This past weekend I volunteered at The Minnesota Cheese Festival. That’s right, there is a festival for cheese. What a great use of my time. I got to sit and chat with cheese lovers and try lots of great regional cheeses.
|Gorgeous Flowers in our Booth from the St. Paul Farmer's Market|
I volunteered at the Forifty: a Food Community booth which is a local organization that I am a part of for food enthusiasts (check them out on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/groups/fortifyfood/). We handed out recipes with cheese, chatted about our passion for food, and took frequent “cheese breaks” to sample the cheeses. It was great to meet the actual cheese makers and witness their passion.
|Amazing Cheese Curds from Foxy Falafel|
So, it turns out that it is possible to eat TOO much cheese. I was so full (in a happy way) when I left. There were some really great cheeses to try and to purchase. And purchase I did; I spent way more than I anticipated but I now have a refrigerator drawer full of cheesy goodness.
While there were a lot of great cheeses, here were some of my favorites. You should keep your eye out for these or even request them at your store (for those out of the Midwest, some of the cheese can be ordered online).
Alemar Cheese - Bent River Camembert-style cheese and Good Thunder cheese. The camembert cheese was creamy and delicious – I think it is best spread on a slice of a baguette or with red grapes and apples. The Good thunder is a stinky washed-rind cheese soaked in Surly’s bender beer. http://www.alemarcheese.com/about.htm
Redhead Creamery – Her offering of plain cheese curds tasted just how cheese curds should, with exactly the right balance of saltiness. http://redheadcreamery.com
Singing Hills Goat Dairy – Herb-marinated Chevre. This tasted so good and they suggested that it would be good with greens as a salad dressing or as a dip with a baguette and a bottle of wine (which is exactly my plan). https://www.facebook.com/SingingHillsGoatDairy
Rochdale Farms – Hand rolled butter – yep, I deviated from the cheese and went for some butter. It was so good - a little pat of butter on a cracker. http://www.rochdalefarms.coop
Pasture Pride Cheese - Juusto Baked Cheese. This is a cheese that you heat in a skillet and serve warm. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G - what is better than warm, melty, salty, cheese? I think it would be great on a cracker topped with some chutney or mixed in with scrambled eggs. Yummmm….. http://www.pasturepridecheese.com/
Shepherd's Way Farms - Morcella. This is a soft-ripened sheep milk cheese with local morel mushrooms. It is earthy and creamy and only available through Sept. (they only use spring and summer milk to make this cheese). This farm also has a cheese CSA, which is intriguing.... http://www.shepherdswayfarms.com/
Caves of Fairbault - AmaBlu® “St. Pete’s Select” blue cheese. This blue cheese seemed really balanced to me. It had just the right amount of tanginess without being overwhelming. http://www.faribaultdairy.com
Marieke Gouda - Marieke® Gouda Super Aged 18-24. This Gouda was delicious and nutty with the little aged crystals throughout; unfortunately they had sold out by the time I went to purchase it. http://www.hollandsfamilycheese.com
Ahhh, I love cheese. Let me know if you have any local favorites that I need to try.