I love chocolate and cheese—especially when that pairing comes in truffle form. The similarities in their fudgy textures and earthy flavors complement each other for the perfect bite. One of my very favorite takes on this pairing comes from the Chicago-based Katherine Anne Confections: a velvet-smooth goat cheese truffle with candied walnuts and just the right touch of cheesy funk.
And things are about to turn up, because this August is cheese month at Katherine Anne, and the chocolatiers are taking the pairing to the next level. Over the course of the month, the confectioner will release eight different cheese-infused truffles and host an all-you-can-eat cheese and truffle extravaganza, complete with beer pairings (details below).
I sat down with Katherine Anne Duncan herself to learn more about the inspiration behind these seductive morsels.
culture: When did you start making these cheesy truffles?
Katherine Anne Duncan: In 2012, I had the first stroke of inspiration when I designed the goat cheese and walnut truffle. It quickly became one of our best sellers, so we made it a mainstay in our collection.
Two years later, we decided to have a whole month devoted to blending cheese and chocolate together, and people loved it. It’s become one of our most exciting and anticipated flavor launches.
culture: How many of these cheese truffles do you make?
KAD: There are eight in total. We make one per week in August, and each of them is only available for one week. Then we have three additional flavors available all month long.
c: What cheeses do you use in your truffles?
KAD: I was looking for cheeses that were interesting enough to stand out, but not so funky that they would overwhelm the chocolate. We focus on Midwestern cheeses, too.
c: Which Midwestern cheeses do you focus on and why?
c: How does cheese enhance the chocolate in both flavor and texture?
KAD: I love the texture contrast of fresh chèvre or Feta. With cheese like Brie we melt it into the ganache, whereas with parmesan we grate it in—and sometimes even top with a homemade parmesan crisp, too!
c: Do you have any favorite cheese truffles?
KAD: I love the apricot Feta balsamic. The roasted apricots are sweet enough to play well with the saltiness of Feta, and the tangy balsamic brings it all together. We finish it all with a bittersweet chocolate shell, which is the perfect foil for all of those flavors.
c: How did you come up with these ideas?
KAD: Eating lots of cheese, of course! I love getting cheese plates in restaurants, and I enjoy experimenting and trying new combinations. A lot of these were a result of trial and error, too.
c: I know I’m making our non-Chicagoans hungry, so I have to ask: Can you buy them online?
KAD: Absolutely! The apricot Feta, cherry ricotta, and parmesan olive oil will all be available online for the month of August.
Chocolate, Cheese, and Beer Event
Do you live in the Chicago-land area? Katherine Anne is hosting a Chocolate, Cheese, and Beer event on Saturday, August 11 to celebrate cheese month. There will be all-you-can-eat truffles, live jazz, free beer, and an epic cheese board from Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine. Click here for tickets.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.