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Cheese & Chocolate: The Worlds Two Best Foods On One Plate, One Palate
Cheese and chocolate may or may not sound like an intuitive pairing, but together, the right pairings can be transcendent. Not only that, both American artisan cheese and so-called bean-to-bar (from the source) chocolate-making in America are unprecedented in their popularity. Get the basics on American chocolates and cheeses with me at this iconic cookware store and cooking school in beautiful Eugene, Oregon, and taste these two swoonworthy foods side-by-side in a variety of combinations. How well do they pair? Hint: extremely well. But that’s for you to judge. Besides, even if you don’t like the pairings, you can be sure you’ll love both the chocolates and cheeses on their own. Can you say “slam dunk?” Oh, and yes – there’ll be a little vino to sip alongside. Maybe even a craft beer too. Surprises await!
Say Cheese, Please!
When it comes to cheese, there are two classics: grilled cheese and mac & cheese. Well, I’ve written two books on grilled cheese, and one on mac & cheese, and both classics will get top billing in this class. I’ll be featuring four creamy, gooey, utterly irresistible mac & cheese and grilled cheese recipes from my books along with the perfect wines to go with them. But that’s not all. I’ll also select special cheeses to feature in the cooked dishes for everyone to taste in their pre-cooked form. And last but not least, those cheeses will be paired with the wines, posing the question, which is the better complement to the wine? The cheeses on their own or with the cooked dishes instead? Or are they good with both? Come decide at this fun and decidedly cheesy class.
Cheese & Fortified Wine Pairing
'Tis the season… for fortified wine. Think Port, Madeira, and Sherry and you’ll get the idea behind this class. Cheeses and their fortified wine partners is the theme, and it’s going to be a good one. Madeira is one of the best food wines there is (not just cheese), and so too Sherry and Port. We’ll explore the world of fortified wine and cheese pairing by tasting, tasting, tasting. Be sure to have your designated driver on speed-dial.
Mac & Cheese and Wine Pairing
Back by popular demand, this class is all about decadence. First, we will discover just what it is that makes this classic favorite a special and gourmet treat by tasting four different macs & cheese. But that’s not all. In addition, we will have a plate of cheeses I’ve selected to taste on their own as well as use for the macs & cheese. And… I will choose wines to go with each of the cheeses as well as the mac & cheese, so we’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ the whole time. One piece of advice: don’t eat lunch that day!
Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta
Wine? Chile? Santa Fe? How much more is there to say about this spectacular event? This unique celebration of all that's good in life is celebrating its 25th year, and not surprisingly, with each year, the event gets more popular. This will be my eleventh year as a presenter, and even though there's no such saying, "elevent times is the charm," the fact is, I love this event so much that, well, I keep thinking practice will make perfect. The content of my seminars haven’t hasn’t been decided yet, but as soon they are, you’ll be among the first to know. Stay tuned.
Toronto Food & Wine
I am over the moon to be participating for the first time in Toronto Food & Wine. Even more exciting is that I’m being reunited on the stage with one of my all-time favorite people -- walking wine encyclopedia, Anthony Giglio. He and I will be presenting the cheeses and wines of Ontario (for those not up on your Canadian geography, that would be the province of which Toronto is the capital). For my solo seminar, I’ll be presenting the cheeses and wines of Canada from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island and all points in between. In addition, Heritage BBQ by Cochon 555 will be going international for the first time. Happily, I will be among the so called “celebrity judges” judging the pork creations cooked by five Toronto chefs. Tasty? You bet. If you happen to be going to Toronto (Toronto Film Festival, anyone?) or are already there, then come on down for lots and lots of tasty eats and drinks and a whole lot of fun.
Food and Wine Classic at Aspen
Taking place in one of the country’s most stunning locations, the 33rd annual Food & Wine Classic at Aspen will bring just as many bells, whistles, and famous chefs as every year before. This year, I will be presenting two seminars:
On Friday (and again on Saturday), I’ll be teaming up with Food and Wine’s resident wine expert and senior wine editor, Megan Krigbaum, to present Spanish cheeses, Spanish wines. Megan tastes hundreds of wines a month, just as I do cheeses, so we’ve picked our favorites from the Iberian peninsula areas to present for this very special seminar. Don’t forget your passport! Friday, June 19th, 3:45 – 4:30p and Saturday, June 20th, 3:45 – 4:30p.
