Thursday, May 23, 2013

Recipe: (Sophisticated) Cheese and Crackers

I recently shared a leisurely weekend lunch with my Clementine Dipple.  As is our way, we each brought several items to share.  My contribution was cheese and crackers.  I know what you are thinking, “cheese and crackers?!?  Really?!?!  How inventive! (*sarcastic*)” But this was not the dry-as-the-Sahara saltines and neon orange cheddar of your youth.  I put a twist on this childhood staple to make it a bit more sophisticated and, of course, infinitely more satisfying!  This was just a weekend snack for us, but it could form the cornerstone of a delicious, unforgettable weekday lunch!  In fact, Clementine liked it so much, she asked to write a guest post on it.

I have an announcement! Throw out all of the (inferior) grocery store honey you have purchased! Have you done it yet? I'm serious, life is too short to waste on one-note saccharine amber goop!
This weekend, I had a picnic (indoors because it was 10C on Saturday!) and my Hunk-of-Man was tasked with bringing dessert. He revealed two baggies and two tupperware containers. The contents: Georgia pecans (uncracked), crackers, Toscano cheese (from Monforte Dairy) and (la piece de resistance) RAW  HONEY WITH HONEYCOMB (from Savannah Bee).
How do all of these components come together to make the most mind-blowing snack ever??? 
  1. Take a cracker in your hand (Choose a cracker that is plain and thin.  This is just the vehicle, not the star.  Let the other ingredients do the talking)
  2. Add a slice of Toscano cheese (Manchego would be a comparable cheese)
  3. Cut off a piece of the honey comb (the wax is edible and delectable) and spread it on the cheese like one would a jam or preserve
  4. Sprinkle with pecans
  5. Then you either try to take dainty bites (and get honey all over your hands and face) OR you shove the whole thing in your gullet and chew (the shards of cracker will cut into your face BUT it's worth it).
Honey has always been a staple in my kitchen. We use it in drinks mostly (lemon and honey with tea or just hot water) and cooking occasionally. It's an ingredient that we don't really think about. It's a nice natural alternative to white/brown sugar. I have been tempted by vendors at local farmer's markets but I've never taken the plunge because “what could be so different that Billy Bee hasn't perfected?” In fact, after having tasted/ smelled the fragrance of Savannah Bee's raw honey, I am now convinced that it matters greatly who produces the honey and from where it originates.
When we opened the tupperware, the room filled with its floral bouquet. Literally, it was like someone brought us fresh flowers. The honey was flaxen in colour (the colour of honey changes according to the season in which it is harvested because of the different flowers that are available. Honey in the spring is lighter in colour than in the fall). The taste: light and a hint of sweetness. It was a flavour that was happy to sit in the background while the pecans and cheese flexed their taste muscles.
The honey was SO delicious that we scoured the internet for local vendors almost immediately because, sadly, Savannah Bee doesn't ship outside of the US (probably to do with import/ export regulations). Coincidentally, we have a friend of a friend who is an apiarist but she doesn't have the type of equipment (yet, I hope!) that allows for the extraction of the comb. Meanwhile, we have found that Ontario has a Bee Keeping Association. Summer challenge: find Ontario's MOST DELICIOUS honey offerings. We shall call this challenge: Operation BUZZ.
Finally, if there's a lesson in all of this, it's that this is exactly the type of special snack one would pack in their lunch to treat oneself! It's gonna be messy but your day will be infinitely brighter for it.

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