cheese and honey pairings and a new contest

Recently, I decided to do a pairing of cheese and honey since I've been busy making infused honeys this early summer. I invited ms. cookworm to come over and she generously helped lay everything out and then helped me taste it all. We set up a little tasting station out in the garden on one of the tables I built recently and I brought out a number of tiny bowls from my collection for all the honeys to be contained in, and some of my antique spoons for the drizzling.

I had done some reading and research about which cheeses to choose and what honeys they should be paired with. As it ended up, I was surprised by which I liked the best.

our first pairing:
La Tur with rose infused honey

La Tur is a mixed milk cheese from Piedmont, Italy and comes with an interesting curling pattern across its face. It is a mix of cow, sheep and goat milk and is very soft and delicate. The pairing of rose infused honey was definitely the right choice, the floral quality of the roses mingled well with the cheese. This was my 2nd favorite of the testing.

our second pairing:
aged Gouda with rose infused honey

Aged Gouda is similar in texture to a Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is rich and crystalline and has a salty taste as well. It was paired with lavender honey (not infused but the bees were busy in the lavender to make this one). This one was ok but ended up being my least favorite. Perhaps some wine might have brought out something more complex in the taste.

our third pairing:
fresh goat cheese and Chaumes with rosemary infused honey

Chaumes is a strong smelling but mild tasting cheese and is my favorite when I do grilled cheese right. It is a cheese that definitely needs to sit out before eating to let it get properly runny. Goat cheese is, one of my other best liked, and I found a wonderful one at the store which was very creamy and mellow. Both of these were paired with a savory, rosemary infused honey I made last week. This pair turned out to also be a definitely one to remember. I think this time the cheese enhanced the honey instead of the other way round.

our fourth pairing:
Passendale and buckwheat honey

I was a little skeptical at first about this one. Buckwheat honey is really the molasses of honeys. It is deep and strong tasting and very thick. Passendale is a flemish cheese and is similar to Chaumes. It is creamy but firm and has a fairly upfront but not overpowering taste. And together, by far my favorite of the night. The Passendale does something complex to the buckwheat honey, some sympathetic magic. If you get a chance, definitely give it a try.

so on to the contest ....

I am going to give away a jar of the rose infused honey, handcrafted by me from the roses in my garden, to one lucky winner here on the blog. I'll run this contest until July 1st.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post about cheese or honey, a memory of yours or a favorite recipe suggestion. Whatever you'd like to share with everyone. On July 1 I'll randomly pick a winner.

As a brief teaser, this year has been exceptional in my garden due to it being cool and rainy early on in the spring. A vintage year for rose infusing.


cupcakesweet said...

This is Gorgeous....You could take my heart with your wonderful style.


Kurthl33t said...

I can't say I have any particular memories about honey... but I can talk about cheese.

I lived in Russia for a couple of years, and I quickly learned that there are a LOT more varieties of cheese than can be found in your average American grocery store. Even the tiny hole-in-the-wall shops had dozens of varieties of cheese available.

One of my roommates, Parker, with whom I am friends to this day, really loved to try different cheeses. We eventually decided that our favorite was Korol Artur (King Arthur). It's a heavy cheese with a strong, slightly salty taste. Unfortunately, it was extremely expensive, so we rarely indulged.

On the fourth of July, however, we couldn't help ourselves. We loaded up on the highest quality ground beef we could find, as well as bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, spices, massive hamburger buns, and our favorite cheese, Korol Artur! Then we went home and made the largest and most delicious bacon cheeseburgers I have ever tasted in my LIFE. We didn't get fireworks that Independence Day, but the taste explosions in our respective mouths made up for that quite nicely!

Harper Beresford said...

What probably enhanced this taste test was the locale--al fresco on a deliciously cool early summer day/evening. Things made from earthy provenance--honey from bees and cheese from happily grazing cows (one would presume)-- belong in such an ideal setting.

Pie Darkstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pie Darkstone said...

You DO love to torture me, don't you? I have tried all of these cheeses, and three of the honeys. I have even tried the barley honey - too strong for me. (FYI: If you want to be cured of the honey addiction, Tupelo honey just might do it. Blegh.)

Honey plain is not one of my favorite flavors, but does make an interesting and sometimes unexpected flavor combination when paired with a nice cheese. Great entry!

Guru said...

Did you hear the story from last year about the bees that were making bright red honey after getting into the red dye from a maraschino cherry company? http://offthepresses.blogspot.com/2010/11/neon-red-maraschino-cherries-lousy-for.html

Where did you get the honey from, I'm assuming a local co-op? Or have you got your own hive?

cookworm said...

Yes, it was a struggle to help you taste all that delicious cheese and honey, but we managed to get through it. :) The photos look beautiful! Don't include me in the contest, just wanted to say thanks again for letting me join you!

Amase Levasseur said...

I tried to recall my earliest true pairing of cheese and ...

Holiday weekend 1965.
Mom, Dad, 5 kids.
Camping trip.
40 degrees instead of 60.
Rain. Campground flooded.
Food ruined.
Mother furious.
Dad foraged for food in nearest town.
Best Easter breakfast ever, bread and farmer's cheese.
Mother not so furious.
Holland, my favorite country, for camping and cheese.

martha said...

My best honey memory was when I was staying with friends on Lake Lanier at an old mill house. It had a wood cook stove and wild bees living in the walls. You could hear them humming sometimes. I made some bisquits and the guys braved the wrath of the bees and stole some honey out of the walls. With the homemade butter and hot bisquits it tasted like ambrosia. I can still taste it...

Brett Hardin said...

Totally jealous of the honey and cheese pairings. I feel like I need more free time in order to do fun activities like these.

Could we also get more info on the spoons?

todd said...

several have asked about the spoons. i've collected them over the years, and am told they are part of a large set and around 100 years old. each has a small figure on the top relating to some theme/reference to rome and roman mythology. one spoon has romulus and remus as children suckling from a wolf. another has the god apollo on it

Igor Mascarenhas said...

Its amazing this table. I dont know much about honey but I know a recipe of a cake that I cook few days ago that use honey. You can see pictures here http://abouthechanges.blogspot.com/2011/06/o-sabor-da-cozinha.html

Bytheway I loved this contest and all suggestions.

Niddi said...

I can´t decide which of your compositions I would prefer, they look all so delicous. But I think I would love to try the Passendale with the buckwheat honey, never heard that buckwheat honey excists.
So, I think I tell you what I usually and often do in the summer, this is what I like to do with cheese and honey:
I put small slices of goat cheese in a non-stick frying pan with a little drop of olive oil. Don´t use a high temperature, low and slow frying. Just turn them once. Then I put my special homemade rosmary salt on top of the slices, then a little bit of fresh thyme from my balcony (you can also use a litte bit of chilly or garlic). Then you put a little spoon of honey on every slice of cheese, I use any kind of honey, sometimes I use a gutsy one, sometimes I use lavender honey. A litte piece of baguette – bon appetit!

Really like your blog, my husband likes your games and I like your flowers and recepies – the perfect combination.