On my own, I’ll be leading one of the most happy-making seminars of any kind: American Cheeses and American Wines. I’ve selected far-flung and absolutely delicious American cheeses – ones most people probably haven’t heard of because they’re only sold regionally – and I’m bringing in incredibly special American (and small-production) wines to go with them. Friday, June 19th, 10 – 10:45, Saturday, June 20th, 10 - 10:45
The Chardonnay Symposium
Need an excuse to visit California’s magnificent Central Coast (not that you need one)? Then join me at this match-up of California chardonnay and stellar Wisconsin cheeses at the 2015 Chardonnay Symposium in Pismo Beach, California. This seminar is sure to be pretty spectacular given the fact the winemakers of some of the Golden State’s most iconic wines will be joining me on this panel to educate the group about their wines, lead them in a tasting, and weigh in on my specially-selected pairings. If you love the golden grape, then this entire weekend is for you.
Spring Cheese and Wine
I can’t do any better than the Cheese School’s description of this class, so once again, with blatant plagiarism, here goes: “Come May, foodie hearts’ swoon at the first sights and flavors of Spring. Few of springtime’s pleasures are greeted with as much joy as the wobbly legs and little baa’s of baby goats and lambs. Babies on the farm means milk for cheesemakers. Author and cheese expert Laura Werlin will lead you in a tasting of the first cheeses of the year. She’ll pair her finds with light, lovely wines perfect to celebrate the season.”
Luscious and Creamy Cheeses Across America and the Wines That Love Them
Just as I’ve done in other Cheese School classes, I will plagiarize the their description of my class. I mean, why mess with perfection? “A great brie experience doesn’t require a plane ticket and passport! Cheesemakers stateside are producing ooey, gooey delights across the country. The flavors run the gamut: from sweet and buttery to those of bacon and mushrooms. This class is for cheese lovers who like their cheeses soft and runny. Expert and author Laura Werlin will take you on a tour of America’s gooiest cheeses and introduce you to the wines that love them.”
Pebble Beach Food & Wine
I am thrilled to be returning to this spectacular event located in one of the most beautiful places on earth. This is always a star-studded affair, and this year's event will be no exception (Daniel Boulud, anyone?). As for my role, in honor of National Grilled Cheese month, I am excited to be reprising my favorite grilled cheese and wine seminar. But it won’t be just any wine. Oh no. Instead, it’s the vaunted Taittinger Champagne. Think high-low – grilled cheese and Champagne. Oh yeah. I’ll be partnering with entertainer/Krug Cup winner-Master Sommelier, Shayn Bjornholm, who’s the perfect blend of entertainer and educator. Of course, for me it’s all about the cheese, so I’ll be bringing in some amazing (and Champagne-friendly) cheeses to go in those sandwiches as well as serve on a cheese tasting plate. Cheese and Champagne? Say yes!
I’ll also be serving up mac & cheese for the masses at the Sunday Grand Tasting. This year I’ve chosen to feature my Pizza Mac & Cheese recipe from my book, Mac & Cheese, Please!. Yep – it’s just like it sounds: tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, olives all in mac & cheese form. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Grilled Cheese and Wine Pairing
This class will be nothing short of a cheese extravaganza. In this National Grilled Cheese Month preview celebratory class, we'll have grilled cheese, a cheese tasting plate, and great wines to go with them. But for all the fun this class will be, it's also seriously educational. We'll taste new cheeses, learn the secrets to making great grilled cheese sandwiches, and weave in a few cheese and wine pairing lessons along the way. Can you say f-u-n?
Food and Wine Classic at Aspen
Taking place in one of the country’s most stunning locations, the 32nd annual Food & Wine Classic at Aspen will bring just as many bells, whistles, and famous chefs as every year before.
This year, I will be presenting two seminars:
On Friday (and again on Saturday), I’ll be teaming up with Food and Wine’s resident wine expert and senior wine editor, Megan Krigbaum, to present Mountain Cheeses, Mountain Wines. Megan tastes hundreds of wines a month, as I do cheeses, so we’ve picked our favorites from mountain areas near and far to present for this very special seminar. Don’t forget your passport!
Friday, June 19th, 2:00 – 2:45 and Saturday, June 20th, 2:00 – 2:45
On my own, I’ll be leading one of the most swoon-worthy seminars of any kind: Sparkling Wines and Cheeses. I’m bringing in sparkling wines from all over the world, from Europe to Tasmania to the United States, and I’ll be bringing in their natural cheese pairs (think creamy).
