Last night we introduced the first in our series of Peculiar Pairings: our chocolate and cheese confections, at a special fundraiser for Slow Foods St. Louis. All the cheese/chocolate confections are available — starting today, at both shops — for $2 each. Supplies are limited, but I’m guessing if you like them we’ll make more.
We sampled six amazing confections, each made by a different Kakao team member, and each using a different type of cheese. Here are the artists’ notes on their creations:
Local Goat Cheese and Sundried Fig Bon Bon
in Milk Chocolate – Kate
Creamy, milky goat cheese and sweet figs are two of my favorite things- so I knew that I had to make a goat cheese bon bon! I tried doing a blended ganache with figs and goat cheese, hand rolled in milk chocolate, but the taste of the goat cheese and fig was too intermixed. So instead I made a European-style butter ganache with white chocolate, and substituted goat cheese for butter. The rich flavor of the ganache is nicely cut with sweet fig.
Brie Mendiant with Dried Pear and Walnut – Margaret
As I chose a French cheese, I decided to pay homage to that with a French confection. Brie with walnut and pear are such a delicious combination, so I wanted to experiment with a specific type of chocolate that would compliment all of the flavors. I feel like the high cacao content of the bittersweet chocolate balances the rich, creamy flavors of Brie.
Farmhouse Gouda in Dark Chocolate – Brian
When I first tasted a chocolate bark made with Gouda cheese, I was immediately disappointed – there wasn’t enough cheese! To get the perfect balance of cheese and chocolate, I chopped the cheese into large enough pieces. I used Farmhouse Gouda, which is made from raw cow’s milk from a single farm, and has a smooth butterscotch flavor that adds salty-sweetness to the dark chocolate.
Kerrygold Cheddar in Semisweet Chocolate with Raw Walnut – Brian
For this confection I wanted everything to be as smooth as silk. I used a mild English cheddar with a semisweet chocolate and a raw walnut to create a confection with a singular – but unique – flavor that simply melts in your mouth.
Blue Cheese Truffle with Prosciutto Brulée – Jess
I always try to take a savory approach or at least incorporate something in candy that’s not usually there. For the cheese and chocolate pairing, I immediately wanted to do something really odd because I thought it would be rewarding to make a weird combination actually work.
I did a lot of tasting just the cheese with a button of chocolate and a piece of prosciutto, and the flavors complemented each other. It was more challenging choosing a method – Make the cheese into a ganache? Butter ganache or cream ganache? Or just dip the cheese? Although I feel like I’m taking the easy way out, just dipping the cheese is the best way to showcase the flavor and texture of the confection. When making something, I always strive to mess with the ingredients as little as possible, and in this case it works.
I used St. Agur blue inside the “truffle.” It’s a cow’s milk cheese, enriched with cream, and contains 60% butterfat. It’s dipped in 61% chocolate and topped with a piece of prosciutto brulée (also available vegetarian).
Gjetost and Lingonberry Dark Chocolate Butter
Ganache – Jenny
Being a huge fan of Scandinavian cuisine, I wanted to experiment with gjetost, an intense goat cheese that merges the irresistible qualities of rich, sweet, and slightly bitter caramel with tangy and nutty overtones. When you unwrap a cube, you uncover what seems to be an oversized caramel. Gjetost, in fact, is produced in a way similar to caramel or dulce de leche; as the mixture cooks and reduces, the milk sugars caramelize, leaving you with golden brown goodness. In my opinion, gjetost should be a staple in every home because it satisfies both the savory and sweet tooth. I often enjoy the cheese with wine, beer, or even coffee.
That being said, it was a challenge to find the right method to merge gjetost with chocolate, since it is typically served in thin slivers and is naturally sweet. I tinkered with a caramel recipe, and then a white chocolate butter ganache, substituting gjetost for butter. Eventually, I found that gjetost was best represented in its pure form – it already exhibits the velvety texture of a creamy ganache. Paired with a dark chocolate butter ganache made with tart lingonberry jam, the salty and nutty notes characteristic of gjetost are pronounced and well balanced in the truffle presentation. Hope you enjoy my creation!
We’ll be selling these creations through the rest of the month, even as we start preparing for the next Peculiar Pairing — Beer and Chocolate! Mark your calendars for July 7, when we’ll introduce these confections at a special fundraiser for Operator Food Search. See you soon!