Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Night of Cheese - Third Course

Sorry for the blogging break... let's get back to it!

The third course for the cheese workshop (I thought) was especially tasty, but I'm not sure what guests thought of it. Some seemed to really enjoy it. Others... not so much. The cheese was called Manchester from Consider Bardwell Farm (West Pawlett, Vermont). A raw goats milk tomme, the cheese has a particularly nutty flavor which is more concentrated as you eat towards the rind (if you like, you can also eat the rind, or save it for soups and stews).

The Manchester was paired with Ommegang Witte, a beer from my favorite brewery in Cooperstown, NY. The effervescence in beer is a great companion with cheese, as it helps to cut the creaminess on the mouth's palate and bring out the flavors in the cheese. The Witte is a Belgian-style white beer, and it's smooth yet spicy flavor was very complementary to the nuttiness of the cheese.

Homemade walnut praline was also served with the cheese and beer - the sweetness played off the spiciness of the beer, while the walnut brought out the nutty notes in the cheese.

I made a decent sized batch of walnut praline, and any left over was mixed into maple ice cream for a tasty treat a few days later. This praline is very easy to make and only takes about 15 minutes to cook, but let it cool and set-up overnight. If you want a thinner praline, chop the walnuts a bit finer, but for this use I left the nuts "chunky," as I wanted to highlight the nut aspect more than the sugary aspect of the praline.

Walnut Praline
Recipe adapted from

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey

1. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet or half-sheet pan with cooking spray. Place sheet/pan on trivets or kitchen towels to protect the counter from heat

2. Combine sugars and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a wood spoon. Be careful not to scorch the milk

3. One the mixture begins to boil, stir in the butter, walnuts, spices and honey. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 235 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes

4. Carefully pour the hot praline mixture onto the cookie sheet and let cool. Once completely cooled, break the candy into desired sized pralines. Enjoy!

A very special thank you to Eric Paul, The Cheese Traveler, for his expertise. Without him, this night would not have happened! Be sure to follow him on Facebook. Consider Bardwell cheese can be purchased through the Cheese Traveler or online.

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