Aaahhh, fall at last. I have so many wonderful summer memories to share with you all, so many new cheeses that graced our cheeseboards and earned our adoration. Enough to fill a book, you might say. {wink} But first, there are some pretty exciting cheese festivals coming up this fall that we wanted to let you know about, in case you’re already itching to book a cheesetastic weekend away. (Or lucky enough to have one of these in your own backyard.)

Massachusetts Cheese Guild Meet the Cheesemakers

Concord, Massachusetts

First up is a mixer of the fledgling Massachusetts Cheese Guild this Thursday, September 18. Join Guild members for an al fresco evening of cheese tasting at Verrill Farm in Concord, Mass. Get your ticket here, or learn more about the Guild. {We’ve featured a few Massachusetts cheeses here, but there are so many more we need to try!}

Washington Cheesemakers Festival 2014

Seattle, Washington

Next up, the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival on Saturday, September 27, in Seattle, Washington. More than 20 cheesemakers from around the state will be participating, including Jill’s most recent crush, Mountain Lodge Farm and more. Festival goers can also reserve seats in a guided tasting seminar with Sheri LaVigne of Seattle’s Calf & Kid. For even more cheese feasting, there will be a Cheesemakers Dinner at Trattoria Cuoco on September 23. Head to the Festival website for tickets and additional details.

Southern Artisan Cheese Festival 2014

Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re not on the West Coast, you’re in luck! The Southern Artisan Cheese Festival is also Saturday, September 27, in Nashville, Tennessee. Cheesemakers and food artisans from eight states, Virginia down to Alabama, will gather in the historic Neuhoff Building in Nashville to celebrate Southern cheese. Plenty of Southern craft beer will be poured while you mingle and sample cheeses from Caromont Farm, Sequatchie Cove Creamery, Many Fold Farm and many more. Start your weekend with a Curds and Cocktails kick-off the night before. Get ticket info here.

If you attend one of these events, please hop on over to the Cheese and Champagne Facebook page and tell us your favorite cheese finds!


Another trip to Seattle, another cheese-scouting expedition in the books. As always, a highlight of my annual visit to my parents were my excursions to local cheese shops Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and the Calf & Kid. And I don’t know if it’s a pregnancy thing or what, but I mostly had my eyes on goat cheeses, so I came home with several, along with two pounds of Rainier cherries (can’t beat local cherries at their peak!).

Speaking of Rainier, my first pick comes from the foothills near Mt. Rainier (my mom’s favorite mountain). Glacier, from Mountain Lodge Farm, is a petite round of pasteurized goat cheese that resembles a French crottin. Its snowy-downed rind hides a semi-firm paste that doesn’t get too gooey, regardless of time spent at room temperature. Clean, crumbly and gently creamy, Glacier is a good basic goat cheese for your cheeseboard. Would I seek it out the next time I’m at Beecher’s? Probably not, but more because there are so many other Pacific Northwest cheeses to try than repeat.

However, if I were going to double up on a regional goat cheese, Sunset Bay would be my pick. Perennial C+C favorite Rivers Edge Chèvre makes this kicked-up version of its ash-coated goat cheese by adding a streak of paprika to the center. Colleen got a wedge from her cheese sherpa earlier this spring, and I was lucky enough to snag one, too. The combined zip of the ashy rind and the spiced center really makes Sunset Bay memorable, and check out that luscious creamline. Since I gobbled up my purchase in no time, perhaps my own cheese sherpa (aka Mom) will surprise me with an encore when she next visits.

Both goat cheeses pair wonderfully with a local bubbly – we love our Argyle sparkling wine, but take your pick from many excellent Oregon and Washington wineries. It’s probably too late to get those cherries now, but the last of the stone fruits would make an equally delicious accompaniment.

P.S. The timing of this post is no coincidence. I always have to feature Pacific Northwest cheeses to toast our Oregon-born and -bred gal, Colleen, on her birthday. Have a great one, C!

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Smoked Maple Blue Peaches

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