Hey there cheese peeps! If you live in Wisconsin and you’re looking for a monthly night out, tasting and learning about fine artisan cheese, I’m doing another year-long class series in 2015.
We meet at the Firefly Coffeehouse, a fantastic space that serves as the living room of my town, Oregon, Wis., about 10 minutes south of Madison. Each class includes a tasting and storytelling of artisan cheeses, a glass of complimentary wine, beer or beverage and general merriment. Classes begin at 7 p.m. and are limited to 25 attendees. Each class costs $22 and seats must be reserved in advance. Classes generally sell out two to three months ahead of time. I often have special guest cheesemakers and speakers, too.
I’m offering something special through through January 1, 2015: purchase a season pass to all 12 classes and get two classes for free. Makes the perfect gift for your favorite cheese geek! All classes are of course available for a la carte purchase, too.
Here’s the 2015 line-up:
Cheese 101: Tasting the Eight Categories of Cheese
Start out the year with a refresher course on the eight different types of cheese – fresh, semi-soft, soft ripened, surface-ripened, semi-hard, aged, washed rind, and blue. Learn and taste your way through your very own cheese board of eight American artisanal cheeses, learning the story and characteristics of each.
Relishing the Rind
To eat or not to eat? ‘Tis the age-old question of cheese rinds. Explore the different types of cheese rinds: bloomy, ash, and washed, taste exquisite examples of each, and learn what cheesemakers must undertake to create a beautiful rind.
March Madness: American Originals
The United States is home to some of the most innovative cheesemakers in the world. We’ll taste four original cheeses dreamt up by cheesemakers either through sheer genius or, more often, by mistake. Hear the stories of what it takes to create an award-winning American Original.
U.S. Champion Cheeses
With the United States Championship Cheese Contest held in Wisconsin just one month prior to this class, we’ll taste and learn the stories of four American gold medal winning cheeses.
You Be the (Cheese) Judge
American Cheese Society Judge Patty Peterson from Milwaukee joins this class and walks attendees through an official cheese judging session. She’ll teach the basics, and then let YOU be the judge with a blind tasting, official score sheets, and lots of fun. Taste both Wisconsin and American award-winning cheeses.
American Sheep’s Milk Cheeses
Nutty, rich and rare: sheep’s milk cheeses date back thousands of years, with perhaps the most famous sheep’s milk cheese being Roquefort. Taste four American and International sheep’s milk cheeses and learn what makes this category of cheese extra special.
Brie & Bubbly
Summer is high season for artisan brie and bloomy rind cheeses, as animals are in full milk production mode and cheesemakers have plenty of milk to create luscious, creamy beautiful bloomies for us to enjoy. Taste four brie and camembert-style cheeses and enjoy a glass of bubbly with each!
From chocolate to spiced pecans to honey, more artisan food makers are crafting perfect accompaniments to cheese. We’ll taste four different perfect pairings and learn why certain foods pair better with cheese than others.
Americans are become more sophisticated when it comes to big, bold cheeses that can smell up a room and washed rind cheese is one of the fastest growing categories of artisan cheese. We’ll taste four washed-rind beauties whose bark is often much different than their bite. Get it past your nose, and stinky cheese may just become your new favorite.
Virtual Road Trip: Cheeses of Switzerland
Having just returned from leading a 10-day tour exploring the cheeses of Switzerland, Jeanne will introduce you to four of her new favorite Swiss cheeses and tell the stories of Alpine cheesemaking.
Charcuterie & Cheese
Artisanal cured meats and hand-crafted cheeses are a natural pairing in the world of good food. Taste three original pairings of local, award-winning charcuterie and Wisconsin cheeses.
Ultimate Cheddar Cheese Flight
End the year on a high note, with a vertical cheddar cheese flight. You’ll learn about a new era of Wisconsin Cheddar emerging, with cheesemakers crafting aged and bandaged Cheddars. Taste three aged Cheddars from one to 15 years, as well as a reserve Bandaged Cheddar.
You can purchase tickets online at www.wicheesestore.com. I look forward to seeing you there!