Friday, May 6, 2011

Say Cheese!!

By Kate

I'm excited to welcome back to the Lair my friend Avery Aames! Not only does Avery have a new Cheese Shop Mystery out (LOST AND FONDUE -- don't you just love her titles?), but she just won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First Book for THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE!! Please join me in welcoming Avery!

Sexy is as Sexy does

Do you think cheese is sexy? I do. It has sensual textures, aromatic scents, and luscious flavors. Ooh, la, la! It tastes good with beer, wine, champagne. You can pair cheese with fruit, jam, honey, nuts and chocolate. Ah, chocolate. But that’s another subject to be discussed at a later time…or maybe in just a moment. Cheese tastes great alone, but it also tastes fabulous in entrees, side dishes, salads, grated on pasta, on rice, on potatoes, on soup.

What doesn’t cheese taste good on…with…beside? Some might say ice cream, but I would beg to differ. I made a delicious Parmesan ice cream that was salty and fun. I added chocolate, and the dessert was sassy, and yes, sexy bordering on decadent.

Did I say yet that I love sexy? And sensual? Delicious words, don’t you think?

But back to cheese. Other than those who can’t eat cheese for allergy reasons, do you know anyone who doesn’t like cheese? Do you know anyone who doesn’t make a beeline to the cheese platter at a party?

So why do I rave about cheese? Because I write A Cheese Shop Mystery series (the first, THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE is a national bestseller and an Agatha award nominee, I’m happy to say). While doing research, I’ve fallen in lust with cheese. That’s right, lust. I’ve tasted, I’ve baked, I’ve shared. With family, with friends, with strangers. I’m caught in its clutches and I can’t get away. (Please don’t tell more than five of your friends.)

Did you ever see the movie Like Water For Chocolate? Talk about sensual! The movie is based on the debut novel by Laura Esquivel. Each chapter begins with a recipe. The story follows a young girl, Tita, who longs to marry Pedro, but she cannot because her mother’s family tradition says the youngest daughter may not marry until the day her mother dies. Tita, in the only way she can, expresses herself when she cooks. In quite erotic detail. In one scene, after a rich meal of quail in rose petal sauce (flavored with Tita’s sensual thoughts), Tita’s older sister becomes lustful and flees to make love with a revolutionary soldier. Need I say more? Sadly, the heat of Tita’s passion for Pedro ultimately consumes them.

I’m hoping this will not happen to me during my love affair with cheese. (I pray I have more self-control than that. No running away with a Roquefort. Time will tell.)

However, to honor this blossoming relationship, I’d like to share a cheese platter that I created at Valentine’s Day. I’ve named it: Like Cheddar for Chocolate. (Okay, so it’s not that unique a title, but it says what it is.) The question is, where did I come up with the combination. I knew I could use chocolate in cheesecake and in cookies, but I didn’t know that chocolate on its own would taste great paired with a bite of cheese. So I wanted to test my theory. Talk about sensual. The result was dessert and appetizer rolled into one.

I’m giving away three signed books today to commenters: your choice of either THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE or LOST AND FONDUE. So answer me this. Do you prefer dessert to appetizers? Do you like to dine in or out? What is the most sensual meal you can remember…ever? And if you’d like to share, with whom did you dine? I won’t tell more than five of my friends. LOL

Say cheese!

Thanks for visiting today, Avery! Banditas, if you'd like Avery's delectable recipe for Parmesan ice cream, click here!

Avery Aames is the Agatha Award winning author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series. The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a national bestseller. Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog for foodies who love mysteries, and some of her characters show up on the Killer Characters blog.


Landra said...

Woot! Yeehaw, TGIF.

Landra said...

Welcome back Avery! Congrats on the Agatha Award.

For the record, you had me at Cheese! I love food, so much that my job involves working with food all day long.

Cheese and I have been having a long affair. One that has not only devoured me, but my family as well. The idea that you have a Mystery series with romance all based around a cheese shop is amazing.

I prefer both (appetizers and desserts) I like combining them so that they essentially become the meal; little morsels of tender, savory, sensual goodness!

My most sensual food experience involved fried calamari, a swordfish steak with a tomato/basil sauce, spinach leaves, and gorgozola cheese, and the most delectable slice of Key Lime cheesecake on a graham and pecan crust. Heaven in my mouth, and my husband was along for the ride.

AKA Slush has reverted to Landra!

Amaris said...

