Goopy sweets come and go (our teeth are still aching from five years' worth of cupcakes), but a sophisticated dessert gives your party a truly glossy finish. We say start with a classically upscale cheese course - then take it in a whole new direction. Chris Quinn, owner of The Beer Temple, and Lydia Burns, senior manager of procurement at Pastoral Artisan Bread, Cheese and Wine, put their expert heads together and came up with something totally new:
For dessert, the two experts combined their palates to pair Prairie Artisan Ales' Bomb, a big imperial stout aged on coffee, vanilla beans and ancho chile, with chiriboga blue cheese, a soft, Bavarian-style cheese. A scoop of cheese - it's so soft, it can be handled like softened ice cream - is treated like an affogato (espresso over ice cream), with the beer poured right on top of the cheese and served up in a perfectly portioned espresso cup. Don't worry about the potential curdles - "It may look strange, but it tastes delicious," says Burns.
"It's like an out-of-control root beer float," says Quinn. "The blue cheese and chile notes go so well together."
"It's a knockout beer-and-cheese pairing in disguise," says Burns. "Why not?"