Philosophically, I part ways with places that conclude your dinner with a plate filled with fanciful concoctions topped with sprinkles and crunchies and wafers and genoise and ganache and foam and…you get my point. I rarely have dessert when I eat out. For me, it’s just a little over the top. A beautifully made, straightforward dessert can be a lovely ending to a meal. I’m not anti-dessert; I just like what I like. And at the end of a meal, generally speaking, I like cheese. Cheese for the civilized, desserts for the rest of you.
Go to your farmers’ market and get the freshest and best goat cheese you can find—the tang and texture are critical with a dish this straightforward. Ask for tastes and buy what you like, and please, please dont’ serve your cheese cold. Refrigeration is a wonderful advent in food preservation, but it blunts the flavor and affects the texture of every cheese you buy. Simply leave it on the counter during your meal and it should come to temperature by the time you’re ready to eat it. Chestnut honey has an earthiness, almost a gaminess, really, that adds depth and structure to the dish.–Ethan Stowell
LC Honey Do List, er, Note
When you (or your honey) are shopping for this simple last course, you may wish to add a sort of unstated asterisk after the word “chestnut.” True, as Ethan Stowell notes, chesnut honey will contribute a complexity that’s really quite lovely–although it’s not the only honey that’s compatible with goat cheese. Not by far. In truth, almost any honey will do. Since you’ll probably already be at the farmers’ market sampling local goat cheeses, consider trying a few local honeys, as anything taken from the same terroir as the goat milk will accentuate the cheese in ways both subtle and profound.
Goat Cheese with Honey
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 5 M
- Serves 4
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
- Honey, preferably chestnut, for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons ground or finely chopped hazelnuts, if desired
- 1. If the goat cheese is in nice little crottins, place them on a cutting or serving board. If the goat cheese is in a log, slice it thickly into 4 rounds or use 2 soup spoons to form it into 4 quenelles, scooping the cheese out of one and rounding it as you pass the cheese back and forth between the spoons to form a smooth football shape. Arrange the cheese on a board or plate.
- 2. Drizzle the goat cheese with the honey. If desired, place the hazelnuts in a sieve and sprinkle the finely ground pieces over the cheese.