If you're in the Seattle area Saturday, or can find a way to get there, consider attending the Festival of Cheese. It's your chance to attend the cheese party of the year right here in the Pacific Northwest. And putting 'the' in italics is really not enough to convey the gravity and magnitude of this event...so read on. As you may have already heard, the American Cheese Society, the national trade organization for the cheese industry, is holding its annual conference this week in Seattle. While most of the week will be occupied with various members-only seminars and galas, on Saturday night the conference is sponsoring the Festival of Cheese, and it's open to everyone.
This is much, MUCH more than a stiff cocktail party with painful mumbled conversation....organizers have developed a grand bash that will involve several parts: first, the competition awards ceremony, where you can watch some lucky cheesemaker receive the Best in Show award, as well as witness the progression of awards from the various categories that comprise the competition. Then comes the opportunity to sample competition cheeses (over 1,400 entered this year!), free bites from Seattle chefs, and beer and wine to wash it all down. You can see the competition winning cheeses up close and personal, sample them and meet a good number of cheesemakers themselves! This is also a great chance to try cheeses from all over the country that you may have heard of but have never had the opportunity to try because the producers are small and regional and production doesn't get far from the source. And just think - all of the cheese industry folk will be punchy after a long conference week, so who knows what you might witness - hotel lampshades on heads, spontaneous break dancing, all sorts of mayhem and food world tabloid fodder is possible.
But I digress. Tickets are $85 per person and include access to more cheese than you have probably seen (or will ever see again) in your lifetime and lots of good food and wine - what a bargain!
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