The Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival, held on Saturday, April 7th at the Seattle Design Center (Sixth Ave S) showcased some of Washington finest cheesemakers, but also a number of local cider, beer, wine, and artisan food vendors. 21 and over. This event is a benefit for the Cascade Harvest Coalition. http://www.cascadeharvest.org/
There is cheese made from cow, sheep and goat. There is organic, raw, and farmstead. Farmstead cheese is a cheese made from milk from the farmer’s own herd or flock, on the farm where the animals are raised. The types were varied. Cheesemakers came from Tacoma, Seattle, Adna, Winlock, Bow, Chehalis, Vashon, Dayton, Freeland, Eatonville, Port Townsend, Omak, Fall City, Lynden, Twisp, Tieton, Doty, and Darrington. Quite the mix! After tasting many of, but not all, my hands-down favorite is Dinah’s Cheese from Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island http://www.kurtwoodfarms.com/ – excellent quality! Cow/soft-ripened/bloomy/Aged 30 days/Farmstead. Others that I enjoyed were Willapa Hills Cheese (Two-Face and Big Boy Blue), Beechers Handmade Cheese (Flagship), and Backcountry Creamery’s Trailblazer and Camp Chego. Also, Mountain Lodge Farm’s table/display was nicely done as well as their selections…Chevre and Paradise.
For tips on choosing a cheese, you may want to consider the following: kind/texture, rind, and age. And for tips on how to serve and store cheese, check out these sites: http://www.newpi.coop/Products/Cheese/HowtoEnjoyCheese.aspx; http://www.artisanalcheese.com/products.asp?dept=1013
After tasting the 20+ Cheesemakers selections, most can be purchased at the festival cheese shop. Additional drink tickets could be purchased here as well. To try these tasty bites, be prepared to stand in line. A suggestion…”light” live music would be nice as well as maybe to incorporate the artisan cheeses in specialty dishes made by local restaurants. To view the full list of Cheesemakers, Sponsors, Artisan Food, Wine, Beer, and Cider vendors, check out: http://washingtonartisancheese.com/