The Walker family has been growing apples since the mid 1800s in Sonoma County. Generations of Walkers have made their living by growing Gravensteins.
A new company in Sonoma County called Hot Cheese made special grilled cheese and Gravenstein sandwiches. They were sooo good, paired with zucchini pickles and seasoned sweet potato fries.
The treat I look forward to most of all is the piping hot Gravenstein Apple Fritter. Church ladies have a booth set up and all they do for two days straight is make these cinnamon powdered sugar topped fritters and vats of coffee. The line for Fritters can get pretty long, but it is so worth it!
Of course, I had to make a nail design to go along with the Gravenstein Apple Fair! Gravensteins have a red and green streaked skin, sweet/tart flesh, and are perfect for making pies. Of course there is a apple pie baking contest, apple pie eating contest, applesauce eating contest, and more! They should have an apple nail design contest, ha ha!
I look forward to this fair so much, that I kind of go into withdrawl when it is over. So I decided that today's bento would celebrate the Gravenstein Apple! I used the Hot Cheese recipe as my inspiration for an apple shaped grilled cheese sandwich with Gravenstein Apple and ham, and a little cucumber skin 'leaf'. Also in this bento: Gravenstein Apple 'rabbits', edamame, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, cucumber slices, grapes (including a cutie grape 'tree'), and red bell pepper slices. The Hot Cheese version of this sandwich does not have meat in it, and they added a delicious curry seasoning. If you can find them (Windsor Farmers Market or they do catering!) you have to try it... sooooo good!
Recipe for Gravenstein Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 grated garlic clove
2 slices white bread
1 slice gouda or provolone cheese
thin slices of Gravenstein Apple
1 or two slices ham
Soften the butter and add the grated garlic. I use a Microplane Zester to grate the garlic really fine, into a paste really. Set the butter aside. Assemble the sandwich by spreading mayo on the bread then top with cheese, slices of apple, and ham. Top with the second piece of bread. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread butter mixture on the outside of one of the sides of the sandwich. Place that buttered side down in the skillet. Grill until the bread is golden brown. Spread butter on the top of the sandwich, then carefully flip the sandwich over to grill the opposite side. If needed, cover the skillet to help melt the cheese. Serves one.