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!

{ 0 comments }

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!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Smoked Maple Blue Peaches

August 17, 2014

If there’s one food I might eat more often than cheese, if only they were available year-round, it would be peaches. Our local donut peaches, in particular, which I have to buy two baskets of at a time to stand a chance of getting any before my curd kids devour them. Of course, I often [...]

Read the full article →

The Shock Heard ‘Round the Cheese World: Rush Creek Reserve no more?

August 15, 2014

There’s a saying in DC, that no good news comes on a Friday afternoon in August. With Congress in recess and journalists on vacation, it’s the best time to announce an unpopular rulemaking or action to less rapid scrutiny. If cheesemaker Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese was hoping for such an effect, he understimated the [...]

Read the full article →

Best of Show 2014: Tarentaise Reserve

August 1, 2014

The cheese Oscars — aka the American Cheese Society Judging & Competition — took place last night and we’re thrilled to announce the 2014 Best of Show winners. As Jill wrote about Tarentaise Reserve several months ago: “I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t love Tarentaise Reserve. Like many Alpine-style cheeses, it’s made [...]

Read the full article →

The American Cheese Plate 2014

July 31, 2014

As Jill mentioned earlier this week, we’re not at the American Cheese Society conference this year. It’s especially sad as the theme of this year’s event, taking place right now in Sacramento, California, is “Celebrating the American Cheese Plate.” Which, as y’all know, is what we do all year long here on Cheese & Champagne. [...]

Read the full article →

Alemar Cheese Company’s Blue Earth, Minnesota

July 28, 2014

Colleen and I are mourning the fact that neither of us are attending the American Cheese Society Annual Conference this year. Alas, thousands of miles (and dollars) separate us from cheese nirvana in Sacramento. But while we’ll be following along with conference shenanigans via social media this week, I’ll also be consoling myself with a [...]

Read the full article →

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival 2014

July 11, 2014

I came back from CheeseMania NYC — aka the Cheesemonger Invitational + summer Fancy Food Show — and suddenly it was already July. Which means we’re just days away from the sixth annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, held July 20 at Shelburne Farms on the shore of Lake Champlain. The historic coach barn will welcome 40 [...]

Read the full article →

Jacobs & Brichford’s Ameribella, Indiana

July 1, 2014

I was going to post about Ameribella last month, but how could we not feature such a patriotically named cheese on Independence Day week? Especially a cheese as powerful and pungent as this – if the American troops couldn’t banish the British on their own, surely this cheese could have done the job. Despite hailing [...]

Read the full article →

Eataly NY Monger is the new Queen of Cheese #CMI2014

June 30, 2014

Last night in the stinkiest warehouse in Long Island City, NY, the 5th annual Cheesemonger Invitational tested the endurance, skill and showmanship of 48 mongers to declare a new champion. After daytime preliminaries, the event opened for the cheese-loving public to taste the competitors’ “perfect bites.” Judges awarded three best bites with extra credit going [...]

Read the full article →