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Turn Up the Heat

January 5, 2023

Turn Up the Heat
We’re feeling hot, hot, hot! Our Wisconsin cheesemakers continue to light the foodie world on fire with their signature spicy flavors. It’s a fiery combo when innovative cheesemaking and the best cheeses in the world come together, igniting sultry bites in artisan cheeses like Kindred Creamery Ghost Pepper Colby Jack, Henning’s Dragon’s Breath Cheddar, Carr Valley Cheese® Glacier Wildfire Blue™ and more. Whether you prefer a slow burn that timid palates yearn for or the spicy devils that heat seekers burn for, here’s how to enjoy, share and serve these cheeses that will set your taste buds ablaze.

6 Tips for Savoring the Spice

  1. The Scoville scale is a guide used to rate the spicy heat of chili peppers. The more capsaicin—the chemical compound responsible for a chili pepper’s burning sensation—a pepper has, the higher it ranks on the scale. Mild poblano peppers, for example, have 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), while habaneros are 150,000 to 575,000 SHU. Use the Scoville scale to gauge how hot the peppers are in your cheeses.
  2. Less is more when serving and cooking with spicy cheeses. Cut cheeses into small slices for serving on a cheese board. Consider making bite-size appetizers, which allow the spiciness of the cheeses to build with each portion. Gradually add spicy cheeses to recipes and taste test in between additions.
  3. Combine shredded hot and mild cheeses for a rich blend to stir into soups, melt in quesadillas, or on top of burgers and flatbreads.
  4. Crank up the heat in warm dips with spicy cheeses. Or mix them with “cooling” sour cream or milk in cold dips, as these dairy products help neutralize the capsaicin in chili peppers.
  5. Sprinkle fiery cheeses on top of salads and chilis to add creaminess and spicy heat.
  6. Still not sure? Ease into things by customizing pairings. Dot your favorite mild cheeses like gouda and blue with hot pepper jams and jellies, such as peach habanero or raspberry chipotle.

Try these tips and more in the following recipes.

spicy taco bites with cool yogurt sauce

Make it: Hot Taco Bites with Cool Yogurt Dip

spicy potato sausage soup

Make it: Spicy Potato-Sausage Soup

spicy cheese pairings

How to Pair Fiery Cheeses

Start With Artisan Cheese
Try the 2019 L.A. International Dairy Competition gold medal winner, The Rattlesnake by Deer Creek Cheese. This medium-aged cheddar is infused with premium gold tequila and habanero peppers. It’s expertly crafted with spicy, sweet, tropical and HOT flavors!

Cleanse Your Palate
When enjoying spicy cheeses, always have crackers on standby; they offer texture and relief after a nibble of hot cheese.

Fan the Flames With a Cool Libation
Amplify the warmth and sweetness of the tequila in The Rattlesnake with an ice-cold margarita. Or sip on a refreshing nonalcoholic frozen version, Mexican-style beer or sangria.

Experiment with Contrasting Flavors
Cool things down with mild accompaniments. Creamy avocado and Greek yogurt contrast the spicy heat in The Rattlesnake.

Create Refreshing Combos
Enhance the tropical notes in The Rattlesnake with fresh cilantro and sweet pineapple, offering a unique sensory experience.

Balance Heat With Sweetness
Spicy cheeses’ fierce disposition meets its match when drizzled with honey or topped with sweet preserves.


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