Our New Year's Eve feast began with an assortment of cheeses, both homemade and professionally-sourced. The two large wedges in the photo came from the Beehive Cheese Co., from a Wine Woot purchase a few weeks ago. On the far left is the Barely Buzzed, a nutty and crisp cow's milk cheese, rubbed with coffee and lavender. We actually broke this open last week, and weren't too impressed. This time, however, it really hit the spot. I can't imagine that an extra week of "aging" made much of a difference, so perhaps it was just our mood. In any event, it was definitely a popular choice. The other large wedge, on the right, is Beehive's Seahive, a salt & honey cheese. I would actually prefer if it had a stronger honey flavor, but it was delicious nevertheless.
In the center of the main board is our homemade Habanero Jack. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't be spicy enough, but it turned out quite nicely -- not too much pepper flavor, but it had a lingering heat that was perfect for a cold winter night. It was still a bit too crumbly, though. It might be time to invest in a proper pH meter -- I clearly need to work on getting the right acidity level before adding the rennet.
On the plates at top is some freshly-made Chèvre. We kept one plain (just lightly salted), one is rolled in Herbs de Provence [wikipedia], one is rolled in fresh ground black pepper, and then the crowning
experiment achievement is the little guy sitting on his own plate -- it was rolled in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and chopped pistachios.
We ran out of crackers fairly quickly, but found that the hard cheeses were a perfect substitute. We simply cut off a piece and slathered the chevre right on top. The Barely Buzzed and Herbs de Provence worked perfectly together (lavender! lavender!), and the Pistachio Extravaganza and Seahive were great together as well.