Wisconsin Cheese and Chocolate: A Match Made in Heaven

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by Gail Ambrosius, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

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At the first Isthmus Beer & Cheese Festival, this past Saturday, I was again reminded of why it’s so great to live in Wisconsin – even if the winter feels endless by late January. The beer! The cheese! All of it, wonderful.

And inspiring. There were lots of great cheeses and cheesemakers – I wish I hadn’t lost my cheat sheet. For me there were definitely some standouts that got me thinking about tasty chocolate and cheese pairings.

My all-time favorite is the award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville. (Pictured left.)

It’s a French Gruyère-style cheese. So good. Since this cheese has big rounded flavor, I would pair it with a deep dark-chocolate ganache, like the one in my Rica Organica truffle.

The cheese hits all the zones in your mouth, filling it with flavor. When backed by the chocolate’s rich creaminess – delicious.

Dunbarton Blue, from Roelli Cheese Haus in Shullsburg, would make a great companion to a simple dark chocolate.

It’s an earthy Cheddar with a suggestion of Blue Cheese – but not overpowering. I think it would make an interesting truffle too. I’d like to try introducing just a bit of this cheese into a creamy chocolate center.

The Apple Jack, by Gingerbread Jersey in Augusta, had a slight apple flavor with a bit of cinnamon. This Cheddar would be a great partner for either my Cinnamon/Cayenne or Machu Picchu truffles. The Apple Jack’s creaminess would nicely tame the heat on the end of the Cinnamon/Cayenne. I tried about eight varieties of Carolyn and Virgil Schunk’s cheese. I also loved their Cranberry Horseradish Cheddar. I just thought Thanksgiving when I ate it.

The Feta from Klondike

Cheese Co. of Monroe is divine. It’s soft, creamy and not overly salted. This one is just right. I’d suggest pairing it with the big flavors of an Ecuadorian chocolate. The boldness of the chocolate will stand up nicely to the Feta cheese.

And if you’re lucky enough to get a bit of Hook’s 15-year-old Cheddar – Mmm, the possibilities. It’s so delicious with those tiny grains of saltiness that I love. I can just imagine a warm, crusty baguette sprinkled with chocolate shavings. The warm bread begins melting the chocolate, and then you top it with some crumbles of that incredible cheese. Oh joy. Oh comfort.

The best advice for pairing: If you think it might be good, give it a try. Have fun and be good to yourself!

Find more Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier pairings on her Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Gail Ambrosius truffle Twitter giveaway! (NOW CLOSED)

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Love is in the air. So is the sweet smell of Wisconsin Crave Brothers Mascarpone and Columbian Dark Chocolate from Gail Ambrosius. Cheese Cupid is helping spread the love on Valentine’s Day by giving away 15 boxes of limited-edition heart-shaped truffles with Crave Brothers Cheese Wisconsin Mascarpone created by Gail Ambrosius.

You can enter the contest on Twitter. Tweet 3 words that come to mind when you think of Wisconsin Cheese and chocolate using the hashtag #cheeseandchocolate – example: Creamy, drea

my, delicious #cheeseandchocolate. Wisconsin Cheese Cupid will randomly pick 15 winners on Wednesday, February 10. The chocolate will be delivered on Friday, February 12.

Help spread the Wisconsin Cheese love.