ACS - Cheese As Far As The Eye Could See
I had the opportunity to attend the American Cheese Society Conference earlier this summer in Pittsburgh. The conference, which included several days of interesting and inspired educational seminars, was culminated with the Festival of Cheese. The Festival of Cheese features unlimited samples of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses of every imaginable style and flavor profile from the judging and competition. It’s open to the trade first and then to the general public via paid entry. It’s been a few years since I have represented our company at this conference, and I am impressed by the growth of participation. The last ACS Festival of Cheese I attended included one large banquet table displaying a wide variety of cheeses from American producers. Well, this year I was completely amazed to enter a large trade show hall that included 1900 different varieties of cheese all made by domestic producers. It took a literal army of food stylists and food production people the better part of a full day to lay it all out. Tables were arranged by cheese type, and included dozens of tables for each category of cheese from cheddar to alpine style cheeses. I have never seen anything like it. Although I was like a kid in a candy store, I couldn’t possible sample them all…not even close. I did enjoy sampling many cheeses I hadn’t previously tried, and it was interesting to have the opportunity to try different variations of cheese styles from producers spread throughout our country.
Needless to say, I walked away from this event truly appreciating the amazing growth of domestic cheese production over the last few years. The variety of flavor profiles, quality of consistency, and the depth of flavor available in these American cheese is simply incredible, and proof that cheese making in USA is alive and well.
The ACS Conference moves to a different city every year, so chances are it will be hosted in a city near you. The conference next year will take place from July 31 to August 3, 2019 in Richmond, VA. If you’re interested in cheese, you should mark your calendar, and attend this great event.