The Achiote & Mimolette Cheese
These bright red seeds of the Bixa orellana shrub are used as a dye, as well as a flavoring for many dishes in the Caribbean and in Latin America. Indians used to paint their faces with it but today we use it in the kitchen.
The achiote of annatto, is best used by grinding the seeds with a mortar into a fine powder, it gives more color than flavor, but it plays a very special role into beans, stews, rice dishes and sausages. My grandma used to warm up oil and let them lose some of the color, to then use the oil for cooking. Although achiote paste and powder is easy to find in most grocery stores, the seeds are a bit more difficult. Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Mexico will not survive without it, or the Philippines, were they call it atsuete or atsuwete.
This ingredient is the one that gives the beautiful color to the delicious French Mimolette Cheese. Because of the natural malty richness, it pairs well with wines that helps to emphasize its creamy character. Rustic wines with light earthy notes will work nicely. Try it with a Cahors (French Malbec), Carignan or a French Oaky Chardonnay. Beer lovers can enjoy it with an oak-aged ales or stouts.