I have to admit that I’ve never been a cranberry sauce fan. The stuff from the can was so unappealing to me growing up, and I think my mom felt the same way, because I don’t remember seeing it on our Thanksgiving table when I was a kid. But I don’t remember homemade cranberry sauce, either, so maybe we just skipped up, just as we passed up pumpkin pie for chocolate cream. But a few years ago, Colleen created a recipe for cranberry sauce that rocked my taste buds – and those of my oldest son, who flips his lid whenever cranberries reappear at Trader Joe’s because he knows that I’ll make him Auntie C’s special sauce. I’ve already made the sauce twice this year, and when a rare cup of leftover berries entered my refrigerator after dinner Friday night, of course I thought, “I bet this would go fantastically with cheese.” Turns out I was right!
At one of the Wisconsin Cheese Originals seminars I attended during our Wisconsin cheese trip, I sampled Dunbarton Blue, a cheddar-blue hybrid created by Chris Roelli of Roelli Cheese Haus. Shullsburg, Wis., has been home to Roelli Cheese for almost 100 years, but only recently has the creamery switched from making commodity cheeses to artisan varieties. Dunbarton Blue is a case in point – Roelli crafts small batches of raw-milk cheddar and adds Penicillium roqueforti to create minerally blue veins throughout the cheese. Some wedges have more veins than others; mine had very few, but I could still taste the hint of blue with each bite of meaty, mushroomy cheddar.
Dunbarton Blue’s hearty flavor is a perfect foil for a sweetly tart accompaniment such as cranberry sauce, and using a cinnamon-spiked biscuit as a base ties together the bite. Pass around a platter of these treats before Thanksgiving dinner and you need no other appetizer besides a glass of full-bodied red wine or a flute of bubbly. You have other things, like that big bird in the oven, to worry about on Thanksgiving. Buy some cheese, spoon up some extra sauce and give yourself a break.