As my home state, Washington has a special place in my heart—and if you can get out to the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival this Saturday, September 24, it just might earn one in yours, too! Held at the Seattle Design Center, this year’s festival will feature over 90 cheeses and dairy products.
Washington’s cheese scene has been on the rise for the past few years, and the state now has over 70 cheese producers, most of which you can see on this map (compared to last year’s, you can really see the growth!). Cheeses made in the Northwest are predominantly made from sheep’s and goat’s milk and feature a unique complexity thanks to the generally temperate climate, which offers prime livestock grazing. “With Oregon and Washington, we’re able to work off green grass for a longer period of time,” Steve Jones of Portland’s Cheese Bar told The Stranger. “With green grass, you get a lot more richness and depth of flavor.”
The festival will have a plethora of cheeses to taste as well as pairings with wine, beer, crackers, and chocolates. Some highlights identified by local cheesemongers include a selection of raw milk cheeses from Cascadia Creamery, bloomy-rind goat cheese from Tieton Farm and Creamery, and a signature blue from Twin Sisters Creamery.
If you need more than the promise of artisanal soft-ripened, washed-rind, fresh, and raw-milk cheeses to entice you, come for the cheesy knowledge. Julia Powers of the Peterson Cheese Company will present a seminar titled “Old World meets New World—Washington’s New Traditions in Cheesemaking,” a talk and tasting that will compare classic European cheeses with new cheeses from the state. Garrett Abel, also of the Peterson Cheese Company, will give a tour of the company’s cheese truck during the seminar, a mobile food market that brings specialty cheeses and other gourmet products to restaurants around the Pacific Northwest.
The festival will run from 1 p.m.–5 p.m. at the Seattle Design Center. Click here to purchase tickets ($35 in advance or $40 at the door).
Feature Image Credit: Washington State Cheesemakers Association