Know Your Farmer, Know Your Cheesemonger, Know Your Cheese! 4th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

April 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm


Try this test, buy some cheese sitting in that large freezer case, full of chunks of cheese wrapped tightly with saran wrap, that looks pricewise as a good deal and then buy the same cheese from a reliable cheesemonger like Pastoral Artisan or Provenance Food and Wine. Go home and taste both, you will taste a difference, really you will!!! Whether it be soft or hard cheese, cheese is a living product that ages much like wine aging in a bottle and how that cheese is maintained while it is on the shelf makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN TASTE!!!

You don’t believe me? Well, this weekend is your chance to meet farmstead producers in person at the Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival at the downtown French Market this Saturday from 11am to 3pm and it is FREE!! You can taste cheese, ask questions, find out how cheese is made, what the taste difference is between sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheese and there will be lots of other producers to go along with that cheese, beer, wine, charcuterie and more.

I have referenced the book, Goat Song by Brad Kessler previously on The Local Beet. For anyone wanting to learn more about the farmstead cheese process, what the difference between chèvre, tommes, croutons and brebis are? What does transhumance mean? This book is well written, captivating and chock full of information about the process of making cheese.

As an aside, Pastoral is particpating in the “Adopt An Alpprogram, “We adopted an Alp and in return we are delivered these beautiful alpage cheeses made according to the ancient practice of transhumance.” The cheese is called alpkaese, “This cheese is made from milk gathered as the cows graze the pastures of Alp Kohlschlag up to an altitude of 6400 feet above sea level. Transhumance is the ancient practice of grazing animals in high pastures in summer and moving them to lower pastures in winter. The cheese reflects the true terroir(taste of the land), the grasses and flora of the mountain.

Since it isn’t the easiest to fly off to Switzerland to taste cheese in the alps, the Producer Festival gives you a chance to taste cheese, many of the cheeses from the farms here in the midwest, across the US and Europe. In most cases you can meet the farmers themselves. Most of all, you can find out for yourself how cheese that is maintained well by a knowledgable cheese monger tastes so MUCH BETTER!!! Remember, know your farmer, know your cheesemonger and eat great cheese!!

(The author does not work for Pastoral or was paid by Pastoral to write this, she just really loves good cheese!)