I have to say im not sure about cheese icecream. Will have to think on that one. My love is for cheese platters, a good cambert anyday. If there is a cheese platter at a party i make a bee line for it, i even pass on the cupcakes in favour of the cheese. Perhaps because good cheese is quite expencive that we dont buy it except for special occasions. My nost passionate food is toblorone mouse! melted toblorone mixed through whipped creama nd left to set. So devine with the little traces of caramel chewies though it from the chocolate bar. Its to die for with strawberrys dipped in, we had it for valentines day this year.

Kim in Hawaii said...

After living in the Benelux area, my answer is - dessert! Why waste time and calories on anything but dessert?

Then again, there is nothing like European basics - farm fresh cheese, out of the oven bread, and wine!

jennifertanner said...

Hi Avery & Kate!

Avery, congratulations on the Agatha award!

I love to make desserts and appetizers, but if given a choice, I prefer appetizers. My husband is in the food packaging biz so he feels we need to eat out as often as we can to support the restaurant industry. No complaints there! We're both adventurous eaters.

Most sensual meal...probably a toss up between Chez Panisse and Commis. At CP, they keep the food simple while emphasizing the flavors. And I love that they let you walk around in the kitchen while they cook. (And they're across the street from the Cheese Board!) At Commis, the food was experimental with unusual pairings...i.e. coddled eggs in a savory lemon custard, abalone with abalone liver reduction and three kinds of seaweed. :) The walls at Commis are painted a soft white. No pictures, just soft music. There's no sign outside either. The food is the focus. I loved it!


Anna Campbell said...

Avery, welcome back. And wow, congratulations on that amazing award! You go, girl! Love the titles, by the way. Actually I've just had a wonderful weekend with Denise Rossetti and our own Madame and cheese featured prominently. Anyone who follows me on Facebook has seen the proof! I'm with you - cheese is the food of the gods! 50 million mice can't be wrong!

Hey, Landra, congratulations on the Rooster! Have you had him before? If not, watch out, he's VERRRRRRRY sneaky.

Jo's Daughter said...

Desserts are my one weakness....
Anything sweet preferable with chocolate equals heaven to me.

Helen said...

Well done Landra have fun with him

Welcome Back Avery and Hi Kate

Huge congrats on the award Avery and I love cheese as well although I am not sure about cheese ice cream LOL but I would try it.
As for desert or appetizers a tie for me love them both equally LOL. I love to dine out (so there are no dishes to do) but don't very often, as for the most sensual meal I have ever had this I am going to have to think on LOL.

Congrats on the new release

Have Fun

Cath said...

Dessert, dessert and more dessert!!!

My waistline reflects my love of dessert...oh well!

I love citrus so some of my faves are Lemon Meringue and Citrus Curd Tart....oh and Tiramisu, and Cheesecake, and Brandy snaps, and Chocolate Brownies, and Bakewell Tart..........sorry what was the question?? LOL, hubby fed me dessert in front of a roaring fire once, lets just say the dessert after dessert was phenomenal!!!!!!!!!!!!
Congrats on the award :)

Avery Aames said...

Landra, what a fabulous sounding meal. And your husband was in on the action to boot. How fun is that!!!! Great memory. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for the woot! :)


Avery Aames said...

Amaris, that concoction sounds delicious! I'll have to give it a try. As for the ice cream, trust me, it's truly luscious. It's the combination of salt and sweet that works. Don't you love French fries dipped into your milkshake? Same idea. :)



Avery Aames said...

Kim, European brought me back to my hitchhiking experience during college. I was lucky enough to spend a semester in Europe and a bunch of students went around the countryside, stopping farm to farm, and tasting the wares. The wine, bread, and cheese combination couldn't be beat. OTOH, I do adore dessert. I'm with you on that, too. Such choices!


Avery Aames said...

Jennifer, what an unusual meal. You are adventurous. I remember another college trip where I was walking through a fish market and swore, vowed, made a pact for life that I would not, never, no-how eat squid. Ick. Fast forward to that night, in a Greek restaurant and they were serving Calamari. Sounded intriguing, right? Dipped in batter, fried crisp. Divine. And then the waiter translated the fish...squid. I was so shocked! And knew at that moment that I needed to be more adventurous (but perhaps with my eyes closed). LOL


Avery Aames said...

Anna, thanks for the welcome back. I love the comments I see on RB. You guys are amazing. Glad you like my titles. The next (in January) is Clobbered by Camembert. And the one after that (my personal favorite title) is To Brie or Not To Brie. (Ah, yes, the life of the punner.) :)


gamistress66 said...

I love cheese but I admit dessert often wins as I've a definate sweet tooth. While dessert is the perfect end to dinner, cheese helps make dinner great (just about everything is better with cheese added) :)

congrats on the new release and the award, that's fabulous!

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome back Avery! Woohoo on your Agatha - very cool!

