Don’t get me wrong, I *heart* chocolate and am happily reading all the blogsphere’s February celebration recipes I stumble across (like the 100+ #chocolatelove bloghop recipes.) But it was the after-party during last month’s FoodBlog South conference that inadvertantly led me to think outside the Valetine’s box.
This was the first blogger conference I’ve attended and it was a blast. Interesting sessions, cool speakers, friendly bloggers and an amazing food spread summed up a worthwhile weekend in Birmingham for this Southern Wannabe. I’m not attempting to recreate a summary post as fellow attendees have already written some terrific wrap-ups including Melissa @ Dash of East and Taylor @ Taylor Takes A Taste.
But back to the after-party. Sponsored by Southeast Dairy Association and Good People Brewery, it boasted some amazing artisanal American cheeses (hello Cabot Clothbound Cheddar) & beer pairings. But it was the Kentucky Rose light bleu + Coffee Oatmeal Stout with ficoco (fig & cocoa spread!), gingersnaps and chocolate combo that knocked my socks off. Chocolate + cheese together got me thinking of a past dairy association promotion during Valentine’s Day celebrating cheese lovers and the new wave of artisanal cheesemakers that are changing the landscape of American crafted cheeses.
And so my Valentine’s box this year includes a variety of American cheeses along with a favorite Alabama nosh – Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q famous cheddar cheese biscuits (I was lucky enough to score a free sample of their mix at the conference – these suckers are darn good, even when I cut back on the butter a bit when baking.) The dietitian in me also added in some fresh thyme, mint, spinach, tomatoes and raspberries for a little extra color and nutrients.
Would you want to receive cheese instead of chocolate for Valentines’ Day? Or just chocolate, thank you? Or both?