Did you know I cater events? In case you didn’t, here is a little plug for myself:

I cater anything from bridal/baby showers to weddings. And I think I do a dang good job too :) What, as if I am going to say I suck?

I recently catered a wine and cheese party for about 100 people. There are some of my favorite events to cater. No no, not JUST because of the wine, but because you can get SO creative with the food. Although the wine DOES make it pretty enjoyable. Sure, I can serve standard cheese and cracks and veggies, but how boring is THAT? Instead what I try to do is take the traditional or standard foods you would expect at an event like that and add flair, spice it up a bit.

A cheese I have found that most, not all, but most people like is goat cheese. Which makes it an easy choice when figuring out which cheeses to serve. But just serving logs of goat cheese? BOR-ING. So I took a little poll with my twitter peeps and asked them what they thought would taste good with the goat cheese. I got SO many GREAT responses. But ultimately I had to make a choice.

I chose 3 very different options, all with very different flavor profiles. I seriously can’t pick which is my favorite. I tried them all, many times. Um, what, caterers should try there own food, right? Well, I think they should. At the party one person even said, “it’s always a good sign when you see the chef eat their own food.”

Anyway, below are the 3 varieties. They can all be made in advance. The Lemon Herb should only be made a day ahead of time, it gets too watery if you make it too much further in advance then that. But the chocolate ganache and fruit and nut logs can be made up to 4 days in advance. In fact, they both get better as they sit because the flavors really develop. Case in point, this morning I had some leftover dried fruit and nut goat cheese on my toast. I ended up ditching the toast and eating huge bites of the goat cheese because it was so good, 4 days later! I’m telling you, if you make these for a party, or even for Easter, you will be a hit. People think these are GENIUS! As they should, because they really are DELICIOUS!

Dried Fruit and Nut Goat Cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dry roasted pecans
1/4 cup dry roasted almonds
1 lb log goat cheese

Chop all the fruit and nuts really small. Spread them on a piece of wax paper and roll the goat cheese log, press somewhat firmly so the pieces stick to the cheese, over the fruit and nuts. Drizzle honey over the top right before serving. Serve with crackers and apple slices.
*If not serving immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Lemon and Herb Goat Cheese
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 lemon, zested
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 lb log goat cheese

Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl. Spread the mixture onto a piece of wax paper. Roll the goat cheese over the mixture coating 3 sides, or all 4 if you want. Serve with crackers, sliced bell peppers and sliced cucumbers
*If not serving immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Chocolate Ganache Covered Goat Cheese
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 lb log goat cheese

In a double boiler, heat the heavy cream until hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped chocolate. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the ganache, slowly, over the top of the goat cheese. Refrigerate until the ganache has firmed up. On a sheet of wax paper, roll the chocolate covered goat cheese in the chopped hazelnuts on 3 sides. Serve with crackers.
*If not serving immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.