One of my favorite visits in my recent trip to Wisconsin was our tour and tasting at Chalet Cheese Cooperative led by Master Cheesemaker Myron Olson, who is the only certified Limburger maker in the US (Myron is also certified in Baby Swiss, Brick and "German Brick," or bierekase). He is a tome of information, and a jolly, contented, white-mustached soul who is both proud and practical.
There’s a cheese that took me a while to fall for, and it’s only made in the autumn and winter, from milk that’s suited for just this recipe. The cheese? Vacherin. It has a long history and comes from both France and Switzerland—though some American cheesemakers have adopted the idea and are making excellent domestic versions of the style.
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.
Fromagination in Madison, WI is Voted 2011 Outstanding Retailer by the National Specialty Food AssociationMay 26, 2011 - 10:56am | by kate
Many congratulations to Ken Monteleone and his team at Fromagination http://www.fromagination.com in Madison, WI for having been voted 2011 Outstanding Retailer by the National Specialty Food Association. The store itself has imaginative displays as well as being ecologically sound. Cheese-wise, Monteleone has demonstrated unswerving support for the state's cheesemakers and the primary focus lies with offerings from Wisconsin although due regard is given to cheeses from further afield . Meanwhile in the kitchen at the back of the store, Chef Greg prepares daily delicousness using the ingredients sold in the shop. Great job all around. KA