Happy New Year! Well. almost.. we are currently in “the old year” now. So: Happy old year? Either way, I hope this year begins with joy and is filled with goodness for everyone out there.
I love New Years: Every year, I give my home a fresh start; I put a crisp white tablecloth on our dining table, put out a vase of white flowers, wash the sheets and give the whole house a good decluttering clean.
That was yesterday.
Today; I got ready to bring in the New Year. Not that I will be awake past nine or anything…. but, I will try.
I had received this cheese for a recipe challenge, #cheesefromspain and after the first taste I knew it would be the perfect cheese to make a plate of Bocadillo con Queso (guava paste with cheese ) – and it’s fabulous with that. It’s tart, tangy and salty, perfect to pair with the fragrant sweetness of guava. But, that’s not my recipe. For my recipe, I decided to play around with combining assorted fresh fruits; melons and berries with this salty and savory contestant of a cheese.
The outcome and winner of the culinary cheese matchmaking game?
Sweet Starfruit; with its delicate fragrance and delightful amber glow it made for an appealing pair with the cream colored cheese. But: let’s face it: looks aren’t everything. These two have to taste as good as they look together.
The verdict: a match made. I added a drizzle of lemon infused olive oil with fresh black pepper to accentuate the cheery citrus undertones. Ohmygoodness. I’m talking like a menu. Or a wine bottle.
Who talks like that?!
Actually, I had a friend once who worked in the restaurant industry … she spoke like that all the time. Must have been all the menu memorizing…
About Manhon cheese:
“Also known as ‘Minorcan’ cheese, this fresh cheese is made on the Balearic Islands with raw or pasteurised cow’s milk from the Frisian, ‘Mahonesa’ or ‘Minorcan’, and/or the Alpine Brown breeds. Small amounts (no more than 5%) of sheep’s milk from the ‘Minorcan’ breed are also allowed. It is rectangular, with rounded edges and a cleft on the top left by the knot of the cloth (the ‘fogasser’) used as a mould.
The cheese is medium to large, very tall, and weighs up to 5 kilos or more. The rind is smooth and closed, and its colour varies between ivory white and intense yellow. It has a characteristic flavour, slightly acid, salty and a bit buttery. Depending on its aging, it can be milky and moist when it is fresh, or dry, sharp and somewhat spicy as the aging time is lengthened.
Depending on the production method, there are two types of cheese: Mahón Artesano, made with raw milk, and Mahón, made in industrial cheese shops. Also, depending on the ageing, there are:
- Mild Mahón: Soft, easy to cut, white in colour, high percentage of moisture. Gentle, lightly salted and acidic flavour
- Medium cured Mahón: Oily and yellowish ivory in colour. It is easy to cut, with the surface remaining smooth, intact and shiny. The flavour is more intense, although it maintains a hint of butteriness. Its maturing period is less than 150 days.
- Cured Mahón: With a firm texture, it is a very hard cheese that crumbles when cut. Its colour is dark yellow and its flavour salty, with something of a spicy touch. The maturing period is above 150 days.
- Mature Mahón: With a dark coloured rind and dry appearance. The colour of the cheese is yellowish and its flavour very intense and spicy
Both the production region of the milk from the Frisian, ‘Minorcan’ and Alpine Brown breeds, and the area of the production and aging processes of the cheese comprise the island of Minorca, which is the second largest, westernmost and northernmost island in the Balearic Archipelago.”
source: Spain Recipes
The cheese I used was from the Menorca region.
It can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods, Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Saveway, Kroger,Murray’s, Central Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zahurs, and Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle .
Mahon Cheese and starfruit with lemon pepper oil
- 1 cup Mahon cheese diced
- 3 small starfruit sliced and seeded
- 3 TBS lemon infused extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Arrange alternating cheese and starfruit on skewers or toothpicks; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper.
- Best served at room temperature.
Disclaimer: I was provided samples of cheese to participate in this contest.