Skagit Food Co-op blog:

the Cheese Whisperer

The Cheese Whisperer: Sweet Cheeses

Cheese is a versatile, tremendous food. It can be served as an appetizer, as part of a main meal, and for dessert. The onset of the winter holidays is a good time to get familiar with new ways to enjoy the sweeter side of cheese.

Some cheeses are ready made sweet indulgences. Many dessert cheese trays will feature rich, tangy options like triple cream bries, soft dolce (“sweet”) blue cheeses and intensely-flavored aged cheese, like Bellavitano’s Merlot Extra Aged Reserve.

Take for instance, a recent arrival to Cheese Island: Celebrity, honey-kissed goat cheese from Canada. This delightful, chalky textured fresh chevre cheese is made for dessert. It has a light, sweet flavor from honey and mild tang of a young, pasteurized goat cheese. Serve with toasted nuts and shortbread, alongside a mellow Port or sweet ice wine.

Another way to enjoy the sweet side of cheese is to make a cheese ball (wait, stick with me here…) with cream cheese, raspberry jam and chocolate chips. It might sound deceptively simple and somewhat reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake served with fruit preserves, but this cheese ball delivers an irresistible goodness and tangy sweetness.

Raspberry Chocolate Cheese Ball

Serves 12-14

  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese softened – for best results, use excellent cream cheese, such as Sierra Nevada’s organic, farmstead artisan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans toasted
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (optional seedless) raspberry preserves

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add sugars. Mix until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Cover and chill the mixture for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. At serving time, shape into a ball. Make a hollow on top of the ball. Spoon the raspberry preserves into hollow and around the sides of the ball. Serve with apple slices, biscotti, graham crackers or vanilla wafers.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.