GORGONZOLA DOLCE WITH A KIND-OF ‘MOSTARDA VICENTINA’
"ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS…
UNA MOSTARDA ‘FINTA’ PER FORMAGGI"
Mostarda is a traditional condiment of candied fruit pickled with vinegar and flavoured with mustard. At Christmas time in Northern Italy it's usually found served alongside bollito, a fairly strenuous dish made from boiling meat. Unlike most mostarde though, the Venetian sort, ‘Mostarda Vicentina,’ utilises quinces – mele cotogne in Italian – and for this reason, I thought it might go well with cheese instead of meat...
Nonetheless this recipe is still for a very ‘fake’ (i.e. heavily adapted) mostarda, a mostarda finta. I've cooked the fruit whole (not diced), and in (untraditional) Moscato wine & honey, and with not quite so much mustard! A loose update on the concept, I suppose, as opposed to a faithful rendition… but if you’ve ever seen a vat of the real stuff – sugary, scary, and psychedelically coloured – hopefully you’ll understand why!
(Makes 1 cheese board to serve 4)
- 1 medium-sized quince
- A small glass of Moscato or another sweet white wine
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ⅓ teaspoon of mustard seeds – finely ground
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 generous chunk of ripe Gorgonzola Dolce
- Crackers to serve
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Stand the quince upright in a baking dish, then pour over the Moscato and vinegar. Mix the ground mustard seeds into the honey and then drizzle this directly over the quince.
Bake slowly for 1-1½ hours, depending on the size of the quince. Baste during cooking a couple of times and if the quince is looking dry add a little more wine.
Remove from the oven when the quince is glazed and amber in colour. The fruit will have softened, but should still hold its shape well enough to cut.
Serve with the gorgonzola dolce, some crackers, and a little glass of something sweet alongside.