There was supposed to be a photo right here. A photo of an attractively sliced log of goat cheese on a rustic-looking plate, maybe some scattered nuts, with red jam artistically spooned onto one of the slices in a whimsical heart shape. Can you picture it? Good. That picture in your mind is far better than anything I could conjure up with my camera and dubious food-styling talents.
The idea remains, though: A local jam and cheese pairing for Valentine’s Day.
I’m a fan of Bonnie Shershow’s jams and preserves. I use them for toast, to flavor plain Liberté yogurt in the morning, and to top little cheesecakes by night. They’re a bit on the pricey side. After all, they’re handmade with fruit from local farms and no added pectin, but they’re delicious, and if you can’t spend $10 on jam on Valentine’s Day, then when can you? Do you love the person or not?
I asked the cheese experts at Formaggio Kitchen to suggest some local cheeses that would complement her jams. Kurt Gurdal (son of the owner and big cheese, Ihsan) had some nice ideas:
Red pepper jelly: Cabot cloth-bound cheddar, an English-style cheddar aged in the cellars of Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. Or Equinox by Consider Bardwell Farm also in Vermont, a hard, aged, Italian-style goat’s milk cheese. For you non-local folks, try a pecorino or anything fatty to balance the peppery punch.
Strawberry Rhubarb: Champlain triple crème, a soft, buttery, ripened cow’s milk cheese from Vermont. Non-local folks, try a French triple crème or chèvre.
Peach Ginger: Bridgid’s Abbey, a creamy, mild Trappist-style cow’s milk cheese by Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, Connecticut. The farm also makes a Spanish Manchego-style cheese (but with cow’s milk instead of sheep’s) dubbed “Womanchego.”
Blackberry, Blueberry, or Black and Blue: Consider Bardwell’s Manchester, an aged raw goat’s milk tomme, or Jasper Hill Farm’s Winnimere, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese wrapped in spruce bark. Non-local folks, try a Swiss emmenthaler.
Raspberry or Raspberry Lime: Goat cheese from Carlisle Farmstead in Massachusetts or aged goat cheese from Twig Farm in West Cornwall, Vermont with its earthy rinds. Non-local folks, pick your favorite goat cheese or a French Époisses.