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Fred Eckhardt & Rogue – 10 cheeses, 10 beers

Samplers Killed

Okay, not to beat a drum but we went to another cheese and beer tasting event last night and it was EPIC. Going in knowing that the menu would include 10 pairings, I was a bit intimidated. Luckily, both the beers and cheeses were more on the mellow side, lighter beers without super complex flavors and cheeses that were all unique but none that really knocked your palette out. We also sampled Rogue’s new whiskey which was pretty darn good as whiskey goes. I could definitely see taking it on a camping trip which is my metric for tasty whiskey.

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Cheese Plus Beer

So, the Mister and I are big beer fans around here. He has been homebrewing for a couple years and I swear that he has never made a bad beer. There has been one or two strange beers but nothing undrinkable. In fact, most of them have been highly drinkable! When I started getting interested in making cheese I felt like there was some kind of crossover potential there. They both relate to the science of applied heat. They both relate to farm life — beer is made from grains, cows eat grains and grasses. But, obviously, these are tenuous connections. The light came on, though, when I started reading about pairing cheese with beer.

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“Get the Cheese!!!”

This is one of the most insane, hilarious, painful things I have seen in a long time. Apparently this is a real event held on the incredibly steep Copper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, England. It’s like Jackass meets… uh, cheese!

You can find out more about the annual Gloucester “Cheese Rolling and Wake” on their webpage.

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Seattle Cheese Festival Recap

Nicole and I have eagerly been anticipating the Seattle Cheese Fest since we decided we would volunteer back in March. Finally, the weekend arrived and we headed up to Seattle. We stayed with Nicole’s lovely sister and boyfriend who have a sweet apartment in Ballard. Friday night we treated ourselves to some Serious Pie and now I have a very deep crush on that place. Not only were the pizzas excellent and our appetizers delicious but the desserts were sublime. It’s a good thing that I’m already married because their cannoli was amazing. If you’ve been, you know. If you haven’t been, put it on your list already!

We got up bright and early and stumbled over to Cafe Besalu for some excellent coffee and fantastic pastries, I had the pear galette and Nicole had the strawberry, fresh from the oven. I love Seattle!! Then we made our way down to Pike’s Place Market. I had not realized when we volunteered that it would be at the Market and when that dawned on me I realized that this was going to be whole different beast.

Bluebird Day

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Seattle Cheese Festival Coming Up!

This weekend, May 16-17, at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle is the fifth annual Seattle Cheese Festival. There will be hundreds of different cheeses from local and international cheesemakers. There will also be bakers, preserve-makers, smoked meats, a wine garden and lots of other goodies. The event is free (though they accept donations) and cheese will also be for sale. Nicole and I are volunteering at the cheese concourse Saturday morning so if you see us, say, “Hi!” Right now the forecast is sunshine for the weekend so don’t miss out!

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Hard Cheese Class at Kookoolan Farms

Sometime last year, Sarah had scoped out that there was a place called Kookoolan Farms doing cheesemaking classes. They are $50 which isn’t a bad price at all but not so low that you wouldn’t think twice about it. We all agreed that we were interested and have been keeping an eye on the schedule. I saw that they had a Hard Cheese class for March and decided to go. Due to schedules, I was the only one of our group that could make it but I’m so glad I did.

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Pholia Farms

Passion is a word that gets bandied about a lot in artisanal food circles. While it is easy to taste the passion that these craftspeople put into their foods, farms, and lifestyles, it is a rare opportunity for those of us living the more urban lifestyle to get out and see it in action.  That is why after a delicious day at the Oregon Cheese Guild Cheese Festival and another dry, warm night in our yurt we were off for what, to me, was a major highlight of our southern oregon cheese weekend, Pholia Farm’s Open House.

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Oregon Cheese Guild Cheese Festival

Beware: big, big writeup comin’ at ya!

Back at the beginning of the year, FUCheese made some general goals and we all agreed that we really wanted to go to more cheese events and meet more makers of cheese. Since we’d really only scratched the (delicious) surface of the cheese world, we were really wanting to broaden our horizons and get a better understanding of what our region had to offer. Amazingly and luckily, the Pacific Northwest has a lot to offer! We noted that the Oregon Cheese Guild was putting on a festival in March at the Rogue Creamery. My husband and I had such a good time visiting the Creamery last August that I was eager to go back again. Nicole and I started looking into accommodations since Central Point, Oregon, is a good five-hour drive from Portland, and discovered yurt rentals at Valley of the Rogue State Park. The price was right — $27/night — and we love camping so we made the reservation. Our friends Jen and Linnea decided to join us and we headed down Friday afternoon with a car loaded with camp gear and sleeping bags.

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Thank you!

Creamery Signage

We just got back from a weekend down in southern Oregon attending the Oregon Cheese Guild Cheese Festival held at the Rogue Creamery in Central Point and an open house at Pholia Farms, a dairy producing wonderful goat cheeses in Rogue River, Oregon. It was a fantastic weekend, packed with cheese and wine and wonderful people. Before we start sorting through our photographs and organizing a writeup, we wanted to thank some really wonderful people….

First off, the festival was amazing — very organized — and all the cheese producers and winemakers brought delicious products and were so enthusiastic about what they were making. It was incredibly informative and a lot of fun.

David and Cary, co-owners of the creamery — thank you for answering our questions and arranging a tour for us, you took the event from great to truly memorable and it was a delight and honor to meet you.

Cheesemaker Craig Nelson and Anna Campbell for the informative and entertaining tour of the plant. You’ll always be Captain Cheddar to us!

Vern and Gianaclis Caldwell at Pholia Farms for touring us around and answering our questions about home cheesemaking, living off the grid and chasing goats.

Last but not least, it was fantastic to meet Bret Gilmore of Madrone Mountain Vineyard, if he’s not the King of Applegate Valley then he’s certainly the Court Jester.

More writeup to follow….

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2009 Blog for Food Campaign

The Oregon Food Bank serves the people of Oregon and Clark County, Washington, and has seen record levels of need over the past year. The best thing we can do to help is support the cause with funding. Blog for Food is a campaign running through the month of February 2009 to get food bloggers and lovers of food to donate to the cause. With your contribution the Oregon Food Bank can support over 340 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. They provide emergency foods to individuals and families and support the elderly and children. No one should go hungry surrounded by so much bounty. Support the effort by donating funds through the Oregon Food Bank’s online donation system and make a note that you are supporting the “Blog for Food” food drive. You can also send a check to:

Oregon Food Bank
PO. Box 55370
Portland, OR 97238-5370
*mention “Blog for Food” in the check memo

You can also bring donations of food to Saraveza which is serving as a drop-off site for canned goods. Saraveza is located at 1004 N. Killingsworth, in Portland. For more information on what types of foods the Oregon Food Bank is looking for, go to their website. They stress, however, that any foods can be put to good use.

For more information and a list of all the participating bloggers, please check out Pacific Northwest Cheese Project who are the organizers of this drive. Please don’t wait — donate today!

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