Most people, when they hear the words coffee and cheese in the same sentence, wince at the thought of two such vastly different foods coming in such close contact. But Utah's Beehive Dairy is boldly cutting straight through that taboo with their coffee-covered Barely Buzzed, a blue ribbon winner in the 2008 American Cheese Society Awards. The first time I'd tasted it was back in March at Beecher's Cheese in Seattle.
As I bit down through the cheese, the bitter nuttiness of the espresso and the caramel sweetness of the cheddar-style cheese made me realize this is a match made in some really quirky and hip corner of heaven.
Brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford started the dairy four years ago, fed up with their day jobs in software and real estate and longing for a quieter life on the farm. The cheese began as an experiment, when Tim decided to cover one of his cheddars with espresso grounds from his brother's company, Colorado Legacy Coffee. It was good, but something was missing, so he added some lavender buds to the mix. A few months later he found his experiment aging on the shelf, tasted it, and knew he had something special on his hands.
Ultimately, though, Barely Buzzed is a proof of concept: that cheese and coffee pair really nicely, despite what one would assume. Tami Parr has a nice write-up on coffee and cheese pairings on her blog Pacific Northwest Cheese Project.
What about you? Have you ever successfully combined these seemingly incompatible foods?
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