Wednesday, September 10

Panama with Goats cheese and honey.

Following a refreshing return trip to the Netherlands, I wanted to share an excellent pairing with you. Like many people, coffee is enjoyed with food, and in the same way a sommelier advises which works with what so it shall be here. Food pairings have been a passion of mine alongside the coffees I drink not only those that work, but those that don't; making 'mistakes' is where you can learn a lot more than you think.

Simplicity often holds the greatest of pleasures for me, as is the case with the bagels at Beans and Bagels in Haarlem. My favourite was the fantastic goats cheese, honey and walnut on multigrain and has caused me to make many bagels at home since. Lightly warmed cheese works best with the honey becoming less cloying as it melts. Toasted walnuts add a complimentary difference in texture and would hint at a Colombian coffee working well, and I'd definitely recommend a good dark roasted Colombian with this too, but this time I am pairing it with Panama to counteract the body of the honey. Ripe as I like it a slightly firmer goats cheese works best for this recipe, I'd recommend something like Whitehaven for less need to grill the cheese or the fantastic little Gevrik for a slightly firmer cheese with a nuttier flavour.

Warm your bagel if you haven't made it fresh, cut the goats cheese in half and place on the bagel topping it with half a toasted walnut and drizzle with a good quality honey. Bang it under the grill to lightly melt the cheese and liquefy the honey a touch, no more than a couple of minutes and in the meantime grind your coffee and prepare your cafetiere. The coffee I used for this tasting was the Panama Hacienda Las Esperanza Estate. I would disagree with James 'peanut' description, particularly as peanut is often (with my taste upbringing) associated with Robusta beans and not Arabica. However, the syrup notes with the honey work perfectly, and the lightness in body of the coffee compared to the food really helps make this a perfect light lunch or afternoon snack.

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