Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheeses for Sweet Valentine's Treat

On Friday, Dusty and I kicked off the Valentine season by going to cooking class at the Good Food Store here in Missoula. Except it wasn't a normal cooking class, it was a cheese tasting!
I was in heaven!

The purpose of the class was to introduce us to some uncommon cheeses and how to pair them with different foods, beverages and how to make desserts using Goat Cheese.  Dusty and I had a blast and will be returning for next month's class because it was only $5 per person, which makes for a perfect date!

Since I love you all, I wanted to share a little bit of the knowledge I learned on Friday and what all we tried!

The first cheese we tried was the St. Andre, French Triple Cream Cheese....
The St. Andre cheese originates from France and is almost a Brie-like cheese. Super creamy and super rich! This cheese is best paired with a fruit paste (pear, fig or apple) and crackers. Sparkling wines are the best beverage to enjoy with this cheese.

The next cheese we tried was one of Dusty and my favorites, Parrano Gouda....
The Parrano Gouda originates in Holland and is a really versatile cheese. It has a great nutty flavor and pairs perfectly with Olives. I loved Gouda already and this one was divine!

The third cheese we tried was our absolute favorite, I might have gone back for seconds! This cheese is the Manchego cheese.
This is apparently the most popular cheese in Spain and I can see why! It melts in your mouth and has the consistency of parmesan cheese, kinda. It's hard to describe, but we loved it! It pairs best with a fig, pear or apple and a Spanish Red Wine as a beverage. I LOVE THIS CHEESE!

The last cheese we tried was different. We were warned that this cheese is stinky and boy is it stinky! This is the Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk Cheese.
This cheese is made by the Cowgirl Creamery out in California and interestingly, the milk to make the cheese comes from an organic dairy in Marin, California. It's a wash-rind cheese and has a very unique and complex flavor. I didn't really know what to think about it because it was so different. I have never had anything like this before. It is also a triple cream/brie-like cheese and pairs well with a Hard Apple Cider. This cheese is so complex, the cheese buyer for the Good Food Store didn't know what food to pair it with. This is really a unique cheese!

And because I love you all so much, I'm going to share with you the most unique and great tasting dessert I've ever had! This was given to us by the dessert chef at the Good Food Store and it's all I've been able to think about since Friday. I tweaked the recipe a bit because it originally calls for cherries for the sauce, but I was feeling rebellious and wanted to use Blackberries. But you can use any berry you want: cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry or huckleberry!

Goat Cheese Custard with Sweet Blackberry Red Wine Syrup

Here is what you are going to need for the Goat Cheese Custard (for 2 servings):
-2.5 oz of fresh Goat Cheese at room temperature
-1/8 cup Sugar
-1/4 cup Heavy Cream
-1 Egg Yolk
-1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place 2 ramekins into a baking dish.

In a bowl, blend together all the ingredients until smooth for about 30 seconds with an electric mixer.

Divide the custard into each ramekin and fill them about a little over half full.

Create a water bath by add hot water to the baking dish and filling it up until it reaches half way up the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
When the custards are done, remove them from the baking dish and let them cool completely. Chill them in the fridge for up to 2 days covered in plastic wrap.

For the Sweet Blackberry Wine Syrup:
-1/4 cup Red Wine
-1-1/2 tbsp Sugar
-1/4 cup fresh or frozen Blackberries-slightly mashed with a fork
In a saucepan, cook the red wine, sugar and blackberries until it thickens to a syrupy consistency. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool completely before serving on top of the Goat Cheese Custard.

Have you ever seen anything so divine? So easy, so creamy, so delicious!

If this class weren't fun enough already with all the delicious cheeses and desserts, we even got a goodie bag to take home with us!

We got samples of the St. Andre and Gouda, plus some Olives!
Have I ever mentioned how much I love cheese?!?!?
I've pretty much decided that becoming a Cheese Buyer is my new career goal...forget Nursing!
Just kidding!
But seriously, that has to be the best job EVER!

Thank you Good Food Store for all the fun information on cheese and desserts with cheese, we had a blast!
I can't wait for Tuesday's cooking class, it's going to be so much fun!


  1. Oooo all of that looks amazing!! I Love cheese!!

  2. I LOVE cheese! Mmmm. I would be in heaven there!

  3. sounds like fun even though i'm not a big fan of cheese (the whole mold thing) and mr. surly is lactose intolerant. but it looks like you had an awesome experience!

  4. That sounded like so much fun and you got swag! lol
    Awesome recipe too! Can you still say awesome these days or does just make me sound old?? Hmmm

  5. Oh how fun! What a great inexpensive opportunity and I would have been in heaven. CHEESE heaven!

  6. Can I just say how jealous I am of that cheese class?!? Mmm cheese heaven! Thanks for stopping by my blog...I'm loving yours as well :)

  7. If I ever have the delight to eat this I truly believe I that I must have died and went to heaven;Oh that sounds divinely scrumptious!

  8. Oh yum I love cheese to! That First cheese I think it was a cream cheese had me at first sight! And your blackberry cheese dessert, seriously???!!! Looks delicious! Great Photos too!

  9. Ok, please don't tell anyone, but I would love some cheese for Valentine's Day. I'm so tired of desserts because I've been recipe testing for a month for V-day! If I see another piece of chocolate, I might be sick. I would love some triple cream brie with garlic stuffed olives for dessert!

  10. P.S. Cowgirl creamery rocks! If you're ever in San Francisco, you should check out their shop!


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