If one needed any proof, the recent—and very well-deserved—success of American cheeses at the World Cheese Awards competition in Birmingham, UK, bears testament to the meteoric rise of artisanal cheesemaking in the United States over recent years.
The last two decades have seen a remarkable rise both in the number of people embarking on a career in cheesemaking as well as the number of cheeses produced. This fact is borne out in the crucibles of various cheese competitions with huge increases in the number of entries submitted each year. Not only that, but the quality and consistency of the cheeses is constantly improving too.
Yesterday, I attended my second event with Culture: The California Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma, California, what a fabulous event it was.
My eyes were overwhelmed by the selection of cheeses on display. There were towering cliffs of delicious blue from Point Reyes, brand new Wagon Wheel melting cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery, award-winning cheddars from Fiscalini, plenty of creamy goat cheeses from Laura Chenel and of course so much more.
Amongst the stunning array of fine cheeses, I came across some remarkable new finds. Goat milk fudge, wine infused cookies, olive oil chocolate, peanut butter sandwich cookies, mini lemon meringue pies, exclusive olive oils, bacon bread, an exciting new product called “glop” (made from a selection of oils and cheeses), and I was thrilled about bumping into a familiar item that I fell in love with at Cochon 555 – my beloved toffee bacon lollipop! (I bagged myself three little piggies! Does this make me a big piggie?!)