Wisconsin Gouda & Chai Spiced Granola
I love all things sweet and savory but I love all things sweet and salty more.
I’m a sucker for salted chocolate (even better if it has caramel), I adore melting jam into a sauce for savory spiced meats, and I can’t think of anything better than running a slice (or three) of crispy bacon into pool of pure maple syrup. Melon and prosicutto. Apples and sharp cheddar. Honey drizzled over spicy skillet cornbread that’s been slathered in salted butter. A crisp cucumber salad made with a touch of sugar and vinegar. The list could go on and on; my salty-sweet love affair has been long running and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. My latest concoction is dedicated to those that aren’t afraid to think a little bit outside the box and that also really love cheese. (But then again, who doesn’t love cheese?)
This past weekend, I teamed up with Wisconsin Cheese at the annual BlogHer Food Conference in Austin, Texas to tout cheese and share it with the wonderful world that is food bloggers. It hardly seems like work when you’re asked to come up with a recipe highlighting a favorite Wisconsin Cheese. After saying yes (duh!), I knew immediately I wanted to use the award wining Marieke® Gouda Foenegreek made by Hollands Family Cheese, LLC. The handcrafted cheese made in Thorp, Wisconsin is absolutely divine. The fenugreek seed studded Gouda is sweet and nutty with the just slightest undertones reminiscent of maple syrup. The cheese maker, a young mother herself, has her own dairy cows and started making cheese simply because she couldn’t get the tasty Gouda she was accustomed to in her native Holland. (Talk about taking matter into your own hands!) Enter a few dairy cows and voile- Marieke won awards with her first batch of cheese. The rest they say is history!
I wanted a recipe that was easily eaten (food bloggers are on the run during the conference and I wanted something snacky), I knew that I wanted a paring as opposed to a recipe so I could really showcase the cheese (it is the best part after all), and lastly, I wanted to make something using maple syrup to pull out the maple notes and highlight the fenugreek seeds in the cheese. After going back on forth on a few ideas, I ultimately decided on making granola. I know it isn’t traditional nor something you’d think of to pair on a cheese plate but I was convinced it could be a really good idea. I’m always inclined to doing something a little different and if I do say so myself, this time it worked out extraordinarily.
The granola is marvelous on it’s own but it’s even better as a supporting role to the Gouda. The dried apricots were a bit of an after thought but in the end, they seemed to be the ingredient that pulls the pairing together. Chai spices, a touch of cocoa and brown butter makes this granola crispy, perfectly sweet and the ideal crunch to compliment the cheese and sweet, chewy dried apricot. The granola makes a wonderful addition to any cheese plate. Add whatever fresh fruit is in season, a few crackers and you’ve got a wonderful, unique cheese board.
If this isn’t enough and you’re still looking for a little more cheese inspiration, you can visit Wisconsin Cheese’s new website, Wisconsin Cheese Love, which will share and highlight bloggers cheese recipes from around the web. Aptly named, don’t you think?
Thank you, Wisconsin Cheese, for allowing me to be a part of your team last weekend and allowing me to showcase some of Wisconsin’s finest. Thank you for supporting food bloggers and letting us be a voice and advocate for the farmers and their beautiful cheese. You can down load the recipes for my Granola along with Foodiecrush’s Nectarine and Wisconsin Burrata Bites and a few other tasty morsels here. If you had the pleasure of tasting Heidi’s burrata bites with nectarines and lemon sugar, you’ll agree when I say you’ll want the recipe for your next summer get together. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth, tweeted, instagramed and shared the Wisconsin love!
I hope everyone is having a fantastic Tuesday!
Be well, peeps. xoxo
*I was compensated from Wisconsin Cheese for my time in Austin and for recipe development. Rest assured though, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t have it any other way!