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You'd think that Madison would have had a cheese shop devoted to the spectacular cheeses being made in Wisconsin and the rest of the United States and world, but it hadn't happened until now. Ken Monteleone has done it by opening Fromagination, a store dedicated to cheese artisans and others who handcraft their product and celebrate the art of making, not just the art of eating. They're also the go-to people for pairings with cheese, whether wine, beer, olives - you name it. I can't wait to see the store first-hand, where I'll be toasting to Ken and his "imagination," (get it? Fromagination, imagination? okay, I'll stop), and signing a few books too. Please stop by and see this newest paean to cheese.
12 South Carroll
DeGustibus Cooking School at Macy's
There are many special places to teach classes about cheese, but few rank as high as DeGustibus Cooking School. Come join me for an afternoon of cheese education in the Big Apple (how appropriate for a cheese class, no?) and lots and lots of cheese tasting. By the end, you will be able to walk into Whole Foods, down to Murray's Cheese Shop, up to Fairway Market, Zabar's, or any place you buy cheese throughout the country or even the world, and identify the general flavors in all the cheeses you see even if you've never tasted them before. Sounds too good to be true? Come see.
All American Cheese and Wine Pairing
Get ready for round three of the all American cheese and wine pairing class. This time, though, we'll get into the nitty gritty of how you can choose cheeses on your own, American and otherwise, and of course, we'll talk (and taste) cheeses and wines and learn how to put them all together.
350 Bay Street
Come to "EnoVersity," at oENOlogy, Chicago's newest paean to wine, cheese (and chocolate!), where resident sommelier Laurel Sandberg and I will team up to teach cheese and wine pairing. Naturally, we'll be featuring some pretty extraordinary cheeses and wines in the elegant wine cellar-like setting. Located in the downtown Hotel InterContinental, this class is sure to be fun and educational, not to mention a great place to learn about cheese and wine. Class is only an hour, so plan to stay afterward for more cheese, wine, and chocolate fun.
I'll share a few Cheese Essentials with St. Louis television anchors during the noon show (12:40pm). Tune in if you're in the area.
Foster & Dobbs
Come to northeast Portland and to one of the area's best cheese shops for a class and tasting on, you guessed it - cheese essentials. Foster & Dobbs is just another way of saying "integrity" for owners Luan Schooler and Tim Wilson are all about supporting individuals and families who have a passion for quality and flavor in their products. The cheeses they carry are excellent examples, but their other gourmet food products are equally well chosen. We'll be tasting some of those hand-picked cheeses and learning guidelines for pairing them with some great Pacific Northwest wines.
2518 NE 15th Avenue
Zupan's (Burnside location)
I am thrilled to be hosted by one of Portland's best known and most loved specialty foods stores, Zupan's. I will be joined at the Zupan's Burnside location by the Zupan's in-house cheesemonger and wine steward, who will be cooking up informal cheese and wine pairings. Of course, I'll be there signing books and talking cheese.
2340 West Burnside
The Wedge, Portland Farmers Market
What better than an event whose focus is cheese? The Wedge festivities get underway Friday night when several Portland-area specialty foods markets will be hosting cheesemakers, who'll be offering samples of their cheese. The serious cheese events begin in earnest in the morning at the Portland Farmer's Market with demonstrations and lectures. Join me to learn about "cheese essentials" from 1 to 2:30. In this workshop, you will be tasting cheeses that represent each of the eight styles of cheese, which will be your key to understanding all cheeses. We'll then go back through those cheeses, only this time we'll be pairing them with wines from the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, I will impart my guidelines for pairing cheese and wine.
Paley's Place Cheese Dinner
James Beard award-winning chef and die-hard cheese fan, Vitaly Paley, will be cooking up a special cheese-focused dinner at his extraordinary restaurant, Paley's Place. Vitaly is creating a multi-course family-style dinner in which cheese will play a role in each course. I will be on hand to talk cheese, sign books, and enjoy some of Vitaly's creations, some of which will be inspired by the recipes in my new book. If you live in the area, please plan to come to dinner. I assure you, with Vitaly at the stove, you're in for a special evening. Plus, I'd love to meet you!
1204 NW 21st Avenue
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Few places are as exciting to teach as Beecher's Handmade Cheese. First of all, Beecher's make the award-winning Beecher's Flagship cheese and Flagship Reserve cheese. The Reserve just got first-runner up in the American Cheese Society annual competition. Not bad for a competition boasting 1,200 cheeses. More than that, Beecher's, located at the famous Pike Place Market, has become a must-visit for any cheese loving Seattle visitor because of the magnificent array of cheeses sold there as well as the opportunity to watch them make cheese through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Their nearby classroom is a perfect place to impart all kinds of cheese information, which is what I'll be doing this evening. Join me for my two-hour class where I'll be teaching "cheese essentials" through an extensive tasting followed by a cheese and wine pairing journey in which you will get even more cheese paired with Pacific Northwest wines.
