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Apr 24, 2010 04:18 PM

need advice on pairing cheese with orange blossom honey

I have an abundance of orange blossom honey (on sale at the grocery store) and would like to pair it with a cheese to serve as an appetizer for a party. I can either serve it on bread slices or small leaves of endive.

I realize this may seem like a generic, no-brainer request. I've done some research and know that blue cheese is a classic for this kind of appetizer. But the reason I'm posing this question to Chowhounds is because I want to make sure I pick the right cheese for a honey that comes from orange blossoms.

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  1. it sort of depends on your preferences and how pronounced the citrus notes are in the honey. it works with a variety of cheeses. other options besides bleu:
    - mild, soft: ricotta & mascarpone
    - mild nutty: Manchego & Asiago
    - slightly assertive soft: chevre or goat cheese
    - washed-rind: Taleggio

    5 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      My first thought was Manchego as well. I prefer hard cheeses with honey, although the dish Phurstlove described sounds fantastic. You could make the ricotta mixture, put it on an endive leaf and drizzle the honey over it and it would be a great presentation.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Agree with the ricotta cheese suggestion - ricotta goes with most fruit-based jams/honeys/chutneys.

        If you don't want to go with a straight blue cheese, maybe a gorgonzola dolce? A little softer and milder.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I'm sure any of these would be fantastic, but I would go for the washed rind. I went out for a fantastic dinner recently where the cheese course was robiola (not sure if this is technically washed-rind, but similar to other washed-rind cheeses I've had) served with little dollops of honey, blackberry puree, and balsamic vinegar. The honey was my favorite of the three. The cheese was so runny it was served in a tiny bowl with a spoon, and you just dipped your spoon into a bit of the accompaniments and then a bit of the cheese, but I think it would be great if you just made little crostini out of your bread, spread your cheese (Taleggio, Robiola, Pont l'Aveque, etc.) on top and drizzled lightly with the honey.

          1. re: clairejustine

            Robiola is a soft-ripened cheese but not a washed rind cheese. Washed-rind refers specifically to cheeses that have been washed in brine (salt water) or some form of wine or spirits. The washing promotes the growth of certain secondary molds that give the cheese a stronger, more complex flavor but also make them "stinky." Taleggio is a washed-rind cheese, as is Pont l'Aveque.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              LOVE yummy, like a runny stinky blue brie...

        2. I saw a great episode on Food Network of Tyler's Ultimates (love him) and he toasts pine nuts in a dry skillet, then when toasted, adds the honey, gets the nuts coated. Then he pours the mixture over a bowl of fresh ricotta that's been seasoned, iirc, and had mint leaves folded into it.

          It looks and sounds beautiful. I went out & bought some of the orange blossom honey just for this recipe. From his Pizza Show & part of his antipasto platter.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            Hey there, do you know what the seasoning in the ricotta was?

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              i didn't see the episode, but as far as i can tell from the recipe, he just seasoned the whole thing with salt & pepper to taste once it's all combined - doesn't say anything about seasoning the ricotta separately.


                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  This totally just inspired a bastardized midnight-snack imitation: cottage cheese seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled liberally with honey, scooped up with potato chips. I'm ashamed to admit, it's delicious.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    That sounds really good, CM! I wish I could eat cottage cheese, and ricotta for that matter.

              1. re: ChristinaMason

                I think it was just some kosher salt & f.g. pepper.

            2. "I realize this may seem like a generic, no-brainer request"

              Not at all - I find the thread likely to be fascinating. In our culture, not only would we not usually serve cheese at the beginning of a meal, we'd never serve it with honey at any time.

              1. We like feta with honey and ground black pepper.