I'm another dairy kid - I LOVE cheese (except that nasty blue stuff *g*). Cheese shops are lethal ;), not that way, but I always come out with way more than I'd planned to buy.

We were laughing about cheese only yesterday as my FIL has to eat a piece of cheese with fruit cake (a Yorkshire thing). Ick.

I loved the movie Chocolat and can imagine you doing something similar with cheese (if Tawny will let you borrow Johnny Depp).

The most sensual meals I've had were at Gordon Ramsey's London in NY, Mario Batali's Babbo (his pea love letters are to die for) and Morimoto NY. What those guys can do with flavour and texture is sublime! I'm already booking places to go for dinner over Nationals!

Always with lovely hubby ... who makes dining in such a pleasure too ;)

Avery Aames said...

Jo, Helen, and Cath, it seems the vote is definitely heavier on the dessert side, doesn't it? I love dessert, too. When my husband and I were first married, he caught me one morning with a tub of ice cream and a spoon. I really like a "bite" of ice cream in the morning. It sort of settles my stomach. That icy feeling. Nothing like it. So before I'd exercise, I'd grab a spoon and get my bite. He caught me. I grinned and said (boldly), "What? It's medicine." It's been our joke ever since.


Avery Aames said...

Gami - a gal after my own heart. Cheese does make so many things taste better, doesn't it?


Avery Aames said...

Anna - doing a movie like Chocolat would be heaven to me. I'm actually working on a screenplay (in my down time...which is practically never) (a magical mystical romance) that makes me feel good whenever I think about it. Johnny Depp as the lead? Oh, yeah. Or how about Josh Holloway from the TV show Lost?

BTW, how sweet that hubbies are making the page today.


Kate Carlisle said...

Good morning, everyone! I was planning to sneak into the Lair and explain that Avery might be a little late this morning because we just got home from two fabulous days of book signings in Phoenix--but she's up bright and early and commenting already! I should've known. Must be all that cheese she samples that keeps her bright-eyed and charming all day long. :-)

Congrats on snagging the Rooster, Landra! You'll probably have to feed him and I happen to know he loves a tart and tangy goat cheese with his morning coffee. Hehehe!

Kate Carlisle said...

OMG, my mouth is watering from reading all the comments!

Amaris, the Toblerone mixed with whipped cream sounds decadent!!

Jen, I love Chez Panisse but I've never been to Commis! I've got to put that on the list for my next visit to SF/Berkeley.

Anna, I'm so jealous of your weekend with Madame, Denise--and cheese! *g*

And Cath, I think I just gained five pounds reading all your desserts! LOL

I usually prefer savory goodies to sweet, so I guess appetizers would be my preference. But now I'm hedging. Can't I have both??? :-)

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome back to the lair, Avery! Congrats on your latest release :-)

Don't you love French fries dipped into your milkshake?

LOL! I did this back when I was younger - and had the metabolism to indulge in fries AND a shake at the same time ;-)

I love dessert but I prefer appetizers and I love cheese. I've started making my own ricotta cheese and would love to try to make homemade mozzarella *g*

Virginia said...

Desert would have to be my answer. I have a bad sweet tooth and I have just got to stop it. The pound are coming on way to fast now. Although I do love me some cheese too, but I go through sprees with cheese, not sure why.

catslady said...

I love appetizers. I love dining out but cook most of the time. My husband and I use to have little picnics at home with such things as french bread, escargot, cheeses, fruit and wine. It's been a long time but maybe it's something we should start doing again lol.

Louisa Cornell said...

Look out Landra! He is ALL yours! Be afraid. Be very afraid. Hide the chocolate, the alcohol and for good measure the cheese as well!

Avery, huge congrats on the Agatha Award! That is one prestigious piece of hardware!

And you are definitely my kind of gal. CHEESE !!! How do I love thee let me count the ways.

Because I spent so much time in Europe I have very diverse tastes in cheese. Some of the best cheese I have ever tasted was the cheese produced in the little dairy village where I lived in Germany. Thick, heavy, rich - a white cheese to die for!

I love appetizers AND desserts. Appetizers with cheese are sure to win my heart. My Mom makes these little English cheese tarts that have been known to cause riots at family gatherings. I like my desserts sinfully sweet and heavy on the chocolate.

I don't eat out much at all these days. Wish I did. However, there is a fabulous Italian restaurant a few miles away that serves the most amazing Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo I have ever put in my mouth and I have had that particular dish all over the world, including in Italy. Sublime!

keizerfire said...

Loved the first book and can't wait to read this one!

IandSsmom said...

