See Here: Images from this Year’s ACS Gathering
It was a bold move for the American Cheese Society to host its annual three-day conference and competition in Montréal this past summer. As the foremost gathering of the North American cheese trade since 1983, as well as a world renowned product competition, the ACS event has always been held in a major city in the United States. Shifting the 2011 venue across the northern border to the Palais des Congrès in downtown Montréal presented the ACS team with a completely new set of logistical hurdles.
Their greatest challenge: how to import, all at once, seven tons of different cheeses from all over the U.S. into Canada and then swiftly to the convention site for judging. (In the heat of summer, no less.) David Grotenstein, chair of the cheese judging and competition, and his team were faced with this unprecedented conundrum. Their solution: Have the 200-plus U.S. cheesemakers ship their 1,000-plus entries to one central point in Plattsburg, New York, where the ACS team created one unbelievably thick and complex customs document. Then the ACS crew packed all the cheeses in a very large eighteen-wheeler and proceeded north to Canadian customs, where, thankfully, entry went as smoothly as a ripe triple-crème.
An army of volunteers received, catalog, and care for every cheese entry in the competition, finally relaying all of them to the judges for two days of cutting, sniffing, poking, prodding, and tasting.
The last day of the conference closed with the Festival of Cheese. Open to the public, this grand finale cheese tasting of the ACS convention showcased more than 1,000 varieties, including cheese stenciled with ash, adorned with greens, and mixed with chocolate.
Below is a collection of images from the entire conference that were published as a photo essay in our 2011 ACS guide insert.
Photography by Allen McEachern