Thursday, June 21, 2012

Minnesota Cheese Festival Favorites

I had no idea the Minnesota Cheese Festival would be such a hit on June 3.  I arrived a couple hours into the event with 3,000 other people.  I waited in line 45 minutes before getting my first sample; others were not so patient.  I used the time to catch up on Twitter, Scoop.It, and chatted with other friendly cheese lovers.  If you missed it on Twitter, here are my favs from the event:

  • Caves of Faribault's St. Pete's Gorgonzola- Creamy with one of the deepest and sharpest blues I have ever tasted, and was gone within a week!  I loved it in a salad with some pears or apples, or with some wonderful water crackers.
  •  Shepherds Way's Friesago- A wonderful semi-hard sheep's milk cheese with a nutty flavor.
  • Stickney Hills' Cranberry Cinnamon Feta Spread-  I can picture munching on this during our annual apple picking day.
  • Saxton's Chedar- By far my favorite cheddar of the day, very dense and not too sharp.
  • Nordic Creamery's- I wan't a fan of the cheese, but their garlic basil butter is amazing on grilled corn and garlic bread so far!
  • Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods' Nut Brown Ale Caerphilly- I hate beer, but these cheese with veins of beer soaked curds was delicious.

I had over 70 samples from the various providers and scribbled down notes in my cheese journal.  In addition to the cheese, there were a few other vendors that compliment cheese very well, such as wine, olive oil and my favorite ZZest Market with all their dried fruits and crackers.  If you have never been to ZZest in Rochester, MN, it is worth the drive for the specialty market and amazing dinner! I also learned the makers of 1919 root beer, which I love, also make fruit sodas.  Overall I hope it was a success for everyone involved, that the organizers learned for next year, and that it continues for years to come.  

1 comment:

  1. I meant to go this, darn. Nice report. I took an intro cheesemaking class from Jodi of Shepard's Way at Egg|Plant in St. Paul last year. Can't wait to give it a try!