August 10, 2012
On Saturday, August 4th, we attended the “Festival of Cheese” at the 2012 American Cheese Society’s Conference and Competition held in Raleigh, NC. This year’s festival, which is open to the public who purchased a $55 ticket for the 2.5-hour event, featured more than 1,700 cheeses from throughout North America. Vendors also presented a wide array of gourmet foods, wine, and beer.
Having attended last year’s festival in Montreal, we knew what to expect: an overwhelming collection of cheese organized into more than 100 categories from Fresh Unripened Cheese made from cow’s milk to Washed Rind Cheese aged more than 90 days.
Our plan of attack was to sample as many of the blue ribbon winners as we could, but we always end up sampling even the non-winners in categories we most love.
Here they are, the 2012 American Cheese Society Best in Show winners, chosen from out of 1,711 entries and 122 categories:
Best in Show: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Flagsheep, from Seattle, Washington.
3rd Place: Emmi Roth USA Grand Cru® Surchoix, produced in southern Wisconsin in the traditional manner, in large copper vats.
As I posted earlier today, the entire culture crew is in Raleigh, North Carolina, cheesing at the 29th annual ACS conference. In addition to Day Three highlights, we'll have an exclusive on the Best in Show winners (out of 1,711 entries, and 122 categories), just minutes after they’ve been announced, so stay tuned!
Today’s been another whirlwind of seminars interspersed with networking and socializing with friends old and new (and lots of cheese nibbles in between). My favorite seminar thus far was a panel on “Romance & Reality: Translating Cheese Info. For Consumers.” The next time a cheesemonger shoves a sample in your mouth before answering your questions, bear this in mind: sometimes a cheese is so amazing, it defies description. Tasting is often more effective than mere words.
The entire culture crew is in Raleigh, North Carolina, right now, OD’ing on dairy, and I’ve been tasked with providing all y’all with a daily rundown of the 29th annual American Cheese Society conference. Here's a highlights reel for Day One.
Although many of us were in transit August 1st, early arrivals had the option of partaking in additional-fee events such as the Chapel Hill Farm-to-Market tour, a Curds & Beer: Raleigh-Durham Pub Crawl, or, for the truly masochistic, the inaugural Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) exam.
Things really kicked off on Thursday, with a brilliant keynote address by Colorado State University Professor of Animal Science and author Temple Grandin, one of the world’s most accomplished, high-functioning autistic adults.
You may all know this already, but Best of Show at 2011 ACS in Montreal went to Oregon’s Rogue Creamery for Rogue River Blue (www.roguecreamery.com) the 2nd time they’ve taken the blue ribbon home! Second place was shared by Ontario’s Finica Food for their Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar (www.mariposadairy.ca), and perennial winner from Wisconsin, Carr Valley, for Cave Aged Marisa (www.carvalleycheese.com). Third place was Quebec’s Fromagerie du Presbytère for Louis d’Or (www.fromageriedupresbytere.com/. These are all seriously delicious cheeses. It rare to sample Canadian cheeses we, sadly, cannot get here in the US…and to get my hands on limited production cheeses too.