Our cardamom grapes wrapped in blue cheese and pistachios are an easy and elegant way to add a touch of sophistication to your next gathering. They combine the distinct flavor of blue cheese (also called bleu cheese, in a nod to France), a warm hint of cardamom and the contrast of salty, crunchy nuts with a surprisingly sweet and juicy center.
Nobody has to know that these impressive looking little balls are so easy to make! Simply choose your favorite red, green or black seedless grapes. Then roll them in a mixture of softened cream cheese and blue cheese. Blue cheese has a distinct flavor, a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a powerful aroma. Also, feel free to experiment with other cheeses like soft goat cheese, gorgonzola or Roquefort for different flavor combinations.
Next, roll the balls in a bowl of finely-chopped and salted pistachios. We have added a secret ingredient to our nut mix: cardamom. This spice may sound exotic, but you have probably enjoyed it in baked goods along with cinnamon, cloves and other holiday spices. Cardamom pairs well with both sweet and spicy foods and can also be found in many Asian dishes. It has a spicy, herbal and citrusy flavor.
If you don’t have cardamom in your spice cabinet and are in a pinch, substitute equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger or cloves instead. Or, create even more interesting combinations by using different types of nuts like walnuts, cashews or almonds, or coating them in spiced, smoked or candied nut pieces.
These grapes are a perfect appetizer, or would also be a great garnish when placed atop a fresh salad and served with blue cheese dressing. They are pair beautifully with wine and crackers on any party table, and they would also be a welcome after-work nibble.
No matter the occasion, these grapes pack a combination of complex flavors in one tiny package and are sure to be a hit!