Posted in Cheese, Travelogues, United States, tagged Cheese, cheese festival, domestic, Pleasant Ridge, Rush Creek, Vacherin, Vacherin Mont d'Or, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Cheese Festival on December 3, 2010 |
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In the first week of November, I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the Second Annual Wisconsin Cheese Festival. Retailers and cheesemakers from across the state massed at Monona Terrace, a convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, perched on the edge of Lake Monona.
There were all sorts of tours, tastings and seminars on offer and it was hard to choose between them all but, in the end, I chose three. The first was a panel discussion entitled “The Art of Grass-based Cheeses.” Panelists included: Mike Gingrich from Uplands Cheese, Bert Paris of Edelweiss Graziers Co-Op and Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery. We tasted through several cheese flights, including, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Edelweiss Gouda and Emmentaler. We also tried two wonderful buttercream frostings (made with butter from grass-fed cows) and learned about rotational grazing methods. (more…)
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One of my favorite deliveries happens on Fridays, when Michael from Carlisle Farmstead Cheese drops off a few rounds of goat cheese made by his wife Tricia, along with a few cases of Carlisle Honey, collected by beekeeper Ed Erny.
Michael and Tricia keep about 10 goats on their property and make several lovely cheeses — all named after their goats — in their state-of-the-art cheese room. Most, like Meg’s Big Sunshine, are fresh and tangy with a white, bloomy rind. My personal favorite, Greta’s Fairhaven, is made of raw goat’s milk and aged a bit longer for a denser texture and an earthier flavor.
Across town, Ed keeps about five beehives in his back yard. In the springtime, he collects a delicately sweet blossom honey. By summer, that has given way to a darker, richer wildflower honey.
Michael works in Cambridge and conveniently drops off both the cheeses and the honey at FK on his way to work. They are outstanding artisanal products on their own, but perhaps elevated a little higher when they are served together, properly showcasing their common local roots.
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