Friday, September 24, 2010

Close to Home: The Joy of Cheese October Events

Close to Home: The Joy of Cheese October Events

Twenty five years ago when the contemporary American hand crafted cheese movement took flight, its epicenters were in Vermont, the Hudson Valley, northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Three of those four regions continued to innovate at an astonishing pace and now no discussion of the great cheeses of the world is complete without mention of cheeses like Vermont Shepherd, Rogue River Blue, or Humboldt Fog. However until recently cheesemaking close to home seemed to plateau at the rank of interesting but not exactly text-your-friends exciting.

In the last five years or so that has changed dramatically. The cheesemakers at Cato’s Corner in Connecticut make a variety of washed rind cheeses that can stand up against anyone’s. The folks at 3 Corner Field Farms make firm sheep’s milk cheeses that rank among the world’s best, and Valley Shepherd in New Jersey makes such a wide variety of high caliber cheese that they even opened up their own fromagerie in Manhattan to sell them.

The October, The Joy of Cheese events will celebrate this groundswell of extraordinary cheesemaking close to home. In three events we will focus on local cheeses (including some that aren’t even on the market yet).

Without further ado…

October 5 at 7:30 at d.b.a Brooklyn, 113 N. 7th St. (between Berry & Wythe): The Local. Thanks to the fine work of breweries like Brooklyn, Kelso and Captain Lawrence, it’s not news that there is great local beer, but what local cheeses work best with them? This tasting will focus on a delightful series of local cheeses paired with brews from Brooklyn or not far from. I'll present seven extraordinary cheeses (one of them which is not commercially available, and Ray Deter, owner of d.b.a will present seven local brews that we have chosen to match them. It will be a fun way to learn about both. The event will last till around 8:45. Tickets are $25 and available via Brown Paper Tickets,

October 12 at 7:30 at The Clerkenwell, 49 Clinton St. (between Stanton and Rivington): Yes, New Jersey.
No, not New Jersey exclamation point, New Jersey period—several fine creameries have been emerged in the Mid-Atlantic States, and New Jersey is host to the best of them. We will have wondrous bries, washed rind cheeses, tommes, and pecorinos. I’ll present eight cheeses from The Garden State and probably one more that will remain mysterious. Tickets are $25 attendees pay for their beverages separately. Tickets are available at BPT,

October 21 at 7:30 at Culturefix, 9 Clinton St. (at Houston): Old World v. Our World.
Let's get beyond this side of the ocean or that (that’s so 2002). West coast wines have fared just fine in competition against their old world counterparts. American cheeses are routinely included in the mix of great cheeses of the world even in Europe. Let's get more specific: how do the cheeses made close to home compare with their European antecedents? Please join us October 21 at at 7:30 at Culturefix for a comparative tasting of five locally made cheeses versus five of the European cheeses that they are based on. Call it a World Series of cheese. Tickets are $25 and you pay for your drinks separately.

There are also a few spots left for our September 28 cheese and beer event at d.b.a Bklyn and our September 30th cheese and mostly Belgian beer event at Stella Manhattan Bistro.

For all of these events, attendees are welcome to pay cash at the door. I just request that you reserve a spot by e-mailing me at I do all my own prep and my cheese purchases are pegged to the number of attendees I anticipate.

There are also two really really cool 92nd St. Y events in October. On the 14th at 7 Michael Steinberger, wine critic for and I will lead a cheese and wine pairing class. And on October 20 at 7, Maggie Fuller of Beer Ethos and 12% Importers and I will lead a cheese and beer. For tickets visit the 92nd St. site,