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The Simple Cheese Lover’s Romantic Dinner
February 2010

Fine fromage makes a perfect pair with romantic dinners. The savory, refined, smooth, creamy flavors are a natural fit for intimate celebrations like Valentine’s Day.

Since French cheese may be the perfect ingredient for that special Valentine’s Day gourmet feast, we’ve put together some suggestions for a true cheese lover’s romantic meal.

- Present variety. Fine cheese comes indifferent flavors and textures. Choose three different types to showcase and build your meal from there. It’s best to select from different French cheese families and milk types. Presenting at least three delicious French fromages shows off the versatility of the cheeses. Here's a few tips for creating a simple yet memorable romantic meal with your favorite French cheeses:

- Keep it simple. We suggest preparing three simple courses that highlight three different cheeses. An appetizer, main course and dessert can all feature a totally different cheese and be combined with special pairings that highlight their unique flavor profiles.

- Mix up the pairings and accompaniments. The beauty of using varying cheeses is that it provides freedom for experimenting with different foods and beverages. A separate wine can be savored with each course, for example. It’s best, of course, to customize your feast to your loved one’s favorites foods and drinks to make the meal extra special.

With the basics covered, now it’s time to get to the specifics. Here’s some suggestions for what to serve your special someone this Valentine’s Day.

Appetizer:
The first course of the cheese lover’s romantic dinner should be light and refreshing. Try a salad topped with goat cheese and fruit. The Ile de France pick: Goat Cheese and strawberry salad. Strawberries are light and sweet and provide a great pair with the tanginess of Ile de France goat cheese. Add some romaine lettuce and walnuts and you’ll have a delicious first course to your romantic evening.

Main course:
The main course should a make a big flavor statement. Fondue is unique and packs bold, unique flavors that are refined and perfect for a special meal.

The Ile de France pick:
Fondue with wild mushrooms and cognac.This recipe is an especially delicate and refined fondue variation that features finely chopped thyme leaves, mushrooms, garlic and shallots. The fromage for this fondue can be comprised of whatever your personal favorites are. The white wine and cheese sauce is set off perfectly with a hint of Cognac, making this fondue recipe a truly luxurious choice. And best of all it can be prepared in just 10 minutes!

More fondue options can be found on our fondue guide and fondue recipe page.

Another option:
For blue cheese lovers, try creating a simple cream based white sauce with Roquefort cheese. Simply melt two tablespoons of butter, combine with two tablespoons of flour, then slowly mix in two cups of melt. Continue stirring and add six ounces of crumbled Roquefort cheese. When the texture of the sauce is smooth – voila – an easy, delicious blue cheese pasta sauce that will taste like it took much longer than it did. Chicken or salmon can be added if desired, as well.

Dessert:
No Valentine’s Day dinner is complete without dessert! Cheese, chocolate and wine can be combined for a simple yet striking end to your meal. A sweet dessert wine is a great way to top off a gourmet meal. Try your favorite dessert wine with a deeply flavored triple cream French cheese. On Valentine’s Day, an indulgent, delicious and memorable dessert combination is a perfect way to end a meal.

Try: A simple St. Andre Napoleon dessert. This classic features raspberry sauce and a light chocolate sauce serve with triple cream St. Andre cheese. For even more flavor, add some sherbet on the side for a little variety and consider serving a port wine or a robust Barsac to top off the dessert with even more sweetness.

Tendrement,

Ile de France Cheese