My first task as National Ambassador is to prepare a pairings’ chart using cheeses and meats to accentuate which jellies pair best… it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
But first let me tell you how Kelly and I met…
While working with Murray’s Cheese and Kroger, I found a jar of Kelly’s Habanero Jelly at the office among other samples sent to the Deli Merchandiser. I asked if I could take it home and taste it; John Jefferson, one of my favorite people and, without a doubt the best Deli Merchandiser I worked for at Kroger, encouraged me to check it out and “report back”. It was April, aka Grilled Cheese Month and I used the Habanero Pepper Jelly with Appel Farms Gouda to create a grilled cheese. That day I became a fan of Pepper Jelly… I included my creation in a posting to celebrate Grilled Cheese Month.
The posting caught Kelly’s attention and she subscribed to my blog… Fast-forward to the 2014 DPI Western Food Show where I met Kelly and that began our friendship… Last year we started a dialog about working together as Kelly prepared to share her Jellies nationwide. And here we are…
Let me assure you that I would not be promoting Kelly’s Jellies if I didn’t believe in them… but I’m not the only one. Kelly won her second Good Food Award this past January and has won many other awards including the coveted Scovie Award.
A few days ago my friend Jan Taylor, who as our CSA farmer provides us with fresh, organic produce weekly, and mom’s dear friends, Larry and Lydia, joined us for an evening of tastings.
We began the evening’s tasting with MontAmore, a sweet and creamy semi-hard cheese named after the Dolomite Mountains of Italy where Jim Sartori’s family originated. The other three Sartori Cheeses on the plate were all from the BellaVitano line: Gold, Pepper and Raspberry. I served Creminelli’s Barolo Salumi; an Italian-style salumi handmade by Cristiano Creminelli, whose family several generations ago began curing meats in Italy… all natural; no nitrates and no nitrites.
The jellies I chose for the evening were Blueberry Lemon Preserves and Tayberry Preserves; both sweet and fruity without the heat of the other two I served: Strawberry and Habanero (VooDoo Doughnuts’ choice for its jelly-filled donuts every Thursday) and Marion Berry and Habanero jellies.
The center of the plate featured one of my favorite appetizers: a fresh spear of asparagus wrapped with Creminelli Prosciutto and topped with grated Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan.
All of the pairings sat atop 34 Degrees Natural Crisps, crackers that are the perfect vessel to navigate these pairings to the palate. (Again, my thanks to Robert Harrison and my good friends at 34 Degrees for providing the crackers for the evening.)
Two of our guests proclaimed to not be fans of “spicy” foods and yet, one of the them finished off the Strawberry and Habanero Jelly and declared it his favorite of the evening. Another fell in love with the Tayberry Preserves and the rest of us had trouble picking a favorite…
It was another fun evening of cheese, meats and jellies with family and friends.
Interviews with Cheese Professionals continue through 2016… sometimes, as “stand-alone” interviews and sometimes as round-table discussions with several Pros answering the same question. Those participating include Cheesemakers,ACS CCPs™,Cheesemongers and Cheese Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
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FTC Full Disclosure: All of the producers sent samples of their products to assist me in a pairing project I am currently creating.