I’m sure I’m not the only one who keeps the Hamilton soundtrack on on repeat to escape from fatigue of current events in the world, right? Well here in our little cheese world, we have plenty of reason to be proud of the USA: for the first time, not one, not two, but three American cheesemongers will compete in the World Cheesemonger Competition this weekend in Tours, France. Officially known as Concours Mondial du Meilleur Fromager, the biennial event will pit ten mongers from five countries against each other in an extreme competition of cheese knowledge, salesmanship and showmanship.

With no further ado, let’s meet #TeamUSA 2017:

Team USA Mondial du Fromager 2017

Perry Soulos, of Alexandria, VA — long-time monger at Arrowine, 2014 CMI Champion, making his second appearance at Tours.

Nadjeeb Chouaf of Charlottesville, VA — founder of Flora Cheese, 2016 CMI Champion; and,

Lilith Spencer of Santa Fe, NM — monger at Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, 2016 CMI Champion, and creator of the most famous platters on Instagram (really, take a look).

Perry Soulos | Mondial du Meilleur Fromager photo (c) Concours Mondial du Meilleur Fromager

The Fab 3 will take on competitors from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan. While all three have conquered the Cheesemonger Invitational, an intense competition held twice annually in New York and San Francisco, the stakes are even higher in Tours. A CMI competitor is expected to present a single “perfect bite” pairing, but in Tours, the artistic test demands an entire table display with a more dramatic presentation than is typically seen here in the states. As Soulos explained after the 2015 competition, he realized he may have undershot expectations slightly when he was working on his comté pairing and was suddenly engulfed in a cloud of dry ice from rival Guillaume Cardinet’s display. Cardinet went on to place 2nd.

Check out this look at the 2015 competition: https://www.facebook.com/132969996783628/videos/1355790004501615/

Joining Soulos as a repeat competitor is Belgium’s Nathalie Vanhaver, who placed third in both the 2015 and 2013 events. Will this be her year, or will #TeamUSA shock the world? Stay tuned!

PS You can get tickets now for the 2017 Summer Cheesemonger Invitational June 24 in NYC for a taste of competitive cheesemongering in action! 

 

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Basque shepherding and cheesemaking traditions; Inside the Affineur’s Cave; Microbial State of the Union; Heritage breed dairy animals: if these research titles get your curd nerd senses all tingly, the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award is looking for you!

daphne zepos teaching award

Established in 2013, the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award (DZTA) is an annual scholarship awarded to a cheese professional with a vision to take a deep dive into a specific topic — travel expenses to Europe included. The recipient then returns to present their research at the following year’s American Cheese Society conference. We never had the privilege of meeting the legendary Daphne Zepos, visionary founder of Essex St. Cheese Co., but her passion and advocacy for artisan cheese lives on through the award fund. Since its launch, recipients of the awards have studied in Spain, England, France and Spain. You can read dispatches from 2016 recipient Sam Frank, of New York’s Crown Finish Caves, on his blog Making Cheese in Europe to get a sense of what opportunities await the next winner.

Oh, one more draw? The winner is announced during the ACS Conference and gets … a really big cheese check! Talk about #lifegoals, eh?

Sam Frank, DZTA 2016

There’s just one more week to apply for the 2017 DZTA: applications require an essay describing your vision, two letters of recommendation, and applicants must be current members of the American Cheese Society. Head to the website to learn more and get started on that vision statement!

Photo (c) and courtesy of the DZTA.

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Alpine Cheese + Meyer Lemon Marmalade

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Truffle Cheddar Mac & Cheese

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CheeseBowl 2016: Battle of the …. Goats?

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Sure the Panthers and Broncos may be the ones playing in the Big Game this weekend, but as far as we know, no one is (yet) milking either animal for cheese … at least not that’s commercially available. Though I would like to see someone attempt to milk a bronco…. Fortunately for those of us who […]

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