Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cheese Platters that WOW at the CACF

Today I had the pleasure of teaching the Cheese Platters that WOW course with Nancy today at the California Artisan Cheese Festival. We had a great turnout and I must say, the people who attended this class were great! It was so nice to have a room full of people who are passionate about cheese and had such great questions. Thanks for coming everyone!




This was before the festivities... Nancy was great at arranging all of the cheese platters. Thanks Nancy!

Here were the plates we discussed:

Budget Friendly Cheese Plate

MANUFACTURER-Rouge et Noir
PRODUCT NAME-Brie
MILK TYPE- COWS MILK
ORIGIN-Petaluma, CA

Rich Jersey milk is used in the creation of this tasty cheese. The cheesemakers the create the Rouge et Noir Brie add their cultures directly to the milk instead of spraying it on the surface. This allows the cheese to ripen more evenly and have a wonderful flavor.

MANUFACTURER- Beehive
PRODUCT NAME- Barely Buzzed
MILK TYPE- COWS MILK
ORIGIN-
Uintah, Utah

This cheese is rubbed with a finely ground coffee from Colorado Legacy’s Fine Coffee as well as French Superior lavender. An interesting and delectable combination.

MANUFACTURER-Cypress Grove
PRODUCT NAME-Humboldt Fog
MILK TYPE- GOATS MILK
ORIGIN-Arcata, CA

Humboldt Fog is a very well-known goat cheese from Cypress Grove. The cheese is easily recognizable by the grey line of vegetable ash running through the middle of the cheese. This was inspired by the French cheese, Morbier.

MANUFACTURER- Point Reyes
PRODUCT NAME- Point Reyes Blue
MILK TYPE- RAW COWS MILK
ORIGIN-Point Reyes, CA

Hailing from Point Reyes, this is another readily available super tasty cheese with fresh milk flavor and a relatively mellow blue kick.


A Little Splurge Cheese Plate

MANUFACTURER- Laura Chenel
PRODUCT NAME- Melodie
MILK TYPE- GOATS MILK
ORIGIN-Sonoma, CA

An ash rinded goat cheese with a mild, creamy and floral flavor. Perfect for the start of any cheese plate.


MANUFACTURER- Nicasio Valley
PRODUCT NAME-Nicasio Reserve
MILK TYPE- ORGANIC COWS MILK
ORIGIN-Nicasio, CA

A Swiss-Italian mountain style cheese with a wonderfully rich flavor. Mellow, yet flavorful.

MANUFACTURER- Bellwether Farms
PRODUCT NAME-San Andreas
MILK TYPE- RAW SHEEPS MILK
ORIGIN-Petaluma, CA

A beautiful sheep’s milk cheese that was inspired by the various flavors of Pecorino available. The natural rind of the cheese adds a whole other level of interesting, complex flavors. 

MANUFACTURER- Cowgirl Creamery
PRODUCT NAME-Red Hawk
MILK TYPE- COWS MILK
ORIGIN-Petaluma, CA

This cheese was a happy accident. What started off as a batch of Mt Tam, eventually turned into Red Hawk when the naturally present B Linens found the surface. Now made on purpose, the wash on the cheese adds a little funk, but has a wonderfully creamy flavor on the inside.

Pull Out All The Stops Cheese Plate

MANUFACTURER- Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese
PRODUCT NAME-Ashed Tomette
MILK TYPE- GOATS MILK
ORIGIN-Willits, CA

The goat cheese from the Shamrock farm is completely farmstead and come from Alpines, Nubians and La Manachas goats. Wonderfully fresh and super delectable.

MANUFACTURER-Weirauch
PRODUCT NAME-Carabiner
MILK TYPE- ORGANIC COWS MILK
ORIGIN-Petaluma, CA

An Alpine style cheese that has a firmer almost waxy texture that has a wonderfully balanced nutty flavor.

MANUFACTURER-Bleating Heart
PRODUCT NAME-Mixtress
MILK TYPE- RAW COW & SHEEP MILK
ORIGIN-Sebastopol, CA

A natural rind, raw milk cheese made from cow and sheep’s milk, this cheese has such a unique flavor that I have never experienced in a mixed milk cheese before. The natural rind adds a slighty funky element with the paste being salty and umami while also being nutty.

MANUFACTURER-Williapa Hills
PRODUCT NAME-Big Boy Blue
MILK TYPE- COWS MILK
ORIGIN-Doty, WA

A wonderfully robust blue balanced with a rich creaminess. I tried this cheese at the ACS Conference last year in Raleigh where they won first place in their category. Well deserved!

Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of each platter... but here's a picture of the Budget Friendly cheese platter...


And I really wanted to appreciate the people who attended this class... they were fantastic! 


I'm so glad I had the opportunity to be a part of the California Artisan Cheese Festival and I couldn't have done it without my colleague, Nancy Brunner. If you're ever at the Petaluma Whole Foods, make sure you stop by the cheese counter there and say hello to Nancy!

I'm headed back home tomorrow and I have PLENTY of cheese from this festival that I can talk about individually in future blogs. Thank you all for reading and until next time, eat, drink and be happy!