Monday, May 17, 2010

Havarti, Gouda, how are you, other cheesiness

One of the early signs of spring into summer here is the annual Seattle Cheese Festival held in May at the Pike Place Market. Nature herself cooperated on May 15 and 16 by bringing mostly sunny weather on that Saturday and only light morning sprinkles that Sunday. Highlights of my wandering included Black Sheep Creamery and meeting the Cheesemonger himself.

The festival featured cooking demos, grilled cheese contest, cheese seminars, and a cheese concourse on the cobblestones of Pike Place that attracted thousands of cow, sheep and goat cheese fans. Armed with only a baguette fresh from Le Panier, I strolled the concourse on Sunday, darting in and out of the tents and tables without queuing up with the rest of the herds grazing along the path.

The Black Sheep Creamery folks traveled from their southwestern Washington farm to the cheese festival. The fresh sheep cheese I sampled at their table tasted of springtime, lush, verdant pastures dewy with morning rain. According to their website, Black Sheep Creamery cheese is available locally at Beechers and De Laurenti in the Pike Place Market, and Sand Point Metropolitan Market.

Among the many cheesemongers there I met Gordon Edgar, the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge. Edgar knows cheese. For the past 16 years Edgar has sold cheese at the Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in the Mission District in San Francisco. He serves up all you need to know about cheese his way at

Edgar was in town on a Pacific Northwest book tour that included a stop at the Seattle Cheese Festival as well as a reading at the new Elliott Bay Books store on Capitol Hill this past Sunday. His tour continues with Village Books in Bellingham on May 17 at 7 pm, Olympia Food Co-Op at 5 pm and Orca Books at 7 pm in Olympia on May 18 and Square Deal Wine Co. in Portland at 6:30 pm on May 19. When he’s not cheesing it up in San Francisco, Edgar said he loves to visit Seattle and has many cheesy friends here.

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