goat cheese, photo from David Lebovitz website

Warm Baked Goat Cheese

Fig & Blue Cheese Galette

Truffled “Raclette” Pizza: the Swiss Invasion

Classic Swiss fondue

A16’s Italian Meatballs With Tomato & White Wine Braise

Dessert

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Cheddar crusted pie, photo from Martha Stewart site

Cheddar-Crusted Apple Pie

Roquefort Honey Ice Cream

Shredded Wheat and Cheese Pastry in Syrup

Goat cheese truffles, Dulce de leche goat cheese cookies

Happy holidays, and I hope you have plenty of delicious leftovers! Any favorite recipes you use for the holidays that you want to share? Link in the comments.

Robiola di Roccaverano- A cheese & leaf love

Robiola di Roccaverano

Robiola di Roccaverano

If Martha Stewart ever got a hold of a Robiola di Roccaverano, I’m pretty sure she’d mandate every cheese be wrapped in leaves before being served in her presence. This leaf-on-cheese action is cuter than a toddler walking a puppy. It’s more adorable than Zooey Deschanel watching a toddler walk a puppy. It proves that leaves and cheese are made to be together.

Leaves are the perfect aging utensil. They make a delicate rind. They enhance flavors gently. And, as Martha would approve of, leaves are nature’s perfect cheese wrapper. Best of all, when wrapped around a cheese, they make you feel like you’re about to go on a long back-packing trip accross the Piedmont hills.

Even better than best of all? The likelihood that you’ll find a leaf-wrapped Robiola near you is high. They come in all leafs from cabbage to chestnut.

This particular above beauty, Robiola di Roccaverano, is made in the Piedmont foothills. Some are mixed milk, but the one in the shot above is pure goat’s milk. After the cheese is made, it’s wrapped in chestnut leaves and left to mature. Underneath the leaf, a light rind typical of a Robiola forms- thin, ripply, white and golden- that’s inspired by the loose leaf wrapping and the Geotrichum Candidum mold that’s added to the milk after pasteurization. The flavors range greatly. When first made, it tastes lively and lemony. As the cheese ages, it picks up a lightly funky bite that says, “I came from a goat, and I am proud.”

I love serving this style of cheese at parties, because even when cut in half (and that’s how I often buy it, as some are a little pricey) the leaf is all the adornment this little cheese needs to make a plate pretty.

When putting the Robiola out to eat, keep the leaves on- let guests peel them back, it feels more like a party. Serve with dried or fresh fruit- dried cherries, figs, sliced prunes, or fresh figs or apples and a crusty, hearty bread. Added bonus, put a small dish of honey out for guests to drizzle over the cheese.

Other leaf-wrapped Robiolas to try:

Robiola Incavolata

Robiola di Capra in Foglie di Castagno

Robiola di Capra al Fico

Robiola La Rossa

What’s your favorite leaf wrapped cheese or Robiola?

Lastly, if you’re in the bay area, I’d love to see you at an upcoming class!

My November cheese classes

Paula Lambert's Hoja Santa, from the Cheese School website

Paula Lambert's Hoja Santa, from the Cheese School website

While I’m mainly confining myself to my writing cave (bedroom) for the next couple months until I finish my manuscript that’s due in January, I am emerging occasionally to eat, take hot showers, walk around the block, and teach a cheese class or two.

Here are two classes that I’m teaching at the Cheese School of San Francisco later this month. Come to eat crazy amounts of cheese, drink a little southern booze, and to say hello. I miss people.

Love Birds: Classic European Cheese & Wine Pairing

Tuesday, November 22nd (6:30-8:30pm)

Epoisses and Burgundy, Pecorino and Sangiovese, these pairings are the Bogie and Bacall of cheese and wine. Cheese blogger and wine maven Kirstin Jackson will introduce you to the greatest love stories of the old world. You’ll learn about the cultural and geographical reasons why these pairs click.

Southern Cheeses & Spirits

Tuesday, November 29th (6:30-8:30pm)

Let’s name the great cheesemaking regions of the US: California, Wisconsin, Vermont,… Georgia? The South is indeed rising again. Creameries like Georgia’s Sweet Grass Dairy, Texas’ Mozzarella Company, and Alabama’s Stone Hollow are turning out great cheese and getting national attention for it. Cheese blogger and wine maven Kirstin Jackson will lead and pair her selections with her favorite Southern spirits.