104 Pike Street (corner of 1st and Pike)
One block from Beecher's Handmade Cheese in the Pike Place Market
Out and About Rockridge
For several years, Rockridge Market Hall - that magnificent food emporium in Oakland's Rockridge District - has been hosting the Market Hall Street Fair and Picnic. They're doing it again, only the entire Rockridge District Association has gotten involved. That means that from noon until 6, College Avenue will be blocked off between Claremont Avenue and Lawton to make room for abundant food offerings, three performance stages, several craft booths, and well, because this is northern California, a healing tent too. Just as in previous years, local cookbook authors will be on hand to sign their books, and lucky for me, I'm one of them. Come say hi between 1:30 and 3pm. But if it's just food you're after, you'll find the Market Hall merchants clustered around the 5600 block of College, just south of Shafter.
Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta
If you like wine; if you like cheese; if you like good food; and if you have always wanted to see Santa Fe, do NOT miss this spectacular event. The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is unquestionably one of my favorite events all year, and I know that executive director, Greg O'Byrne, has some amazing things in store for this, the Fiesta's 17th year. I'll be doing a cheese and wine seminar with wine man extraordinaire, Tim Gaiser. This year, "Say Sí to Spanish and Portuguese Cheeses and Wines" on Wednesday, September 26th. On Thursday, I'll be teaching at the renowned Santa Fe School of Cooking. There, I'll take attendees through "cheese essentials" and will also impart guidelines for pairing cheese and wine through tasting. Saturday is the always-fun Grand Tasting, where New Mexico chefs try and out-do each other with some of the best eats I've ever had at this type of event.
This is Slow Food International's must-see-to-believe bi-annual event held in Bra, Italy. The entire town of Bra is taken over by cheese from all over the world. The seminars are packed with cheese-and information-hungry people, and the atmosphere of the entire event is one of excitement and revelry. If you love cheese, do NOT miss this event. It's the best excuse you'll ever have to go to Italy and to the town that not only knows how to celebrate cheese but is also the gateway to arguably the world's best wine region, the Piemonte.
Traverse Epicurean Classic
I will join many of my fellow foodies in one of the most beautiful parts of the country for the fourth annual Traverse Epicurean Classic. Billed as "A Celebration of Wine & Food Artisanship," the Traverse Epicurean Classic is just in its fourth year, but it's an event that is fast becoming a hot food and wine destination. I can think of no place I'd rather give a cheese and wine seminar, which is, of course, what I'll be doing. No doubt, a few products from the local area will appear at my seminar, and I'm not just talking cheese. This part of Michigan is known for all types of fruit, including special cherries, to name just one. Mark your calendar and plan your trip now.
American Cheese Society Annual Conference
The American Cheese Society once again holds its annual conference celebrating American cheesemakers. What better place than Burlington, located in the heart of the state that's making some of the most exciting strides in cheesemaking anywhere in the world. Home of the new Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese www.uvm.edu/viac, the Vermont Cheese Council (www.vtcheese.com), and many other cheese related entities, Burlington is the perfect place for the hundreds of cheesemakers, retailers, distributors, chefs, and enthusiasts to convene. Keep checking back here and the American Cheese Society website for more details. In the meantime, book your flights and hotels so you won't be shut out!
Food & Wine Classic at Aspen
Once again, I'm thanking my lucky stars to be part of this fantastic event, held in my favorite above sea level city. This year is Food & Wine magazine's 25th anniversary in Aspen, so the Classic promises to be even more spectacular than ever before (if that's possible).
This year, I will be joined by Brian Duncan, wine director at Chicago's fantastic Bin 36 restaurant (www.bin36.com), for The Cheese Course seminars, being held at 2pm on Friday and Saturday. I'll continue with the cheese theme in a couple of solo stints featuring "The World's Best Cheeses." These will be held at 3:30pm on Friday and Saturday, following The Cheese Course seminars. Be sure to join me at both my seminars for this veritable cheese (and wine) extravaganza, which are, of course, punctuated by wine tastings throughout the day and long into the night as only the Classic can offer. Check out the website for registration and seminar locations as well as a whole lot of other Classic information.
New York Wine & Culinary Center - Educational Theater
Join me in this amazing new facility celebrating food, wine and agriculture on beautiful Lake Canandaigua, one of upstate New York's famous Finger Lakes. I will be doing two cooking demonstrations, all incorporating cheese (of course). What better way to spend part of your Memorial Day weekend than learning about and eating cheese?
Seattle Cheese Festival
I, along with Seattle's Beecher's Handmade Cheese founder, Kurt Dammeier (www.beechershandmadecheese.com), will be conducting a focused cheese and wine seminar exclusively centered on Pacific Northwest cheeses and wines as part of the third annual Seattle Cheese Festival. This cheese festival is a don't-miss for anyone that loves cheese and wants to learn more about it through nonstop tasting and educational seminars.
American Cheese and Wine
If you missed the February class, now's your chance for a make-up class. This magnificent school, devoted entirely to the best food on the planet, is a great place to go to learn everything you ever wanted to know about, what else? Cheese. I will be trotting out some great American cheeses and fabulous wines to go with them. If the last class is any indication, this one is sure to be full of fun, laughter, and of course, education of the best kind.
California Butter and Cheese Association
What better audience than a group of butter and cheese people to talk to about cheese and wine? The esteemed organization will be holding its 42nd annual convention this year at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek in Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, and I'm lucky enough to get to join them this year. Check out their site and the organization itself. Maybe you're even eligible to become a member.