Oregon-inspired culinary events, including a farmer's market-style artisan food and wine festival will kick off with the Meet the Cheesemakers and Winemakers Dinner at the Oregon Cheese Festival during the third weekend in March 2013.
Class 1: 11am -12pm
Amanda Parker, Regional Director of Sales and Merchandising at Murray’s Cheese
Fabulous Cheeses and Perfect Condiments: A Great Pairing
Traveling the country, Amanda has discovered the amazing foods that are offered in the Pacific Northwest. It is rare to find such a large food culture dedicated to local producers making pairing opportunities endless! Amanda’s class will present a look at the many possible combinations between Oregon Artisan Cheeses and Oregon condiments.
Class 2: 1pm – 2pm
Chester Hastings, Chef and Writer
Cooking with the Great Artisan Goat Cheeses of Oregon
Chester will prepare several new dishes featuring combinations of Oregon Artisan Goat Cheeses with assorted fruit and nut accompaniments. Some of these tasty recipes can be found in his new book, The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen, from Chronicle Books.
Class 3: 3pm – 4pm
Beer and Cheese: Together at Last!
Cheesemakers and Brewmasters discuss their relationships and stories about working together to create unique beer cheeses. The beer and cheese pairings will be available for tasting and voted on by the audience as well Chester Hastings, our special featured guest, Steve Jones, Owner of Portland’s Cheese Bar and ACS Best Cheesemonger Award Winner, and Amanda Parker, Regional Director of Sales and Merchandising at Murray’s Cheese. Featured partnerships will include Rogue Creamery and Rogue Ales, Tumalo Farms and Deschutes, and Pholia Farm and Wild River.
At the festival on Saturday March 16, thousands of visitors will sample cow, sheep and goat cheese from Oregon creameries, including Juniper Grove Farm, Pholia Farm, La Mariposa Creamery, Mama Terra Microcreamery, Ochoa Creamery, Tumalo Farms, Tillamook County Creamery, Willamette Valley Cheese Co., Fern's Edge Goat Dairy, River's Edge Chevre, Briar Rose Creamery, Oak Leaf Creamery, Portland Creamery, Rogue Creamery and many others.
Held under one large tents at Rogue Creamery's Central Point facility, the ninth annual festival will invite guests to shake hands with cheesemakers and other artisans. Children's activies are scheduled including games, worksheets and limited giveaways.
"The farmer's market format will present an interactive experience between cheesemakers and visitors, giving everyone an opportunity to talk about the product, the process and learn each individual cheesemaker's story," says David Gremmels, owner with Cary Bryant of Rogue Creamery. "It's a way to truly be connected with the source of the cheese being presented."
Southern Oregon and other local culinary artisans and beverage providers who are expected to participate include Lillie Belle Farms, Rogue BBQ, Gary West Meats, Applegate Valley Artisan Breads, Butte Creek Mill, Cupcake Daily, Marshmallow Heaven, Slagle Creek Vineyards, Rosella's Vineyard, Quady North, Longsword Vineyard, Ledger David Cellars, South Stage Cellers, Spangler Vineyards, Serra Vineyards, Grizzley Peak Winery of Ashland, Caprice Vineyards, Pryenees Vineyard and Cellars, Willamette Valey Vineyards, Crater Lake Cellars, Hot Lips Soda, Clear Creek Distillery, Standing Stone Brewing Company, Oakshire Brewing and Rogue Ales. Samples and/or sales will be offered at each booth.
To commence the festival, a sumptuous meal introducing guests to participating artisans will be held at the historic Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland Friday night, March 15 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The dinner is held for the benefit of the non-profit 501(c)(6) Oregon Cheesemaker Guild (limited seating available). Each course will spotlight a cheese made by one of the festival's artisans paired with a local wine.
"The event will give the public a chance to have an intimate conversation with the experts at an elegant dinner at the Ashland Springs prepared by their excellent culinary team," says Gremmels. "On Friday afternoon, cheesemakers will collaborate to create the most fabulous cheese plate imaginable. The phenomenal result will greet guests at the evening's commencement dinner."
The Oregon Cheese Festival will be open to the public Saturday, March 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Rogue Creamery, 311 North Front Street, Central Point, Oregon.
A $15 entry fee includes tastings and demonstrations; children under 12 years of age are admitted at no cost. A $5 wine tasting fee includes a commemorative wine glass with the Oregon Cheese Guild logo. Tickets to the dinner are $95 per person (seating is limited), and are available by calling 866-396-4704. For more information contact the Oregon Cheese Guild website at www.OregonCheeseGuild.org, Rogue Creamery at 866-396-4704 or www.RogueCreamery.com
Our special guest this year will be Chester Hastings, the author of the James Beard Nominated cookbook, The Cheesemonger's Kitchen from Chronicle Books. With 20 years of professional chef experience, Hastings has traveled extensively throughout Western Europe and the United States exploring the culinary world. Currently, Hastings is a chef at his family owned and operated gourmet food emporium, Joan's On Third, located in Los Angeles, where he has been instrumental in the creation of its celebrated cheese counter. Hasting's culinary experience and vast knowledge of cheese will be sure to surprise.
The festival would not be possible without the generous support of the City of Central Point, Travel Medford, the Dairy Farmers of Oregon, Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, Rogue Ales, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine and the members of the Oregon Cheese Guild.