While at the Provvista open house on Sunday, I met up with Matt Day, owner/monger of Mt Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, WA. Great guy, great product, great everything. Like most cheesemakers, they are experimenting with different cheeses for future production. We chatted, and somehow I scored a couple of wheels of their current "Cheer Trial" cheese, a small surface-ripened cow's milk round that's washed in local Finn River (hard) cider. He wanted my feedback. So I thought I'd give it here, for all to see. The two wheels were labeled "A5" and "A6," and the A6 was my favorite. After each cider wash, it was allowed to completely open-air dry (the other wasn't) and the texture was firmer and more fudgy. It was less salty than A5, and the cider flavor was slightly stronger--which I liked. I did manage to share them with friends after my own evaluation, and most agreed with me. Honestly, I was surprised: I normally like the softer, oozier cheeses.
I am going to Oregon this weekend for the bi-annual Wedge festival, hosted by the Oregon Cheese Guild. This follows on the heels of my fantastic trek around Oregon with Gianaclis Caldwell (Pholia Farm). I continue to pine for Oregon since that visit just over a month ago, because of the friendliness of the people I met, the deliciousness of the cheeses I tasted, and the state in general. Oh, and the beer and wine. Going to Portland (my first time!) for this event is going to be FUN. Can’t wait to see those skilled cheesemakers again so soon. Maybe the forces are trying to tell me something….
If you’re able and willing, see you at The Wedge cheese (and beer!) festival this Saturday, October 6 at the Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub. Culture will have a table there, and I'll be behind it! Here's the website to see details: http://oregoncheeseguild.org/oregon-cheese-guild-upcoming-events/
Here's a very encouraging fact; the number of cheese festivals is on the increase. How do I know this? Simple. Because my calendar, which in previous years resembled a cheese "social desert", is now chocka-full of cheese-related events - especially during the summer months.
Cheese Festivals come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from the most traditional, centuries-old institutions, to newly formed events launched for the first time in 2011. Either way, each are more than worthy of your support and you're guaranteed to come away richer (and fuller) for the experience.
Here, in no order of preference, is a personal round-up of those certain to make it onto my calendar. I have divided them geographically into North American and overseas.
For any cheese fans in the Pacific Northwest, don’t forget the 7th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival will be held this Saturday March 19th, 2011 at Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Oregon.
I was just talking with Tami Parr, one of the Festival’s organizers and here is what she says:
“This year's festival promises to be bigger and better than ever - literally! A bigger tent, more vendors and cheese celebrities will be on hand to ring in the seventh year of this festival celebrating all things Oregon cheese.
In attendance will be Oregon cheesemakers from Willamette Valley Cheese Co., Pholia Farm, Tumalo Farms, Rogue Creamery and many more, all sampling and selling their handmade cheeses. The farmer's market style event will also host local purveyors of all sorts of delectable treats including wine, beer, breads and chocolate. The fun, informal setting encourages attendees to meet the people who make the cheeses they've come to love.