Happy almost Valentine's Day!!!!
Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams? Do you dream romantic dreams...in color?
Right now I'm back in creative mode and coming up with new book ideas, and when I'm in that mode, I dream...big-time. Wild dreams. Colorful dreams.
Did you see the movie, Like Water for Chocolate? It was also a debut novel for Spanish author Laura Esquivel, but I saw the movie. It was luscious. Like one big colorful dream dance. I was dreaming ABOUT that movie as I woke this morning and thought wouldn't that be a perfect thing for Valentine's Day. I'd talk about an experiment I've been doing that's delicious and colorful and luscious.
I've been testing cheddars. From everywhere. Vermont, Utah, Cheshire, England, and more. And then I stumbled on an article about pairing chocolate with wine and I thought, brilliant. I'll pair cheese with chocolate. [You choose your own wine, though I'll suggest two.]
So here's my Valentine's tribute. A tasting of cheddars and wine and chocolates that should make your palate go ZING.
Cheshire Appleby is, according to the Cowgirl Creamery Library of Cheese, one of the oldest recipes for cheddar, dating back to the 12th century Romans. It's crumbly and pleasant, mild.
Hook's Ten-Year Cheddar is made by college sweethearts in Wisconsin. It's sharp, rich, deep orange, and perhaps the best cheddar I've ever tasted.
Beehive's Old Joe's Cajun Cheddar is zesty. A white cheddar with spices around the perimeter giving eat morsel a bite.
Belton Farms Oak Smoked Cheddar is rich in flavor and history. The smokiness adds a particularly distinct taste. The farm is located in Shropshire, England.
Tickler Cheddar is the whitest cheese. It is made from Devon milk in Taw Valley, Cheshire, England. Its forty-pound blocks are aged a full 18 months, during which the tangy taste develops. It has a smooth, creamy texture and a lemony finish.
And for the chocolate, I stayed with dark chocolates, to give every bite a fair tasting.
Ghirardelli 60%, deep, rich.
Hershey's dark chocolate, softer, mellow.
Lindt's 70%, deep in color, almost dry and tart to the taste.
Dove chocolates, pretty in their wrappers, delicious and one of my favorites.
Godiva 60%, the smoothest, creamiest of the bunch.
For the white wine, I served up Talbott Farms: Kali Hart (from the Monterey Valley in California). It is a delicious chardonnay. Rich, with hints of citrus, and a fruit forward (as the vintners say) aroma.
For the red wine, I chose Estancia Pinot Noir. It's a soft, smoky pinot that doesn't overpower either of our delicacies. Hints of berries, vanilla and plum.
Results: The combination of chocolate and cheese was so much fun. Almost like having chocolate cheesecake. My guests enjoyed it as an appetizer and as a dessert course. Surprisingly, the smoked cheddar tasted good with chocolate. I wasn't expecting it to. The milder Cheshire Appleby tasted the best. The Tickler, with its lemony finish, didn't do it for me, though I love the cheese all by itself. The spicy Beehive added an interesting flavor. And the Hook's cheddar was almost too strong for the chocolate and might have done better with a milk chocolate. Of course, all of this is according to individual taste.
After sampling everything, I found my appetite fully satisfied. But if you're in the mood to cook, here are a few links to previous Valentine's recipes from the Mystery Lovers Kitchen authors:
Krista's Bananas Foster Dessert
Cleo's Valentine Cranberry Chicken
Julie's Valentine's Day Ice Cream Cake
Happy Valentine's Day to all!
May love and joy fill your world.
So...do you dream?
A SNEAK PREVIEW and BOOK TRAILER of LOST AND FONDUE is now up on my website. Click here. If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well.
And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming every two weeks as I approach the launch of L&F in May.