§§ The announcement that the American Cheese Society will hold its annual conference in Seattle next year ensures that cheese will continue to be a big news theme in the Pacific Northwest well into 2010.
§§ Despite the recession, the artisan cheese renaissance is moving full steam ahead in the Pacific Northwest. New Northwest creameries opening in 2009 include La Mariposa, Fairview Farm, Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese, Kurtwood Farms and Mystery Bay Farm, among others.
§§ The closure of Oregon Gourmet Cheeses in 2009 marked the loss of a very good cow's milk camembert-style cheese.
§§ Along with the growth of cheesemaking, Northwest cheese shops continued to multiply in 2009. Vancouver, BC's Les Amis du Fromage opened Au Petit Chavignol, a cheese shop and wine bar this year and Seattle looks forward to the imminent opening of Calf & Kid.
§§ Oregon's Tumalo Farms won First Runner up at the US Cheese Championships in March for its Classico, an aged gouda style cheese, thereby putting itself on the map as a serious contender in the industry.
§§ And speaking of awards: Rogue Creamery's signature Rogue River Blue won the prestigious Best in Show award at the 2009 American Cheese Society competition in August. This was the first time a Northwest creamery has taken first place.
§§ Oregon Cheesemongers Steve Jones of Steve's Cheese in Portland and Tom Van Voorhees of Rogue Creamery in Central Point made a big splash this year at the American Cheese Society Conference, taking first place in the Cheesemonger/Retailer competition.
§§ Tillamook Cheese celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. What will today's regional artisan cheese industry look like one hundred years from now?
§§ With interest in artisan cheese at an all time high, more and more people are learning to make cheese at home. Home cheesemaking classes abound in both Seattle and Portland; Claudia Lucero of Urban Cheesecraft in Portland has developed an online business selling cheesemaking kits to feed the growing demand.