Mean and Nasty. Add Choklat. Not so mean and nasty.

Here I go messing around with those “usual” pairings again. But I had the beer…and I had the cheese, and I thought….why not??? It turned out to be a really good idea!

In this case, the cheese came first…..from a June trip to the Thousand Islands. How can you resist a cheese called Mean and Nasty? It’s a super aged cheddar from River Rat cheese. (Even thought I can’t find any information on their website.) Our oldest son spotted it in a gift shop in Alexandria Bay, saying he’d had it before and liked it. He wanted us to try it, so we picked it up. It sat in the fridge until the right pairing came along.  The cheese has a definite sharp bite, but being a fan of sharp cheddar It’s hard to call it nasty. It has a lot of creaminess hidden under the sharpness and plenty of calcium lactate crystals hidden throughout.

The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.

The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.

I discovered the beer during a photo shoot. (Yes…I love my job!) I poured 9 different beers for the shots and since there was a touch left in each bottle I got to try them all. The Southern Tier Brewing Choklat was a standout for me. It’s a stout brewed with chocolate….and it’s delicious on its own. The scent of chocolate and caramel fills your nose as you bring your glass up. The taste is very creamy to start, with caramel malt, and finishes with bittersweet chocolate and hops. Together…’s creamy chocolate bliss. The bite of the sharp cheddar pairs well with the hops. The creaminess in both blend together, while the chocolate shines through. Yum!

2eat2drink_meanandnasty-p2eat2drink-meanandnasty choklat-p2eat2drink-choklat-pHere are a few highlights from our trip!

An apple a day……brings a smile!

The supply of Honeycrisp apples is starting to dwindle. I’m not happy about that. As one of my favorite types of apple, I look forward to seeing them in the store every fall. The Honeycrisp is a cross between Macoun and Honey Gold apples that some ingenious apple scientist came up with.  I love the crunch and the blend of sweet and tart. Yum! (Makes smile!)

Heather, her mom and her grandmother mix up a wonderful batch of applesauce each fall. We portion it out and store it in the freezer so we can enjoy it year round….or until it runs out! I highly suggest you try it out, as I hear it’s fairly easy.

Grandma Betty’s Applesauce: Peel, core, and quarter one peck of apples. Rinse the apple pieces and put them in a large pot with 3 cups of water and  up to 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it). Add cinnamon to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

We also wanted to try the Honeycrisp apples with a trio of Grafton Village cheddar cheeses. Thinking it would be a fun experiment to pick the best pairing, we set up our cheeseboard and went to town! The one-year aged cheddar was slightly sharp, but smooth. It took the apple in a creamy direction. The two-year aged cheddar was crumbly and a fair amount sharper than the younger cheese. This was our least favorite pairing as it seemed dry in comparison to the first. The maple smoked cheddar was mild, creamy and – true to its name – smoky. It had a honey maple flavor that paired extremely well with the honey in the apple, making for an awesome combination.

Head to the store and grab some Honeycrisp apples while they’re still available! CRUNCH!

Honeycrisp apples. AWESOME...whether in applesauce or just snacking on them.

The trio of Grafton Village cheddar that we tried....Mmmmm.

The cheese trio posing for a close up.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

This is just a quick reminder to enjoy everything Irish today (in moderation). I decided to skip the green beer and offer this up instead. Try a nip of your favorite Irish whiskey with a bit of Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey (they blend it right into the cheese!)  A great mix of robust flavors that surprisingly brings about a smooth finish. Enjoy!

The blended whiskey I had would not be my suggestion, given the characteristic burn I felt as I was sipping. (Is that Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly I hear in the background?) I suggest you go for a nice single malt. Let me know what your favorite is, so I can try this again!

Kerrygold Irish Whiskey Aged Cheddar, a little crusty bread, and shot of your favorite Irish Whiskey.