The 3rd Annual Cheesemonger Invitational in NYC is just days away! Have you purchased your ticket yet? Go ahead, we’ll wait.
This year’s event features 47 cheesemongers from around the globe. Sure, a sizable number of contestants hail from New York (Murray’s, Fairway, Bedford, Saxelby, to name a few) but there are also mongers traveling from Seattle, the Midwest, New Orleans, North Carolina and even London and Australia. This year a preliminary competition will whittle the field to ten, who will then perform their skills before the raucous (and well-fed) crowd in an attempt to win a $1,000 cash prize. The hometown team has yet to win top honors, which have gone instead to Matt Rubiner of Rubiner’s Cheesemongers (Great Barrington, MA) in 2010 and to Steve Jones of Portland’s Cheese Bar in 2011. Will New York finally bring home the crown in 2012?
While the trash talk has been relatively mild thus far, we reached out to a handful of competitors to give them a chance to impress. Specifically, we asked which cheese they’d take to impress at a dinner party. Here’s what they had to offer.
A giant puddle of over ripe Epoisses.
Grayson or Ardrahan, as you will soon learn whom your real friends are.
Whole cheeses are very impressive. Spoonable Harbison or funky Winnimere and there is always Tete de Moine with girolle.
Harbison or something else really sinful & gooey that you can slice the top off and spoon it out, that always grabs the spotlight.
Rush Creek Reserve, because I think it is the best party cheese on the planet! Of course some good bread, too, and wine, perhaps champagne.
We have to dock a point for the “perhaps” there — of course champagne, always! It seems many of our mongers think alike–and share our love of anything and everything from Cellars at Jasper Hill. (One monger, Adam Smith of Cowgirl Creamery DC, takes it even further describing his favorite cheese as: “Rush Creek poured into a Winnimere, or the other way around.”)
If any other mongers care to weigh in, we’ll add them here. In the meantime, click on over to the CMI competitor page to give a “like” to your home town cheesemonger in advance of the event. (And take a look at the impressive roster of judges and supporters.) See you in New York!
(And remember, the day after the CMI, Sunday 6/25, is the New Amsterdam Market Cheese Market & Dairy Fair. Click for details and head on down to meet the region’s best cheesemakers — from Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia to Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont and everywhere in between.)