Written for Di Bruno's Blog
Summer Fruits are in full season on the east coast. The glimmer of blueberries ushers in a whole wealth of scrumptious gems as the season progresses. Right now I can't get enough of berries and stone fruits, which seem to have endless possibilities in the kitchen and on the cheese board and.
Everyone already knows that berries and cream is exquisite, but I've found the complex and subtle nuances of cheese pairs incredibly well with the rich and luscious flavors of the berry world.
Right now I'm nearly knee deep in jersey blueberries, cherries, raspberries and even my blackberry bush has started to turn a gorgeous deep ebony.
Berries & cheese is a pretty fool-proof pairing. In the cheese world, the main idea of a pairing is to highlight the best qualities of the cheese but complement the flavors of the fruit.
I have been hacking away at Vermont Butter and Cheese Company's Bijou, which literally translates to jewel in French. This sensual and petite bloomed goat's milk gem has a creamy and crowd pleasing firm center.
Bijou gets its wrinkly and brain-like look from a yeast called geotricum, which helps the rind expand and then shrink back, giving it this brainy characteristic.
I find that this creamy dreamy goes well with pretty much every summer fruit, but a personal favorite is with blueberries, fresh or jammed. The sweet and acidic flavor of the blueberry compliments the tangy flavors, which are natural to goats cheese with its relatively low butter fat content.
When pairing goats milk cheeses with berries, pretty much everything is a winner, but play around with fruits that have compatible flavors to match the nuttiness of the goats milk.
Fresh chévre's are also fantastic with berries and is wonderful when turned into a trifle. A wonderful an inexpensive option is Valcrest's beautiful Chévremousse from the Rhône Alpes region is a delicate and fluffy option. Mixed with maple syrup or honey it is better than any whipped cream you've ever had. Simply layer berries and chévre in a mason jar and enjoy!
CHÉVRE & BERRY TRIFLE
- 1 pint sour cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup fresh whipped chévre
- Honey or maple syrup, to taste
Line 4 mason jars or other tall glasses. Spoon 2 tablespoons of chevre into each glass and smooth surface. Spoon 2 tablespoons of berries overtop and smooth surface. Repeat the process, adding a bit of honey here and there, to taste. Experiment with strawberries & mascarpone with balsamic as an alternative!
Stone fruits are also hitting the farm stands. Whenever I bite into a fresh peach I taste rich honey which immediately makes me think of St. Agur, a beautiful cows milk double cream blue cheese from France. With a gorgeous 60% butter cream content, St. Agur will make you rethink blue cheese if you weren't a fan in the past. The classic combination of peaches & cream can translate to St. Agur and peaches, a true match made in heaven. Try grilling stone fruits such as peaches or apricots and allowing them to sit after, releasing their juices. Serve with a heap of St. Agur and lay on the excess juices. Enjoy as a dessert or appetizer with a cool chardonnay.