Ig Vella keeps an eye on the creamery!
Another year, another visit to Central Point, Oregon, for the Oregon Cheese Guild’s annual cheese festival which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Rogue Creamery. The tent this year was much bigger and better which seemed to keep the 4,000 cheese lovers from becoming a crush. Like last year, there were all kinds of vendors in addition to cheese: a number of wineries, meats, bread makers, jams, chocolate, beer, soda and tea. There is definitely something for everyone there and I really liked the array of vendors. The festival does a great job of highlighting food purveyors in the Applegate and Rogue Valley — stuff that I don’t see up in Portland. The wine in Southern Oregon is quite good — it’s drier and sunnier down there and you can taste the difference in the kind of grapes they’re producing.
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This will be the second year FUCheese travels down to Central Point for the Oregon Cheese Guild Cheese Festival hosted by Rogue Creamery. This year, we’re going to try to hold back a little bit and not eat the whole thing! We’ll be staying in Ashland so if you have any “don’t miss” restaurants or things to see, please comment! I’m hoping to attend more of the workshops this year and am looking forward to meeting Gordon Edgar and getting a signed copy of his memoir, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge. Tami Parr wrote up an excellent review of his book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
I’ve started up a new blog (Beer + Cheese) with my beer-loving husband and we’ll be posting about cheese and beer pairings plus other great food pairings over there. Last night we went to Steve Jones’ new Cheese Bar and wrote up a little review.
Check it out!
Lake Chelan and vineyard view from Benson Winery
My husband and I went for a long weekend at Lake Chelan in Washington. It’s the shoulder season so the lake was low, the sky overcast and the vast orchards and vineyards bare. However, we had a great time. We did a little cross-country skiing on the last snow of the season at the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area which luckily was just up high enough that the trails were open. It was literally bare dirt all the way up the hill until, suddenly, snow! Then we availed ourselves of the many wineries in the area and had a fantastic time. Cabernet! Viognier! Gewurztraminer! They grow a huge variety of grapes here and are very excited about the new Columbia Valley AVA designation.
To get there, we drove up near Seattle on I-5 and then over, passing through the little Bavarian town of Leavenworth. Did I say Bavarian? Yes, I did. Sometime in the 1960s in an attempt to save their town from financial ruin, some enterprising folks decided that Leavenworth could become a destination. They invented the Bavarian concept and ran with it — all the places on main street are tarted up like hearty Alpine Volkesmarchers with Willkommen! signs and gingerbread filigree and excellent murals. However, they managed to stay just this side of a total Disneyland spectacle and we were pretty charmed by the ingenuity of it all.
On the way into town, I googled up some recommended places to eat and to see if they had a cheese shop. I wouldn’t be writing this post if they didn’t!
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