Recently in the cheese world …

American Goat Cheese Awards: The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) annual cheese competition was held last month in New York. Congratulations to Bonnie Blue Farm (TN) for the Best in Show award for Tanasi Tomme, and to Split Creek Farm (SC) for Reserve Best in Show for Farm Feta in Olive Oil. Familiar names on the winners list include Maryland’s Firefly Farms (four awards) and Spriggs Delight Farm; Oregon’s Rivers Edge Chevre (1st in flavored hard cheeses for Astraea); California’s Redwood Hill Farm (cleaning up the yogurt & kefir categories) and Fat Toad Farm in Vermont for their goats milk caramel sauce. View the complete results here.

MSLivingNov09Craft Cheese in Mainstream Media: Martha Stewart Living’s November issue features Vermont’s artisan cheesemakers, and the cheese episode airs this Thursday, Nov. 5, featuring Liz Thorpe. Emeril Lagasse is also on the bandwagon, recently visiting Jasper Hill Farm and Bellwether Farms in California for the Emeril Green show. The Bellwether episode (“Pass the Cheese, Please”) first aired last night, Nov. 2, but check the listings for a re-run if you missed it.

Tillamook Mac ‘n Cheese Competition: Last month was the 5th annual Tillamook Macaroni and Cheese competition in Portland, OR. The winner? Ann Jones from Littleton, CO, with her “Rustic Fried Sage and Chicken Apple Sausage Mac ‘n Cheese with Autumn Chutney.” She took both grand prize and people’s choice (and, I presume, longest recipe name!). Congrats!

Free Cheese! Bellwether Farms is giving away a $100 gift certificate to one lucky winner. To enter, create an original recipe using Bellwether’s creme fraiche and submit the recipe and a photo by December 1st. View complete details here.

On the Cheese Blogs: Madame Fromage selected Meadow Creek‘s Grayson as her Halloween cheese (great pick!) … The Cheeselover Fiona Beckett is served a unique cheese course … View pictures from the 2009 PDX Wedge Festival … Check out this recipe for Savory Onion and Gouda Dutch Baby from Herbivoracious (perfect for any bits of L’Amuse or Roomano you may have around).

American Cheese on Twitter: Now that Twitter has launched their lists feature, we’ve set about to create the ultimate list of American cheesemakers/sellers/enthusiasts. If you’re interested in America’s craft cheese movement, these are our must-follows. And if you make, sell, or promote cheese in America and we somehow aren’t yet following you on Twitter, drop us a note in the comments or @100cheeses.

Cheese of the Month: The most viewed cheese review we posted for the month of October was… Coach Farm’s goat medallion (third from left, above).

Remember to check our DC and MN Cheese Event listings for classes, tastings and more … we’ll be updating as holiday events are announced. And if you have cheese events or news to share, drop us a note at dccheese@gmail.com or mncheese@gmail.com.



Did you hear? A Canadian won the 2009 World Cheese Awards , Le Cendrillon (“Cinderella”) from La Maison Alexis de Portneuf. Let’s hear it for North America! I’m not sure if winning a world medal is enough to clear US customs, but here’s hoping those of us in the States get a chance to try it soon. (Or perhaps I’ll have to send Jill on a mission across the border!)

American cheeses fared fairly well themselves. Out of the 2,440 cheeses, from 34 countries, the Americans earned 78 medals. A few highlights:

  • Cypress Grove (CA) took home several awards, including golds for Humboldt Fog, Purple Haze and fresh Chevre, and silver for Truffle Tremor and Fog Lights. Marin French Cheese Co. cleaned up with seven medals, probably the largest single winner outside of the major commodity cheese companies (see Sorrento and Sartori).
  • Smaller farms that stood out include Rivers Edge Chevre (OR) with two silvers, one for Sunset Bay (see below for the second); a gold for Estrella Family Creamery‘s (WA) Grisdale Goat; Bellwether Farms (CA) with silver for Carmody and bronze for Pepato; silver for Uplands Cheese Co. (WI) Pleasant Ridge Reserve; and gold for Crave Brothers (WI) Mascarpone. 
  • In small farms outside the traditional cheesemaking states: gold for Haystack Mountain (CO) Camembert; silver for Firefly Farms (MD) Cabra LaMancha; and bronze for Sweet Grass Dairy (GA) Asher Blue.
  • For “extra mature traditional cheddar,” Cellars at Jasper Hill earned silver for Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Fiscalini Cheese Co. (review later this week!) a bronze for Bandage Wrap Cheddar.
  • And perhaps the most exciting categories, new cheeses (first marketed after 01/10/2008), a silver went to Rivers Edge Chevre‘s Astraea (pictured above) and a bronze to Willow Hill Farm (VT) for Vaquero Blue — two excellent cheeses I was able to sample this summer.
  • Click here for the full list of American winners, and here are the official winners lists.

And elsewhere in the caseophere…

  • Locally, in the Mid-Atlantic: WeLoveDC recently ventured across the river to explore Alexandria’s Cheesetique. (Astute readers may note that the picture, by yours truly, is actually of the old storefront.) Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church is now carrying Jamie Stachowski’s charcuterie, perfect for pairing with local cheeses. 
     
  •  Locally, in the Upper Midwest: A Simple, Good and Tasty Local Foods Dinner in Minneapolis this weekend featured Minnesota’s own Shepherd’s Way sheeps-milk blue cheese, among other scrumptious dishes. And the Wisconsin Originals Cheese Festival, coming up Nov. 6-7, is already sold out! 
     
  •  On the Cheese Blogs: I missed out on meeting the blogger from La Vie Soleil when we attended the same event recently in San Francisco, but was happy to learn about her from Bryce’s recap at Canyon of Cheese. Her home cheesemaking experiments are truly something to aspire to. Check out the Camembert she recently took to France to share with family …  gorgeous!

Calling all Cheesemakers: got news to share? email dccheese @ gmail.com to be included in our weekly news highlights.

World Cheese Awards 2009 — American winners
see official results 
 or click “more” for the list of American medalists

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We’ll have more to say about the 2009 Fancy Food Show — our first as credentialed members of the cheese press — soon, but we wanted to bring you the breaking news fresh from NYC that Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor won the “sofi” tonight in the cheese/dairy category. The Fancy Food Show, put on by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT), hosts the annual competition for specialty outstanding food innovation (sofi). Out of nearly 2,000 entries in 33 categories, 128 finalists were selected by a panel of judges, and the winners then determined by votes of buyers attending the show — the Oscars of the food world, so to speak.

with CGs Mary Keehn

w/ Cypress Grove's Mary Keehn

 

Cypress Grove has a special place in our hearts here at Cheese + Champagne, as their iconic Humboldt Fog was the launching point for our exploration of (some might say obsession with) artisanal cheese. Truffle Tremor is their newest product, a lightly-aged goats-milk cheese with, as the name suggests, the additional earthy flavor imparted by a generous helping of black truffles. This sweet, musty, velvety cheese is truly unique — the distinctive flavor still lingers in my taste memory even after a day spent sampling dozens of cheeses. Don’t just take my word for it; Murray’s calls it sexy, too: “Dense, cakey pasteurized goat cheese with a fine bloomy rind takes on a sexy richness with a few weeks of aging and fungi.” Be sure to give it a try if (when) you happen upon it. And congratulations to Mary and all at Cypress Grove!