Smashing Flavors in Fresh Cheese

an array of fresh cheeses with added flavor

Central Coast chevre and fromage blanc make outstanding foundations for building layers of flavor into fresh cheese with sweet and savory additions. The Dairy Goddess makes a great Azores mix of roasted red pepper with parsley, Portuguese-style, to blend with her cow’s milk fromage blanc. Happy Acres Family Farm chevre mixes well with sun-dried tomatoes and dried herbs.

But, don’t let the cheesemakers have all the fun in dreaming up complementary flavors to mix into these fresh cheeses. One benefit in spending time with chefs is getting inspired with fresh ways of thinking about flavor. Chef Nanette Smalley of Chef Nanette’s Feast rose to the challenge of “what else could we mix into these cheeses?” and called upon her New York-trained palate for ideas.

Crisped saffron soaking in white wine

Black truffles, fresh pesto, and saffron took the foundational cheese and headed off in varied and disparate directions after mixing and “steeping” the spices. Fresh fig and a cumin-tumeric spice blend rounded out the options sweetly and spicely. See below for Chef Nanette’s flavored cheese recipes.


Chef Nanette Smalley

Dairy Goddess cheeses and milk are available in local cheese shops, on the shelves at Whole Foods, and at several Central Coast farmers markets.

Happy Acres Family Farm cheeses and other goats milk products can be purchased at their farm stand off Templeton Road and at local specialty markets and Central Coast farmers markets.


  • 1/2 cup chevre

  • 3/4 tsp. saffron heated to crisp

  • Soak saffron in 2 tsp of white wine

  • Let soak 10 min; add chevre

  • Use good grade saffron

Vivid color to match saffron's distinctive flavor


  • 2 cups basil, chopped in a food processor

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

  • 1/3 grated parmasagne

  • dash salt to taste

  • blend and and slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil

  • Mix 3/4 cups fromage blanc with 2 tablespoons pesto

Using fresh pesto ensures good flavor

Fresh Fig

  • 1/2 cup chevre

  • 2 figs mashed, skinned

  • 1 tsp. honey

Fresh fig with a touch of local honey

Black Truffle

  • 1/2 cup fromage blanc

  • 1 black truffle in Madeira wine and truffle juice, minced

  • 2 tsp truffle oil (we used white)

  • dash of truffle salt

Amazing aromatics with this truffle blend

Cumin and Tumeric Spice Blend

  • 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup of your favorite spice mixture

Experiment with spice combinations

Chef Nanette Smalley honed her skills in New York City for more than 30 years. Now living in the Central Coast, she owns Chef Nanette’s Feast providing simply delicious catering for the most special of food and wine events. Contact Chef Nanette at

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