Cranberry Cheese Ball has a simple name, but not simple flavors. Dried cranberries, rosemary, Menorca Spanish cheese, and cream cheese all come together for a delicious cheese ball rolled in roasted pecans and dried cranberries. It’s the perfect appetizer for the holidays. I received cheese from Mahón-Menorca Cheese to use in this post, however, all opinions are mine.
Can you believe it’s November already? I can’t. Seriously. Where did the year go? I’m just glad it’s no longer swelteringly hot any more. And I’m glad that it’s #CranberryWeek.
Did y’all know it’s #CranberryWeek? It’s that time of year when we get to celebrate all things cranberry. Because, I truly believe it is one of the most underappreciated fruits on the market. I mean, it gets juice and that horrid sauce or jelly in the can. Maybe, if you’re lucky, someone will make fresh cranberry sauce for the holidays, but I doubt it.
I think this is the third year we’ve done #CranberryWeek? Don’t quote me on that one unless I check. Which I might do later. I’ve been having a great time thinking of creative ways to highlight these red berries. Outside of your typical sauce, bread, or muffin.
Last year I made a delicious cranberry margaritas. It was inspired by the first and only time Mom tried to make them for Thanksgiving one year. They were – how to put it – crunchy? And I don’t mean from the salt on the rim, either. Of course, the idea of those margaritas were swimming in my head all that time and finally made them so you didn’t have to chew them.
I also made some delicious cranberry orange sweet rolls. Oh yeah, baby! They were as good as they look in the picture. Since it was just the two of us, I had quite a few left over. So, they eventually turned into the cranberry orange bread pudding. I don’t know why cranberries and oranges go well together. They just do. One recipe I tried to make this year had cranberries simmered in orange juice. It was a total fail and you’ll have to wait until next year to see it.
This year, I’ve had to cut back a bit. I’m only doing two posts unless I can get to the store and purchase everything I need for that third recipe. My focus has to be on real life for a good chunk of time lately. I’m sure those of you who are regular readers of my blog know the whole story. Those that aren’t should take some time to read past posts to find out what’s going on.
Anyway, this post is about cranberries!
Cranberries are native to North America and farmed in over 40K acres in the US and Canada. That’s a lot of acres. At least it is in my head. They grow in bogs under very specific conditions. I mean, the peat soil acidity must be right and there must be plenty of water at hand.
Bogs are holes created by natural deposits from glaciers that were in the area more than 10K years ago. These deposits were left in impermeable holes called kettle holes that were lined with clay. These holes were lined with clay and then filled with water and other organic matter that became the idea place for cranberries to grow.
Cranberries are an integral part of North American history!
The first reference of them was in 1550 by James White Northwood. Okay, that might not seem that long ago for those NOT in North America or historians, but that’s a long time ago to me! So there!
Cranberries have been used in pemmican and as a dye, they’ve been made into juice for centuries, and the first reference for a cranberry sauce was in 1663 in a Pilgrim cookbook. Doomed for centuries until the Cosmopolitan was invented, this poor berry just doesn’t get the recognition its other berry counterparts do.
Which sucks because they’re packed with healthy stuff! They’re high in Vitamins C, K, and A along with proanthocyanidins. I know, you’re like, “WTH is that?” It’s an antioxidant that may help prevent a bunch of diseases. Of course, we all know they’re good for urinary tract infections, but did YOU know that Native Americans have been using cranberries to treat bladder and kidney diseases? That’s the ACTUAL juice, not the juice cocktail or made from concentrate juices.
Some of this might be news to you as cranberries were only added as a super food in 2015.
There’s just not a whole lot we know about them! But, we do know they have a TON of vitamin C, which is essential this time of year. One 8 ounce glass contains 137% – no not 13 ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN PERCENT – your RDA of vitamin C. No disrespect to OJ, but that’s impressive.
Of course, which such a power packed and flavorful berry, I had to add in some cheese that could stand up to those bold flavors. I chose delicious Mahón-Menorca Cheese from Menorca Spain. I used the cured cheese for its complex flavors knowing full good and well it would stand up to the cranberries and rosemary in this cranberry cheese ball.
For those that don’t know, Mahón-Menorca Cheese is made on the island of Menorca. This island is a protected biosphere and so is its cheese! The Menorca family have been raising their cows on this island for centuries. Everything is harvested and matured on the island. That’s just crazy!
It’s a deliciously versatile cheese. It tops rice, pasta, and vegetable dishes. It would fit right in with the best cheese on your charcuterie board even standing up to a Manchego or Asiago! All of their cheese have a buttery flavor, but the more it ages the more noticeable the nutty flavor gets. For me, the cured hard cheese aged more than 5 months has a hint of a blue cheese or Gorgonzola flavor to it which I love.
And I couldn’t help but keep tasting this cranberry cheese ball. I mean, I wanted it to have the best flavor possible, so I needed to keep tasting it for quality control purposes. Right?
You believe me don’t you?
Just look at that flavor packed cheese! Those flecks of dried cranberries and fresh rosemary throughout bring out the flavor of the Mahón-Menorca cheese. The cream cheese just makes it creamy delicious! So, you get buttery and nutty with a hint of blue cheese, the cranberries, the rosemary, and then the toasted pecans that you roll this all in. It’s one cheese ball packed with flavor!
I couldn’t wait to dig in. However, I will have to redo the photo shoot since the time change has me all messed up. At least there wasn’t huge shadows like they’re usually is. I really should learn how to use my studio lights better. One would think…being the photo major. LOL
I hope you take a peek at Mahón-Menorca Cheese. They’re really good! I think Wegman’s has some, but don’t quote me on that one. Either way, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for inspiration and ideas when you finally get your hands on some. It’s worth a search to see if you can find some.
I’m excited to be sharing this recipe as part of Cranberry Week – now in it’s third year! See all the tasty cranberry recipes shared today below and follow #cranberryweek on social media for more ideas all week long.
Monday #CranberryWeek Recipes
- Bourbon Cranberry Sauce from Cookaholic Wife
- Cranberry Apple Pie from The Redhead Baker
- Cranberry Almond Shortbread Tart from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Cranberry Cheese Ball from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Cranberry Chipotle Glazed Baked Salmon from Palatable Pastime
- Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread from Our Good Life
- Cranberry Ice Cream from Kate’s Recipe Box
- Cranberry Orange Bread from The Saucy Fig
- Cranberry-Orange Glazed Ham from Cooking For My Soul
- Cranberry Orange Scones from A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
- Fall Pizza with Sausage and Squash from Caroline’s Cooking
- Glazed Cranberry Almond Squares from Family Around the Kitchen
- Hot Spiced Cranberry Orange Cocktail from The Gingered Whisk
- Lamb Lollipops with Cranberry-Apple Mostarda from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Maple Honey Cranberry Sauce from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Quinoa with Turkey, Brussels Sprouts & Cranberries from Books n’ Cooks
- Real Cranberry Gummy Bears from Daily Dish Recipes