Back when my husband and I were first married, we went on lots of picnics. I guess that’s what you do before kids, which reminds me that now that they’re grown and gone, we should be picnicking again!
In any case, I used to buy a particular chocolate Neufchâtel cheese, and paired it with strawberries and water crackers. In my memory, at least, it’s something I always packed up for our adventures, for something a little sweet.
Then there came a time when we really couldn’t afford this cheese any more. That’s when I had a light bulb moment. I can make it myself, just like I created home-made Boursin, which I call “faux” boursin!
I actually made this cheese a lot when I catered, but I haven’t made it for years now. I’d just completely forgotten about it until something jogged my memory recently.
The reason this cheese worked well for catering is that it’s inexpensive to make, slightly sweet, and very pretty.
I sometimes also made an additional strawberry Neufchâtel as well, which was pretty sitting next to her chocolate sister. But these cheeses I used to make, and am making again today, are made with cream cheese instead of Neufchâtel. The good old American variety.
I just googled chocolate Neufchâtel and I found nothing. Perhaps I was the only person eating it? Well, fortunately you can duplicate its flavor in your own kitchen, using this recipe, which can be doubled or tripled.
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 ounce unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-sized bowl. Using a spatula, beat them together until smooth. The addition of the butter helps in the molding process.
Add the cocoa and powdered sugar.
Gently stir in the ingredients until the cream cheese mixture is smooth.
Place the cheese in a plastic wrap-lined bowl that fits it snuggly, and provides the shape of the cheese that you want. Add the cheese, smoothing the top. You might want to give the bowl a few hard taps on a cutting board to make sure that there are no air holes.
Cover well with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, unmold the cheese by turning the bowl upside down onto a serving platter. Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Let the cheese sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. You want it nice and spreadable!
I served mine with fresh strawberries and water crackers, just like in the old days!
This is enough cheese to serve 4-6 people. And it cost less than $2.00 to make.
A recipe for strawberry version is here.
Very nice Mimi. Lovely and simple to prepare. Just the way I like it.
Thank you so much Conor!
Wow chocolate cheese. Sounds amazing. You do go on a lot of picnics before you have kids. One of my favourite picnic spots is Hampton Court Gardens. I am sure you have been already, but if you haven’t go with your husband when you are over visiting Emma. You can bring your own food and you can even get a cheaper ticket which is just for the gardens if you have already seen the palace. I had a miscarriage a few months ago, but hopefully we will have a family someday too. Emma xx
Oh I’m so sorry. When you have a miscarriage (I had 2) you discover how common they are, but that never makes you feel better. Stay strong. I actually have been to Hapmpton Court! Emma and I went to a food and wine festival there. Sadly, it was a bit chilly, so we toured the inside, which was fabulous. The gardens were beautiful. I didn’t know you could picnic there. We’re visiting Emma this week, actually, and taking her to Cornwall. She may not be living in London anymore, as they just told her that her visa application wasn’t approved and they kept her passport. She’s probably at the US embassy right now trying to sort through things. Her company sponsored her, so we have no idea what’s going on. It will be interesting. But she’s had a wonderful 4 years!
Wow! How innovative!!
It’s so easy!
Oh Mimi. I am sorry to hear that. I have a friend from Philadelphia who went through hell with work permits and everything. She eventually married a Brit so she has dual citizenship now. When you are in Cornwall go to Bude if you have the chance. It is a beautiful seaside town. Eat lots of scones and clotted cream, and indulge in the clotted cream ice cream. I hope Emma gets everything sorted out.
I know, it’s scary. She’s being treated like a terrorist. Thank you for the suggestion. I’m putting Bude on the list!!!
We have a picnic to attend this weekend. Perhaps I’ll give one of these a go. Thanks for sharing.
You are one of my favorites, Mimi! I’m learning so much from you!
That’s so sweet, Rita!!!
Easy and yummy:)
A beautiful appetizer, inspired by lovely memories. :-) The very mildly sweet spread sounds fantastic. i am sure the topping ideas are endless!
I have to admit I had never heard of it before. So simple!
I’ve never seen this Neufchâtel before. I first thought it was some kind of pate in the photo. This looks great and so simple. The flavours remind me of cheesecake. I bet this would be great stuffed into strawberries or on bread with banana for some kind of dessert grilled cheese sandwich.
All of those!!!
I had no idea that Boursin was so easy! Again you’ve inspired me and this one is being printed off for my daughter’s engagement party in September. She’s a world renown cheese freak and I don’t think she’s ever tried any with chocolate….but I’ll have to make the strawberry too for my husband since he’s. strawberry lover. So beautifully displayed too – love that little stand.
Thanks, Diane. They’re slightly different, but delicious, and really inexpensive to make. Congratulations by the way.
This is like a chocolate cheesecake, love it. I would love to sandwich in between two cookies.
Oh, that sounds good, too!
My husband, daughter and I love going on picnics. I will be making this the next time to bring along. Lovely
When I bought the stuff years ago, it came in a little tub with a plastic lid. So it was really handy for picnics!
Mimi – this looks awesome! I have never made cheese before – but I’ll bet it’s so much better than store-bought! Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
what a fantastic idea and recipe – definitely trying this for my next picnic or even dinner party hors d’oeuvres! thanks!!!
you are so welcome! It’s inexpensive to make too!
What an indulgent, chocolatey dessert :D
Choc Chip Uru
Thank you Uru!
That looks so good. I’ve sworn off sugar, but I bet I could use Splenda without losing too much flavor. And, having this with strawberries sounds diving.
Any kind of dry sweetener that would mix well with the cream cheese will work!!!
Divine, not diving. Heh!
How is poor Emma? I’ve been thinking about her a lot. I hope everything is ok.
She’s getting shipped home. There was some kind of clerical error, but she and her company would have to resubmit all the application work,at some cost, and she doesn’t think it’s worth it. Sad, though…
I’m sorry to hear that. I hope she is ok. Emma.
Great dessert and you’ve made it look so simple with step by step instructions.
Thank you. It’ so easy but so good!!!