Valentines Day Cheese Course

This is such an easy appetizer to any romantic dinner for two – it doesn’t have to be Valentines Day.  And it doesn’t even require any cooking!  So guys, if you are looking for something spectacular to make for someone special in your life then try out these amazing flavor combinations.  I promise you it will not disappoint.  The star of the dish is the Manchego cheese, which is a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese and has a mild, nutty flavor to it.  Try to find one that has been aged for six months or longer for more depth of flavor.  All you have to do with this is remove the rind and cut it into slices about the same size as the apple slices.  I like to use Gala apples when pairing with this particular cheese because they are crisp and tiny bit sweet.  But feel free to use any apple you like.  Then you want to serve it alongside a nice store bought pepper jelly.  There are so many great ones on the market right now so be adventurous.  I recently had a wonderful peach and habanero jam, for instance, that had a mild up front taste but a building heat that was out of this world. For this picture I used a more traditional jalapeno and red pepper jelly.  But anything a little sweet and spicy will be great.  And if she doesn’t like spice then I recommend fig jam.  You can usually find fancy preserves and fig jams in the cheese section of any nice grocery store.  Or HomeGoods is another great place to check.  And the final piece to the perfect start to your romantic dinner is really good quality crackers.  I’m a big fan of Leslie Stowe’s fig and olive (or fennel and lemon) but I also really like something more traditional on the plate like a plain flatbread or maybe one with a hint of rosemary.  And that’s it!  Just fan out a few of the apples next to the Manchego cheese and add a little dish of the pepper jelly and a few crackers and you are off to a great start.  And don’t forget the bubbles!  A sparkling Rose is fun for this occasion but any good Prosecco or Champagne will do.  For a non-alcoholic version serve sparkling cider with a hit of pomegranate juice to make it less sweet and to give it that fun light pink color.

 

 

 

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Manchego Cheese and Apples

Prep Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1/3 lb Manchego Cheese (aged 6 months or longer)
  • 1 Gala apple
  • 1 jar pepper jelly or fig jam (reserved the rest for a later use)
  • Rustic crackers / flatbread crackers
  • *Sparkling Rose or Prosecco (optional)

Assembly

  1. Cut the cheese into wedges and remove the ride. Slice the apples into similar sized wedges.
  2. Arrange on a platter with pepper jelly and crackers and enjoy with sparkling Rose or Prosecco.

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