Friday, February 10, 2006

Gouda is gooooood

Three of us teachers did a shopping run last weekend to Vancouver Island to break up the February blahs and get some slightly more exotic food than is available to us in Waglisla winters. I think Beloved Friend and Kindy Teacher Pal may have wondered at the wisdom of a shopping trip when our ferry trip home was wracked with stomach-flipping deep sea bends for a couple of hours travel through pure open-Pacific power (driven on by wild windy winter weather). They both looked very green around the gills while I, knocked out by Gravol, dozed through the worst of it and dared not get up when I felt the ferry sway with heart-pounding angles.

But oh... this trip was worth it for some of the lovely goodies purchased. One such delectable was smoked gouda which I have since used on a yummy comfort dish known as "Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas". An elegant twist on a basic concept: bacon onion cheese and bread. If you are looking for the recipe, you'll find it here at
I used half the amount of sugar for the onions as they asked and it still was rather sweet. I suppose, honestly, you could leave sugar out and it would still taste good as fried onions.

The pictures don't really make them look very elegant. This time. But I know I'll be making this again. Sans sugar.

Another lovely find, this time on the ferry itself was Denman Island Chocolate.

We'd originally tasted a sample on Vancouver Island: Two ginger chocolate buddhas and one dark chocolate buddha (Chinese New Year theme, perhaps?). I had to have some again but I didn't expect to see them so soon onboard the ferry. So I took two samples: another Gingerama and a new one, Zesty Orange. Oooh yummy! As you can see from the picture they are not only a lovely dark chocolate (Belgian btw) but they are also ORGANIC!
The ginger is really nice. The intesity of the bittersweet chocolate has just a hint of candied ginger taste to tease you. The nice thing about this chocolate is that it doesn't leave a weird aftertaste in your mouth like cheaper bittersweets can. What you taste is the bitter chocolate on your tongue for about five minutes. It melts nicely in the mouth with a bit of friction but I don't think I ever let it melt completly before diving in the with my teeth. Zesty orange was a bit more disappointing. The orange essence it promised was ghostly at best, sometimes non-existant. But still, the chocolate itself was so good that I won't hold that against the company. I just won't get that kind again.


Kalyn said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your support on the cheese sandwich day.

And I just KNEW you had to be a teacher. I recognized the slogan (which we have modified to say "Those who can, teach. Those who cannot, pass ridiculous laws about teaching."

Ruth said...

you've found my favorite chocolate treats - dark chocolate and ginger - nothing better.

Thanks for sharing your lovely trip.

Nerissa said...

Hi Kalyn,

No problem! Glad to help!

;) of course I'm a teacher. We get flung "that" phrase at us so much it's nice to fling it back to our own advantage.

Thanks for popping in :)

Hey Ruth,

Ahhh... yes. Ginger and chocolate are all wonderful on their own. Who could resist putting them together? Move over PB and Chocolate. A more sophisticated chocolate has taken your place ;)

michelle said...

mmm...chocolate. Perfect for valentine's day (happy day to you two up there!)! I really love the thought of that sandwhich, and I absolutely love smoked gouda, which reminds me that I must get some next time I'm able to go to the grocery store. Glad you were able to get out and shop! And that you didn't get the sickness!

Nerissa said...

:) to michelle! I'm glad I didn't get sick too! Shopping was fun but I was exausted by the end of the day. Thanks for the happy V day greets. The same to you :)

sailu said...

Happy Belated Valentine Day's,Nerissa.You sure are teasing me with those chocolates..:)

darlamay said...

Gouda is good! I've put it in mashed potatoes. . . yum!

Melissa CookingDiva said...

I LOVE gouda!!! & those chocolates look delicious. It is amazing the heavy work involved in developing the perfect chocolate. From growing the cocoa tree, harvesting the cocoa pods and then processing the final product. There is a lot of work. During the latest IACP conference held in Panama last month, I learned that one of the secrets of creating a fantastic chocolate is the harvesting of the cocoa pods: they have to be ripe when they pick them up.

Nerissa said...

Thanks Sailu for your wishes :) Ah... I am just sorry I didn't take them all to taste test and show off ;)

Hmm... Darla, that sounds great! That may be just the way to use up the last remnants. It's a good addition (along with prosciutto and peas) to a traditional macaroni and cheese dish :D

Hey there and hugs, Melissa :) I've always read and heard about the work that goes into chocolate. Maybe chocolate lovers should take a stab at doing the work themselves so they can appreciate the sweet treat even more. Nothing makes you appreciate things more than doing it yourself from start to finish.

Cyndi said...

Like Kaylin, I'm a teacher, too. I love this idea for the smoked cheese--I just bought a big slice of smoked gouda to use grated in some hamburger meat (an idea from another blog, I think), and now I have a great use for the remainder.