Recently after dinner, I chose to serve a blue cheese tray filled with wonderful cheeses sent my way from David and Chelsea at Rogue Creamery. It turned out to be the perfect ending to a perfect evening with family and friends. A couple of my guests were surprised at this choice for “dessert” but after tasting, everyone agreed it was “just desserts” and decided they would do the same at their next dinner party.
In addition to the four Rogue blues, I served three different local honeys and Goat Milk Chocolate Fudge from Split Creek Farm, a local award-winning goat farm that we love to visit and play with all the animals… a true menagerie of stray animals that live peacefully among the goats, pigs and chickens. Their dry feta marinated in EVOO, lemon and basil is my favorite and we always have a bucket of it in the fridge. Divine on salads or by itself.
The three honeys were from my favorite beekeepers at Blue Haven Bee Company, Mountain Honey from Clarkesville and the first honey harvest from my farmer friend, Jan Taylor who guided me through my first gardening season in Georgia.
Not pictured and with sincere regrets are the new Sweet Lemon Crisps from 34 Degrees which I served with the plate. Not sure why I didn’t take pix…
A few trivia notes about the producers of the ingredients on the plate: in 2016, Rogue Creamery became an all organic creamery; Virginia Webb, Co-owner of Mountain Honey is a third generation beekeeper and was a Tennessee Honey Queen. Carl, her husband, is the only Certified Russian Bee Breeder in Georgia; Blue Haven Bee Company, located in Canon, Georgia and I will be conducting our next Cheese, Mead and Wine tasting for the 2017 holidays, featuring wines, cheeses and pairings for your holiday entertaining. Stay tuned for details in the near future. 34 Degrees is named after the 34th Parallel in Australia where the Owner and Founder of the Company was born and Split Creek’s Feta marinated in EVOO with olives and dried tomatoes won a 2017 Good Food Award.
We started with Rogue’s Organic Tolman Blue, which is vegetarian suitable. The natural rind encases the fudgy, buttery and subtle blue notes of this creamy, spreadable cheese. Named after US Surveyor General who owned a ranch in the Rogue Valley, this cheese marries a cheddar-style cheese with the salty blue using penicillium roqueforti. I chose to serve the Tolman Blue with Jan’s wildflower honey made by the bees frequenting her Lavonia farm.
Next on the plate was Echo Mountain which we paired with the Split Creek goat milk fudge and the Mountain Honey Sourwood Honeycomb. Mountain Honey, located about forty miles northwest of us in Clarkesville, Georgia is a consistent award-winner for their Sourwood; numerous times winning Gold Medals as one of the Best Honeys in the World. Echo Mountain is a blend of cow and goat milks, producing a crisp, earthy robust flavor. Pairing it with the Sourwood and the goat milk fudge produced what can only be called “a party in your mouth”. As you might expect, The Man swooned as did a couple of the other guests.
The third pairing of the Southern Cotton Honey from Blue Haven Bee Company with the Crater Lake Blue was another winner… hard to not be winners when you pair superior foods together… Crater Lake has always been a favorite of mine; silky, sweet and sharp notes of the blue are smoothed out with the Southern Cotton’s buttery notes. As mentioned in an earlier posting, the Southern Cotton is the newest honey from Blue Haven and joins their Sourwood (from the same area in NE Georgia where Mountain Honey sits their bees during the short Sourwood season), Wildflower and other tasty honeys.
Last on the plate was a “new” blue from Rogue, their Bluehorn. This cheese is a twist on their Oregon Blue. It’s soaked in red wine, which adds a somewhat pleasant acidic complexity at the rind. Oregon Blue is a favorite around the manse. It’s creamy; buttery and earthy yet mellow.
Another Spaulding Gray 4 Paws Cheese Plate!!
Our guests fell in love with the cheeses, the honeys and the 34 Degrees Sweet Lemon Crisps… what’s not to love?
Congratulations to our Facebook Cheese Study Group Scholarship Winners, Kelley Jewell and Tyler Frankenberg. Both sat for the ACS CCP Exam® this past July in Denver and both passed becoming members of the elite group of almost 900 ACS Certified Cheese Professionals®. From all of us who helped make this cheese dream come true, we applaud you and wish you more success as your cheese journey continues!!!