A lovely Aussie friend was recently telling me about her menu plans for Thanksgiving, and my interest was piqued when she mentioned that she would be making a cheese ball for the appetiser. Her cheese ball, if she was still in Australia, would have been comprised of cream cheese with cheddar and good ol’ Coon, sprinkled with curry powder and decorated with fried onions. I was instantly transported back to the 1980s in Australia and my heart warmed with such nostalgic memories.
Here in Switzerland, her cheese ball has been given a fancy makeover with the use of local Swiss cheese, but I’m sure it remains delicious nonetheless.
So with the help of a few cookbooks, I was inspired to create a cheese ball similar to one I once ate back in Australia. Back then, Castello Blue Cheese was the height of sophistication amongst my friends and it often took centre place on the cheeseboard alongside the Camembert, Brie and fruit cheese.
Which brings me to another topic. My husband is French and neither he, nor his family, regard fruit cheese as real cheese. Never have I seen fruit cheese on any of their cheese platters, and nor do they eat fruit (dried or fresh) with their cheese. And like in most French families, the cheese is usually only served after the main dish and before dessert. The cheese is never served as an appetiser, unless they are little cubes of Laughing Cow Cheese (also not considered to be real cheese by my husband).
So you could imagine my husband’s confusion when, early on in our relationship, I served a cheese platter with grapes and sliced crunchy pears as an appetiser to a group of our friends; the British and Australian crowd tucked into the cheese platter with much gusto, while the French folks looked on in puzzlement.
So when I presented my Roquefort Cheese Ball to my husband one evening as our entrée, I could see him try very hard not to laugh and shake his head in disbelief. For just a few seconds. He couldn’t understand why anyone would want to chop up various cheeses (which taste perfectly fine as they are) and mix them together into a ball. Point taken. I’m sure my mother-in-law would be just as amused!
But here it is, my Roquefort Cheese Ball. It’s perfect for large gatherings as a snack or appetiser. I think it even works well alongside a cheese platter with a selection of your favourite cheeses. Happy Holidays everyone!!
- 400 g (14 oz) cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), at room temperature
- 100 g (3.5 oz) Roquefort cheese
- 100 g (3.5 oz) Emmental cheese, grated
- 50 g (1.8 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
- 200 g (7 oz) whole hazelnuts
- Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until it has softened.
- Crumble the Roquefort into the bowl, and add the Emmental and Parmesan cheese.
- Slowly mix everything together on low speed until everything is well incorporated.
- Place a large sheet of cling film on the work surface. If your cling film is too small, you may need to use two sheets and overlap them.
- Place the cheese mixture into the centre of the cling film. Bring up the sides of the cling film and fully encase the cheese mixture inside. Twist the top of the cling film together to make sure the cheese is tightly encased. Place the cheese ball into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm.
- You could decorate the cheese ball with just whole hazelnuts, but I like to use mix of whole and crushed hazelnuts as the latter adds a nice contrast in colour. To do so, I simply put a few handful of whole hazelnuts into a large ziplock bag, and bash the nuts a few times with a rolling pin until they are coarsely crushed.
- Mix the crushed hazelnuts with the whole hazelnuts.
- Remove the cheese ball from the cling film and place it on a baking sheet or chopping board.
- Cover the cheese ball with the hazelnut mixture.
- Carefully remove the cheese ball to a plate or cheese platter. Serve with crackers.
You can make the cheese ball ahead of time, but it is best to cover it with the hazelnuts shortly prior to serving. This way, the hazelnuts will keep their crunch.
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