Congrats to Mary Keehn and our friends at Cypress Grove Chevre for being named a silver finalist in the Classic category of the 2010 sofi™ Awards! Cheese+Champagne favorite Humboldt Fog is the only cheese in this category, and if we had our way, it will be named the winner. We’ll find out at the 2010 Summer Fancy Food Show, to be held in New York on June 27-29. As you may recall, last year Cypress Grove came out on top in the Cheese/Dairy category for its delicious Truffle Tremor.

The 2010 finalists in Cheese/Dairy are:

Other cheesey finalists include:

It looks like we have some new cheeses to add to our ever-growing to-do list! Since Colleen and I won’t be able to attend this year’s Fancy Food Show, we’ll have to seek out tastes elsewhere. (Samples are always welcome!)

Whew, what a whirlwind week it’s been here in Washington, DC! We’d like to extend a warm welcome to our newest readers, and thanks to the Obama Foodorama and BlogHer Food & Drink for linking to our Inaugural cheese posts! We resume our regularly-scheduled “100 Great Cheeses” tastings this week wth an offering from the other Washington. Beecher’s Flagship Reserve is made at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. The market is one of the nation’s culinary landmarks and not to be missed when visiting the lovely Emerald City. I was last there in November 2007, for my little brother’s wedding. We spent a chilly but sunny morning at the market and the highlight, for me, was visiting Beecher’s. Great cheeses, great atmosphere, and just next door to the original Starbucks location. (Cheese and coffee? You bet!)

Beecher’s is a cloth-bound aged cheddar, made from raw (rBST-free) milk from a single local cow herd supplier. It has a smoother texture than your conventional cheddar. Slightly sweet, salty and delightfully nutty and sharp, it is well on its way to becoming a classic. It can be hard to find on the East Coast, but has recently been spotted here at Cheesetique. Of course, you can order directly from Beecher’s if it’s not available at your local cheesemonger.

Cheddars of course make ideal Super Bowl cheese picks, universally appealing and full-bodied enough to hold their own alongside spicy wings or other game day foods. If you’re sticking with beer, look for Seattle’s Red Hook or Pike Brewing Company. For wine, Hogue Cellars offers reliable bargain-priced wines (under $10) from Washington’s Columbia Valley, including the Cabernet/Merlot I sampled here. It was a touch overpowering, so I would go with a more medium-bodied red next time. Beecher’s suggests pairing the Flagship Reserve with a Syrah.

Updated 2/18/09 – The’s Janet Fletcher recommends pairing Beecher’s Reserve with Cabernet Sauvignon.