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Queso de año

A sublime cheese aged for a period of at least six months, this Venezuelan recipe is full of sharply defined fruit flavor and salty tang combined.  Its edible brownish rind made from ground Venezuelan coffee and spices helps preserve the unmistakable flavor and aroma of this savory sweet.  At its center, the paste, bright white with a grainy, flaky and brittle texture, hardens as the cheese matures offering the final product a special taste and character.  Dried to crunchy perfection: nutty, spicy, and salty with a distinct coffee finish, this cheese is used as a condiment to sprinkle over pasta, soups and many other dishes, and makes a very good dessert cheese if served in chunks with figs, pears or strawberries.  Break it into small pieces to eat as an appetizer.  Thin shavings add interest to salads, carpaccio and cured meats.  It is a perfect mate for a Chianti Classico, Lambrusco and Cabernet Sauvignon.