5 Things I Learned at a Cheese Conference
Our Cheese Buyer, Cheryl-Ann, recently made the voyage down to Sacramento, the so-called “Farm-to-Fork Capital of the United States”, for the annual American Cheese Society (ACS) Conference. All walks of cheese life, from farmers to dairy retailers, made it out to this artisan affair. Cheryl-Ann sat down to reflect on a few things she learned on her cheese escapade.
1. We ate a lot of cheese
It was a week full of educational tastings and informational panel discussions which means we ate a lot of cheese! At the festival of cheese we had the opportunity to try 750 different cheeses that were part of this year’s judging
2. There’s amazing creameries tucked in our backyard
We have a lot of cheese makers right here in Washington that we did not even know existed. Cherry Valley Dairy in Duvall, WA won two awards and we did not even know about the creamery until we went to Sacramento.
3. There’s an art to a good pairing
I did a few educational tastings that taught me how to really pair beer and cheese, as well as wine and cheese. And not all items pair well together automatically.
4. The ACS is young and growing
The society is a fairly new nonprofit organization, starting in 1983, and it’s membership is growing every year. There were well over 1,000 cheese enthusiasts this year in attendance
5. There’s an official cheese test to become a Certified Cheese Professional
The ACS has organized the Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam (CCPE) – the only exam of its kind . It was established to encourage improved standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service, offering professionals in the cheese industry the opportunity to earn the distinguished title of ACS Certified Cheese Professional™. Candidates take the test electronically with a maximum of 3 hours to answer 150 multiple choice questions.
We are so proud to carry many of the award winning cheeses from ACS! Here’s a complete list this year’s winners you can pick up in our stores:
Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog
Sierra Nevada Cheese Company Organic Raw Milk Monterey Jack
BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella
Cypress Grove Chevre Truffle Tremor
Willamette Valley Cheese Company Cumin Gouda (Coming Soon!)
Rondele Garlic & Herbs Light
Willamette Valley Cheese Company Boerenkaas
Vermont Creamery Creme Fraiche