This is hard because I love cheese and I love appetizers but I have a huge sweet tooth so I love me dessert too!!! I like to dine in if I'm kidless but with my kids it is easier at home! I've never had a sensual dinner that I can recall!! Add that to my to-do list!!! :)
I would love THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE because I think that is just the greatest title!!!

Janga said...

To Brie or Not to Brie! I love that! LOL

I'm a dessert gal all the way. Most sensual eating experience? Probably a tossup between the sublime and the simple. The sublime: sharing a slice of chocolate rasberry cheesecake with a former love at the end of a candlelit dinner (and by sharing I mean feeding each other bites). The simple: eating two scoops of pecan praline ice cream in a sugar cone on a hot afternoon with the sidewalk burning beneath my feet and the August sun bright on my face and the mix of vanilla, pecans, and crusty brown sugar rich on my tongue. Ahh!

petite said...

Lovely post and so enticing. Appetizers such as bruschetta are a favorite of mine and a chocolate mousse dessert. Congratulations and best wishes on the award.

traveler said...

Welcome Avery and congratualtions on the Agatha Award. Your post had me deeply involved. Desserts such as lemon cream pie, lemon squares and apple cake have a placein my heart.

Linda said...

Cheese and chocolate, my 2 favorites!

Lorraine said...

I prefer an appetizer like fried zucchini or corn fritters. Love dining out. I don't remember ever having a sensual food experience. Sad!

Susan Sey said...

Hello, Avery! Oh, I love cheese. Can I just say that? I love cheese.

There's a restaurant up here in the Twin Cities, in a sleepy little suburb that has an artisanal cheese plate on the dessert menu. My husband & I go up there sometimes just for a glass of wine & the cheese plate. So while nothing will ever replace ice cream on my list of favorite foods, a good cheese is not far behind.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, adore TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE. Perhaps you could do a sequel called THAT IS THE PHEASANT!

Brandimhoenig said...

Okay, I have to say the Parmesan ice cream is unlike anything I've ever seen I want to try it!

Avery Aames said...

Wow, I go to the grocery store and look how many people commented! That'll teach me.

Kate, Beth, Virginia, Louoise, Keizer, LandSSmom, Janga, Petite, Traveler, Linda, Lorraine, Susan, Anna and Brandi - Hello and thanks for stopping by.

Kate - yup, I was up early. Have a deadline to hit! LOL

Virginia - it's hard to say no, isn't it? :)

Louise - want the recipe for those little English tarts that cause riots. Would you share?

LandSsmom and Lorraine - yes, you must figure out how to get at least one sensual meal into your life. I swear, fondue is one of the best. I'm going to be blogging about a chocolate and cheese fondue in a few days on Dying for Chocolate. Hope you'll check it out.

Janga, I could taste the ice cream on your walk.

Traveler - I love lemon-almost-anything. So did my mother!

Hugs to all and happy reading (and indulging).


runner10 said...

Desserts. I love chocolate.
I had a wonderful anniversary dinner at Morton's Steakhouse.

Jane said...

Desserts. Eat them first, then if there's room left eat the rest of the meal!!

Dining in for the most part, but out for variety. Most sensual meal is in my future.

Congratulations on the Agatha Award. Can't wait to read the new book! Love cheese, wine, Chocolate, ant The Long Quiche Goodbye.

Pissenlit said...

For some reason, my brain's on the fritz at the thought of parmesan ice cream though I know it shouldn't be as I love cheesecake flavoured ice creams. However, I'm totally drooling at the rest. :D

Appetizers vs. dessert? Yes to both! As for dining in vs. dining out, I like a good balance of both. The most sensual meal I can recall is the time I went to a fondue restaurant called Fonduementale on a trip to Montréal. The restaurant was very cozy and romantic with very dim lighting and lots of candles(unfortunately, I was only there with friends...heh) and we had a drool-worthy meal comprised of a cheese fondue followed by a meat fondue and then a chocolate fondue. And our waiter was really really hot! :D

desere_steenberg said...

I am desserts girl ! Chocolate mousse and Italian Kisses yummy!

Congrats on your release it sounds wonderful !


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Avery! Popping out of the cave and into the Lair to say Hello and *wave madly* and say WELCOME BACK, Avery!

Love your books. And Cheese. And virtually any dairy product.


jo robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Carlisle said...

Okay, Louisa, hand over the English cheese tart recipe and nobody gets hurt! Oh, they sound fantastic. And I know I'm going to embarrass myself but I confess I'm literally drooling over the description of that Chicken Fettucine Alfredo dish.

Beth, how cool that you've actually started making cheese. You must share your process with the Banditas one of these days. :-)

Anna, I'm making reservations at some of my most fave fabulous restaurants in NYC, too. We must compare notes!

Kate Carlisle said...