Friday, June 19th, 10 – 10:45, Saturday, June 20th, 10 - 10:45, Sunday, June 21st, 10:30 – 11:45
The Cheese School of San Francisco
The Cheeses and Wines of the Pacific Northwest
Once again I’m going to borrow (ahem) from the Cheese School’s description of my upcoming class. However, I’ll just add (or underscore) that the cheeses and wines of the Pacific Northwest are nothing short of world-class. If you want to be on the cutting edge of cheeses and wines in America, then come to this class. From the Cheese School:
"Rogue, Pholia, Tumalo, and Kurtwood: These are only some of the names setting the Pacific Northwest on fire. If you haven’t yet experienced the cheeses of our neighbors to the North, you are in for a treat. Author and cheese expert Laura Werlin will take you on a tour of her home away from home. You’ll taste the wares of the big players and the delightful cheeses of tiny, local creameries, and pair all of them with exciting new wines from the region. "
Okay, so this may not be a cheese celebration, but for some pork even trumps cheese (though not for me). Nevertheless, this is one of the greatest events anywhere, which is why I have agreed to be a judge for the umpteenth year in a row. Five chefs will compete for the title of regional Cochon champ as they do nose-to-tail cooking, each with one heritage breed pig. The idea? Get as much as they can out of a great-to-begin-with animal to show it the respect it deserves. Your role? Eat what the chefs come up with and vote on it. Whoever wins then goes to the Grand Cochon Championship in Aspen in June to compete with the other regional winners. And did I mention the most incredible hand-picked wines, beers and spirits will be poured too? This is an incredible event. DON’T miss it.
The Cheese School of San Francisco
Spring Cheese and Wine
I can’t do any better than the Cheese School’s own description of this class, so with blatant plagiarism, here goes: “Come May, foodie hearts’ swoon at the first sights and flavors of Spring. Few of the new year’s pleasures are greeted with as much joy as the wobbly legs and little baa’s of baby goats and lambs. Babies on the farm means milk for cheesemakers. Author and cheese expert Laura Werlin will lead you in a tasting of the first cheeses of the year. She’ll pair her finds with light, lovely wines perfect to celebrate the season.”
Pebble Beach Food & Wine
I am thrilled to be returning to this spectacular event located in one of the most beautiful places on earth. This is always a star-studded affair, and this year's event is no exception (think Thomas Keller, anyone?). As for my role, I am excited to be giving a cheese and wine seminar with star Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy from The Little Nell hotel in Aspen, Colorado. I’m bringing in great cheeses from around the world to be paired with the fabulous Santa Barbara County wines.
I’ll also be serving up mac & cheese for the masses at the Sunday Grand Tasting. This year I’ve chosen to feature the Crab and Artichoke Mac & Cheese recipe from my book, Mac & Cheese, Please!. The piece d’ resistance will be a drizzle of Vermont Creamery’s Crème Fraiche. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The Cheese School of San Francisco
As the Cheese School description says, I have a new love: mac & cheese. I’m going to be sharing the love at this class as we taste four different recipes for mac & cheese. We’ll also taste the specially-chosen cheeses that will be in the mac & cheese in their natural form. As if that isn’t enough, we’ll pair those cheeses as well as the mac & cheese dishes with wines to see how it all comes together. Frankly, with those elements, how can it be anything but a slam dunk even if it does necessitate an extra mile on the treadmill the next morning?
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
Hard to believe that this upstart little Festival has become a grown-up one as it celebrates its tenth anniversary. I will return to give attendees a taste (literally) of cheeses they probably haven’t tasted and, of course, will have wines to go with them. (This is a wine and food festival, after all). The four days are chockfull of food and drink events on both land and sea (well, at the dock, anyway), chef appearances, seminars celebrating legendary wine and bourbon houses, bottle auctions, beer tastings, a benefit run (I’ll be donning my running shoes for this one), a (very!) grand tasting, and so much more. Been wanting to go to San Diego anyway? The Festival might be in November, but somehow the sun always shines on it anyway.
Wisconsin Cheese Originals Annual Festival
When writer, teacher, and organizer extraordinaire Jeanne Carpenter started this festival five years ago, she probably had no idea that not only would it take off the minute it got out of the gate, but that five years later it would be bigger and better than ever. But sure enough, when someone as dedicated and competent as she gets behind something, there’s no turning back. I am thrilled to be this year’s keynote speaker as we celebrate all things Wisconsin and American cheese.
If you love cheese, then this is a must-attend Festival. There are tours, cheese dinners, seminars, and my favorite event, Meet the Cheesemakers, where you get to taste cheeses you’ve probably never tasted (let alone heard of) and, as billed, meet the cheesemakers. Plus, this Festival all takes place in the shadow of the Wisconsin state capitol, which is also the site of the famous (infamous) Dane County Farmers’ Market. Two days of all things cheese combined with this market? Absolutely worth the trip.