I admit I’ve purchased a port wine cheese ball many times over the years. I think they were a cheddar type of cheese and pink in color and I liked them fine until I discovered how much better they can be when made at home. Especially since I can use a cheese I think works much better than cheddar. When inspired by this weeks edition of The Food Network’s #FallFest to create a Holiday Appetizer, this Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Port Wine Pâté was at the top of my list and I love that it’s easy to make too. How did it taste? I had a teenager helping me in the kitchen and even she couldn’t put them down.
The inspiration for this appetizer came from the book ‘Neiman Marcus Taste,’ a gift from my daughter several years ago when she was working for Neiman’s as an assistant manager. I’m not sure it’s still in print but it’s a lovely book that I’m glad to have in my collection. I did find that you can get used copies online at Amazon for next to nothing; I would if I were you!
While the original recipe called for a Maytag Blue Cheese, I’m more of a Gorgonzola fan. I call it Blue Cheese Light as I don’t think it’s quite as pungent and since Gorgonzola is technically a blue cheese it works and that’s what I’ve used in this recipe. If you prefer a stronger blue cheese flavor by all means go for it!
The final product is a bit pinkish purple but I’m OK with that. To make it less purple I would have to use a tawny instead of a ruby port and quite frankly I like ruby port better. They’re younger with a fresh fruit aroma and meant to pair with blue cheese. The tawny ports have been aged longer and develop a nice amber color from that aging but are often also sweeter not to mention more expensive. I really enjoy Graham’s Six Grapes which I used in this appetizer but I’ve also served it for a chocolate wine tasting and it’s been great in both instances…so ruby it is for me!
One step of this recipe that I think critical is a final step that instructs to only mix the port wine into the rest of the ingredients for five seconds. I adhere to that religiously; it leaves some larger chunks of cheese in the mixture without turning the entire mixture purple and I love the taste as well as the pretty mottled look that results. My only revision? I like a bit of the toasted walnuts to be pressed into the top before serving too; you could say it’s not required but I’ve done it forever so yes, I guess now it is!
This is easy, pretty and delicious and can be made a day or two ahead. Perfect holiday appetizer wouldn’t you say? Check out the holiday appetizer list after the recipe for some more ideas too. Do you have a favorite appetizer? Would love to know what it is; leave a link if it’s handy and as always…Happy Holidays!
Welcome to this weeks edition of The Food Network’s #FallFest which features Holiday Appetizers.
- The Lemon Bowl: 5-Ingredient Pizza Skewers
- Feed Me Phoebe: Brussels Sprout Latkes with Anchovy Aioli
- Creative Culinary: Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Port Wine Pâté
- Napa Farmhouse 1885: Avocado Crostini with Oaxacan Sesame Sauce
- Red or Green: Chipotle Ranch Dip
- Healthy Eats: 5 Lighter Finger Foods for Your Holiday Soiree
- Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Baked Falafel and Hummus
- The Mom 100: Creamy Avocado Dip
- The Wimpy Vegetarian: Jalapeño Poppers Gougere
- Daily*Dishin: Peppadews Stuffed with Mozzarella Fresca
- Taste with the Eyes: You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Love Latkes
- FN Dish: 5 One-Bite Wonders You Need at Your Holiday Party