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Cheese Challenge Recipes & Wine Pairings

Wine Pairings by Pam Puckett

It’s that time again… Willy Street Co-op’s Cheese Challenge time! Stop in to the Co-op to sample cheeses beginning when the challenge tips off mid-month. To further familiarize yourself with the outstanding cheeses that are going head to head for the top spot in our bracket, check out these recipes and wine pairings. Wines are available at Willy North and Willy West. 

Pear Blue Cheese Onion Dip

Recipe from:

A unique dip—great for a party! FeaturesRoth Cheese’s Buttermilk Blue—a tangy yet mellow blue cheese.

1 1/4 c. diced red onion

3/4 c. diced pear

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 c. sour cream

1/2 c. Roth Buttermilk Blue®

2 Tbs. honey

Directions: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Roast diced onion and pears on parchment paper or a nonstick sheet pan until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, Buttermilk Blue® cheese and honey. Blend in onions and pears. Serve with pita or naan crackers.

Wine Suggestions: DaVinci Chianti, Osborne Ruby Port, or Bota Box Riesling

Honey Drizzled Apple Gouda Bacon Bites

Recipe adapted from

This snack features Gouda-style St. Dorian from Capri Cheese, and is also a great appetizer. 

2 large Granny Smith apples

Capri St. Dorian cheese 

Thick-sliced bacon


Fresh rosemary, finely minced

Lemon juice

Directions: Cut bacon slices into four equal parts and brown until crisp. Core and slice apples and place into a bowl of water with lemon juice to prevent browning. Slice cheese to fit onto apple slices. To assemble: Arrange apple slices on a serving tray; top with cheese, then bacon; then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with minced rosemary. 

Wine Suggestions: Korbel organic Champagne, Acrobat Pinot Noir

MontAmoré Potato Au Gratin

Recipe adapted from

This is an exceptionally rich take on your typical potato au gratin. The MontAmoré cheese bakes up almost like a ricotta with lots more flavor. The sprinkling of cheddar on top adds depth to the already flavorful dish. This recipe features two Challengers: Sartori MontAmoré (an original cheese from the Sartori Cheese Company; similar to a Parmesan, but more versatile and also great for cheese platters) and Organic Valley Grassmilk Raw Sharp Cheddar.

1 Tbs. butter

1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press or finely minced with a knife

2 lb. Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1 7 oz. brick Sartori MontAmoré cheese, shredded

1/2 c. Organic Valley Grassmilk Raw Sharp Cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

3/4 c. whole milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2.5–3 quart baking dish with butter. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the baking dish in layers, overlapping slightly. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the potatoes. Layer remaining potatoes over cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining shredded MontAmoré. In medium saucepan, heat cream & milk with the garlic until just bubbling. Do not boil. Pour over potatoes. Top with cheddar cheese. Place baking dish on baking sheet and bake 60 to 75 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Wine Suggestions: Casas del Bosque Chardonnay, Ali Sangiovese

Steak Sandwich with Horseradish Havarti

Recipe from:

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large red onion, sliced

2 Tbs. sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 crusty sandwich rolls, split, lightly toasted and buttered

1 six-ounce top sirloin steak, grilled medium rare and sliced across the grain into 1/4 inch slices

4 slices Roth Horseradish Havarti

Pickles, to serve

Directions: In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat and sauté onions until soft, lightly browned, and caramelized. Turn heat to medium-high; add vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until most of the vinegar has evaporated. Evenly layer two halves of rolls with steak and onions. Top with Roth Horseradish Havarti. Place sandwiches in a hot oven or under broiler until cheese has melted. Top with remaining rolls and serve with pickles on the side.

Wine Suggestions: Nugan Estate Stompers Cabernet Sauvignon,Starborough Sauvignon Blanc

Alpine-Style Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Recipe from

Features Challenge Competitor Saxony Alpine Style™—a rich, full-bodied cheese with sweet and nutty flavors with notes of Swiss. Another Saxon Creamery cheese—their Saxon Pastures™—is an Old English style, aged bandage-wrapped cheddar with a sweet, creamy texture. 

1 Tbs. butter

4 lb. russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 c. whole milk

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted

1 1/2 c. grated Saxon Pastures™ cheddar style cheese

1 c. freshly grated Saxon Saxony Alpine Style™ aged cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbs. plain dry bread crumbs

1 clove garlic, minced 

Directions: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 13”x9”x2” baking dish with butter and set aside. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the Pastures™ cheese and  3/4 c. of the Alpine Style™ cheese. Add the minced garlic. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. 

Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 c. of Alpine Style™ cheese in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. 

Wine Suggestions: StoneCap Merlot, King Estate Pinot Gris







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