Ms. Campbell and Janga, aren't Avery's titles the best? I love To Brie or Not To Brie!

Hey! I think we should have a contest to come up with the best title for a new cheese shop mystery. Winner gets one of those cheesehead hats! Huh? Not enough incentive? Hmph! Okay, I'll keep working on this. ;-)

Michele L. said...

Ok I do love desserts but appetizers are my favorites, hands down! Oh hey, looking for a title for another cheese book, this just popped into my head, "Clubbed by Cheddar". I guess I was thinking of Club cheese crackers. Ha,ha!

Anyhoo, your new book looks great! I am also a cheese lover fan! I buy lots of gourmet cheese for my hubby and I. I have some good stores nearby where it is pretty reasonably priced.

As for most sensual food experience is when my hubby and I went to a fondue restaurant and ate a delicious meal! We had a to-die-for chocolate desset at the end with strawberries, marshmallows, pineapple, cake and dessert cheeses. Awesome! Amazing!

Happy Friday to you!

Avery Aames said...

Hi, again. What a great and responsive group!

Runner10, Pissenli, Deseret, Jeanne, and Michele, love the comments, the Congrats.

Jeanne, your title is close to book #3 title: Clobbered by Camembert. (Great Minds...)

Kate, I was thinking about having a title contest. A cheese head was not my prize idea. What is a good prize? A copy of the next book? A set of Cheese Shop Mysteries? A bookstore certificate since we're all readers? Ideas welcome.

And to all who love fondue, I'm with you!!


Alison said...

I love both appetizers and desserts--who needs a main course when you have those two courses?!?!

I typically pair cheese with apples as well as chocolate. The type of cheese depends on the type of chocolate (dark, milk, white, or a combination).

I have also used cheese in my desserts--mascarpone as a filling in cupcakes or cream puffs, aged cheddar in my apple pies.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Avery! Welcome back to the Lair and congratulations on the Agatha Award. Hmm...Can we call it the Aggie?

I had the best appetizer while out to lunch with my CP the other day. Grilled steak bruchetta with thinslices of aged white cheddar, basil and balsalmic vinegar. YUMMO!

It was only out done by the delicious risotto and then the carrot cake for desert!

Nancy said...

Landra, congrats on the Golden Rooster!

Avery, welcome back, and congratulations on the Agatha!

The platter in the photo is gorgeous. I love cheese but would almost always choose dessert over appetizers. Though I did get to like the post-dessert cheese course during my summer in Oxford.

I particularly like white cheddar. :-)

MsHellion said...

I like fondue! *LOL* It's an appetizer AND a dessert. *LOL* Why choose when you can have both?

I prefer to dine in, so I can pop in a movie while I eat. :) But eating out with the right people is always welcomed, esp if they're picking up the tab. *cheeky grin*

Sensual? I like a lot of stuff. Usually a really great plate of linguine alfredo will do it for me, but I'm loving some of the things people have listed. (Calamari! YUM!)

Avery Aames said...

I'm laughing because nobody is trusting me on this Parmesan ice cream thing. Really, it's so good, I swooned!

~Avery LOL

Avery Aames said...

Hi, Alison, you're my kind of cook! Aged cheddar. Yum!! Have you tried Hook's cheddar? Delish.

Suzanne, my mouth watered at the description. It must be dinner time. Steak, bruschetta, white cheddar and basil? I'm making that this week and blogging about it. Promise! (I might have to use the gluten-free bruschetta. A little change-up is good, right?)

Nancy, what a cute (and naughty) comment. :) Post dessert, is that like post graduate?


cyn209 said...

congrats on your AgathaAward & good luck on Lost&Fondue, Avery!!!!! i can't wait to read it!!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!
i like BOTH dessert & appetizer, but i guess if i HAVE to choose, i prefer appetizer, as to me, it's like sampling, be it something familiar or new........
sensual food experience?? hmmmmm, i guess that would be chocolate!!! need i say more?? LOL!!!!

if i win the giveaway, i would LOVE Lost&Fondue, please!!!


jennifertanner said...


I'm thinking about your parm ice cream. Maybe it's a mind thing, we assume ice cream should be sweet. I had fennel ice cream shaped like French fries once and it was delicious!

Trying to think of cold things that are savory...aspic?

Avery Aames said...

Cyn and Jennifer, nice to meet you here.

Jennifer, fennel ice cream. Okay, that has me thinking...shaped like french fries? Fascinating.

If we could only think outside the box all the time...right? It's amazing how we get set in our ways over the years. Oh, to be a kid and dream...


LilMissMolly said...

Congratulations on the Agatha Award! I love a good mystery. Would love to read your books.