I love cheese!! I drive my hubby crazy with all the cheese that continues to fill our fridge. Now I am not much of a cheese connoisseur as I love a good processed Kraft cheddar slice as much I love a mature Camembert. But my absolute favourite has to be goat cheese, so I was thrilled when I was lucky enough to sample a new product called St. Iola from C’estbon Cheese
I have to confess I am very partial to a soft gooey cheese. This new cheese did not disappoint. St. Iola is made in a Crottin Mould, made in the traditional French way, where the curd is gently ladled into moulds and allowed to drain off without pressing. This fresh unpressed goat cheese features a delicate bloom rind with an earthy nose reminiscent of the forest floor. Ripened for three weeks, the cheese becomes dense and intensifies in flavour as it ages. The Cheese Master recommended that St. Iola should be served at room temperature with a dark berry jam or an organic honey, BUT I had my own ideas.
Since I had made quince jam earlier in the week and everyone told me how amazing quince jam was with cheese, this was my first treat. The delicate floral tones of the jam paired extremely well with the earthy flavours of the cheese.
I curiously needed to discover what would happen to this cheese if I grilled it. Well I just couldn’t heat this cheese and eat it – I had to come up with a yummy second treat of the day! Early in the year I had made a Fig Jam that I thought would pair wonderfully with my newly sampled saint.
I sauteed some walnuts with a little brown sugar and water
Grilled the cheese and topped with the Fig jam, sugared walnuts, and a drizzle of honey, OMG it was amazing!!
These two tasty treats were not enough and I had to experiment with one more idea. How would this cheese bake? I had some leftover phyllo pastry in the fridge that required a purpose. I decided to make a “cheese beggars purse”. I put one small scoop of my Quince Jam and Fig Jam in the centre of a square of phyllo and then topped it with St. Iola cheese.
This splendid recently introduced cheese certainly is my new favourite and I have only just begun experimenting with all its delicious possibilities. Look for St. Iola cheese at fine local retailers to add good taste to your holiday entertainment platters.