FOOD: Flowers & Cheese, the perfect pairing.

Let’s skip the flowers and chocolate for your next special occasion and go with flowers and cheese instead.
I admit chocolate is amazing, but before you get upset hear me out.
Cheese and flowers are a match made in heaven.

First, a short backstory of my experience in Colombia and how I learned so much about these great companies:
Last summer I had the honor of participating in a Team Member Volunteer Trip through Whole Foods Market. We went to Colombia and met clients who had received microcredit loans funded by the Whole Planet Foundation. We visited The Elite Flower where we source Whole Trade flowers. We had a once in a lifetime tour of the BUF creamery farm, restaurant, and production facility. The most moving part for me, our team built a classroom for the hearing impaired children in the community where we source Whole Foods products. I saw first hand the difference Whole Trade and the Whole Planet Foundation make and got to enjoy the amazing flavors and beauty of Colombia.

Before I let you know why flowers and cheese are the best match ever lets start with a little info on The Elite Flower & Dibufala:

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The Elite Flower is a floral grower out of Colombia where Whole Foods Market sources some of its flowers that you find in their stores. The flowers from here are unique because they carry the Whole Trade seal of approval. Each time you buy a Whole Trade product 1% goes to the Whole Planet Foundation and a portion of what you paid goes into a development fund for the community that produced the product. From that fund schools are built, housing is created, and after school programs are developed, all while the workers are being paid fair wages and guaranteed a proper work environment.

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Dibufala is a creamery in Colombia specializing in dairy products made from water buffalo milk.  In the States, we know their products as BUF. You can find BUF mozzarella in Whole Foods stores around the country. Mozzarella from BUF follows the guidelines of any quality food that you find on Whole Foods Market’s shelves. The water buffalo have a home with an amazing view and roam freely at the foot of the Andes mountains. Bright and early each morning workers go by horseback up the hills to milk the water buffalo.
I was lucky enough to get to take that ride during my time with them.
Here’s a photo of me with the horse I named Freckles:
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One thing everyone notices when they try BUF for the first time is how fresh it tastes.
There’s a reason why it tastes so fresh and it’s the same reason why BUF mozzarella and Whole Trade flowers are the perfect pairing!

When flowers ship to the states they need to stay cold.
When cheese ships to the states it needs to stay cold.
What if they could be shipped from Colombia together?
They can.
And voila, the perfect pairing!
Cheese and flowers.

You hungry yet?
Time to play around with this mozzarella and make some delicious food.
A lot of my inspirations for the recipes I’m going to share come straight from Dibufala’s restaurant where we ate lunch.
Take a look at these pictures and imagine how amazing these tasted.

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We’re going to make two simple things today with one simple base.

Things you’ll need:
a fantastic loaf of bread
fresh veggies like zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc.
meats from the deli counter such as prosciutto, salami, etc.
olive oil
seasonings
sandwich fixin’s
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a bouquet of flowers

Up first an antipasto spread sure to impress!

First thing you want to do is prep some veggies to roast.
Toss a little olive oil over your veggies and add seasoning. Each of my 4 veggies got a different spice blend on top to keep it exciting.
Throw your veggies on parchment paper and roast them in the oven at 425 until the edges of the veggies start to brown.
This batch took around 20-25 minutes to get to where I wanted them.
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While your veggies are roasting start plating your other items.
I sliced the bread and the cheese and placed them in their own plates.
I rolled the prosciutto and then folded my other meats in half.
When the veggies are done, pull them out of the oven and add them to the mix.
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The fun part now is to try different combanations of meat, cheese, and roasted veggies.
Make sure to add some flowers to the table to tie everything together!
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Next up a panini!
Hands down my favorite kitchen gadget is my panini press.
It gets used more then any other device in my kitchen.
Take your panini up a notch by adding in some special ingredients.

Follow the same steps you used to roast the veggies then add mozzerella and your favorite sandwich fixings to some some slices of quality bread.

Easy as that!
This panini is bursting with flavor. Roasting the veggies brings out a more complex flavor and the creamieness of the cheese makes this a melt in your mouth masterpiece. You’re going to be serving up a panini that is going to make it hard to go back to any other style of sandwich.

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We can’t forget the flowers!
Here’s a few tips to get more out of your bouquet and make it look like you’re a professional florist.

If you’re giving your flowers as a gift, check with your Whole Foods Market floral team to see if they will wrap some tissue around your bouquet.
Not all stores offer this, but for those that do this adds a simple special touch.

Spread the love.
Grab a bouquet that has a variety of different flowers and split your bouquet into smaller vases.  You can scatter these around the house to add pops of cheer to any room.
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Think outside the vase.
Step away from the vase and find unique water tight containers to put your flowers in.
We have a vintage, upcycled, DIY vibe around our house. To mesh with that I use items like tea cups, vintage insulators, and old coffee cans.
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There you have it!
Flowers and cheese, the perfect pairing. Try these ideas the next time you have a special occasion coming up or just want to try something fun and new for dinner.
How will you add these Colombia flowers and cheese into your life? Share your plan in the comment section below.

Learn more about BUF here:
http://www.bufcreamery.com/

Learn more about Whole Trade flowers here:
https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values-matter/whole-trade-flowers

 You can also learn more about the Whole Planet Foundation and the work that they do here:
https://www.wholeplanetfoundation.org/

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