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Wild Goose Chase: A Cheese Tasting and More

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 14, 2009

I left town to get caught up again. This time I was on sabbatical in San Antonio. The SA food scene has serious menu mojo!

Now for a journey back in time. A gaggle of folks from Wild Goose Creative put together a New Years Festival filled with a diverse range of activities running from December 31st to January 4th. I attended several of their events: a coffee tasting with the owner of Cafe Brioso, a pairing of Buster Keaton and Popeye for Saturday morning breakfast, another breakfast at the new Banana Bean location (Nick spoke about his breakfast blog and I chimed in a bit) on Greenlawn and a few other workshops. The event had a wide array of sponsors – many of them dear to my heart and stomach as shown below.

sponsors

What lured me in was the cheese tasting with Jen Bhaerman from Snowville Creamery. If you have not tried their milk – do so. Got Milk? Well compost it or give it to your cat then get Snowville instead, it is that good. You can find Snowville dairy products at North Market, Hills Market and other select stores.

snowville

Jen provided a packet of information titled The Pleasures of the Curd. This short handout provided a quick overview of cheese fundamentals. As part of the workshop she used several cheeses to hone our taste buds to the four main attributes of cheese – Appearance, Touch, Smell, and Taste. We started with mild cheese and worked our tastes up the flavor spectrum to wild.

Interesting factoid from her handout: Taste buds can detect only five flavors (bitter, salty, sour sweet and (not commonly known) Umani / Savory but the olfactory system can detect about 10,000 different aromas. So smell is critical to the tasting experience. Hmm, so why do I like stinky cheese so much?

cheese tasting

Jen knows her cheese and she works for a great company. Another bonus is she formerly worked for one of my favorite cheesemakers Cowgirl Creamery.

These are the cheeses we tried (photos not in order):

Twig Farm Goat Tomme

A raw milk aged goat cheese from Vermont. My favorite of the samples.

cheese 1

Oakvale Gouda

An aged cheese from just west of Columbus. Gouda..good.

cheese 2

Vermont Shepherd

Another raw, aged sheep’s milk cheese. Award winning and pleasing to my palate. Who told Jen I am a chupacabra of goat cheese?

La Chaux Doux (no link)
A washed rind cow’s milk cheese from a Fromagerie in Switzerland. This is a pungent, runny cheese that the group either loved or hated. I like stinky cheeses and found this paired well with the Gouda on a cracker.

cheese 3

Bayley Hazen Blue

A cow’s milk cheese made in Vermont using an English recipe, how is that for diversity? Jasper Hill Farm is a renown cheesemaker in a state that fields a lot of competition – we benefit from the high standards these cheesecrafters hold.

A guest also provided two additional cheeses from Bobolink Farm in New Jersey. Unfortunately, I did not note what they were.

 Jen B

Jen does practice what she teaches – the photo above shows her sampling cheese – it is great to lead by example.

I think we can expect to see Jen in the future, maybe I can talk her into doing a tasting or two for Slow Food Columbus…stayed tuned.

Wild Goose Creative offers several food related events throughout the year. A taste of what is to come includes:

Whiskey Tasting at Mac’s Cafe – January 26th

Too Many Cooks: Pattycake Bakery – February 1st
See how vegan baking can taste so good.
(For reasons why you want to go to this event listen to Columbus Foodcast Episode 21)

Too Many Cooks: Northstar Cafe – March 1st
Learn some of the secrets of Northstar’s kitchen. If they show how to make one of their peanut cookies or the veggie burger I am in.

Check out the Wild Goose Creative web site for more details.

3 Responses to “Wild Goose Chase: A Cheese Tasting and More”

  1. Amanda said

    This is awesome!!!!🙂 Thanks Jim!🙂

  2. favorfan said

    I followed the link to Bobolink farm, as it was from NJ, and I’d never heard of it.
    I found the website interesting, especially the thoughts about career places in agriculture and food production for young people with disabilities. Thank-you.
    I am the same ‘loyal reader’, but have had to register a new user name for wordpress.
    I suggested the wordpress blog to a group so that we didn’t have an underused website.
    We’ve been asked to get user names so that we can contribute.

  3. Nick said

    Great post and description of the cheese tasting. It was awesome to hear Jen share her expertise. I was a big fan of the gouda, too. And while I typically don’t like “stinky” cheeses, I really enjoyed some of the more pungent offerings at the tasting.

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