A Passion for Authentic Cheese:
Tasting Friday, November 3rd; Saturday, Nov. 4th, and Sunday, Nov. 5th, 2006, 11am-5pm

Cheese, like wine, is a living food, changing as it matures. The characteristics of well-made cheese depend on type of milk, season, region of origin, cheesemaking and aging practice.

Taste cheese and meet experts representing more than 15 companies, free, beginning Friday, November 3rd, and continuing Saturday 11/4 and Sunday 11/5 at all three Central Market stores in the metroplex.

A few highlights:

Taste Long Clawson Dairy Stilton from Leicestershire, England, and Colston Bassett Dairy Stilton from Nottinghamshire, England. Made from pasteurized milk, each Stilton wheel is assessed individually for quality and begins its journey to the store when it is 10-15 weeks old. Neal's Yard selects Colston Bassett Stilton that is made from traditional (animal) rennet. Vermont-based Jasper Hill Farm makes Bayley Hazen Blue from the unpasteurized milk of its herd of Ayrshire cows and ages it 4-6 months. Minnesota-based Faribault Dairy's St. Pete's Select blue-veined cheese is made from unpasteurized milk and aged in sandstone caves that have been used to cure blue cheese since 1936. And taste tangy Wisconsin-made Montchevre's Chevre in Blue, aged 90 days.

Coombe Farm Farmhouse Cheddar from England, made from pasteurized milk, aged 12 months, has a clean, rounded, nutty flavor. Carr Valley Smoked Cheddar made by fourth generation Wisconsin cheesemaker Sid Cook has a lightly smoky flavor. Montchevre Goat Cheddar, Wisconsin-made using goat milk from Wisconsin and neighboring Iowa, has a Cheddar texture with the light tanginess of goat milk. Northern California's Cypress Grove Goat Cheddar is sharp, smooth, complex and nutty, with mild goat overnotes. Montgomery Cheddar made in Somerset, England, with unpasteurized milk and traditional animal rennet has rich, long-lasting, fruity and meaty flavors and a dry texture. When aged over 14 months it can develop crystals.

Look for Fort Worth-based Deborah Rogers from Deborah's Farmstead Goat Cheese. She'll be at Central Market in Dallas on Friday, Plano on Saturday, and Fort Worth on Sunday - in between morning and evening milkings of her 50 goats, and making delicate goat cheese. Dallas-based Mozzarella Company will have tastes of some of our favorites, including the mellow, savory, semi-soft Ancho Chile Caciotta, which fits every occasion and pairs with wines, beers and cider. Mozzarella Company Burrata is a half-pound ball of fresh mozzarella formed around a nugget of sweet cream butter.

Sonoma, CA-based Redwood Hill makes one of the best aged goat cheeses in the United States: California Crottin, and is a role model of sustainability. Siblings Jennifer Bice, Sharon Bice and Scott Bice are leading breeders of the five major breeds of dairy goats in the United States (Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, Saanen and Toggenburg) and participate in the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) Certified Humane Raised and Handled program.

Over the three days each expert, a goldmine for pairing suggestions, will visit each store.

Central Market Dallas 214.234.7000; Plano 469.241.8300; and Fort Worth 817.989.4700.

- Karen Silverston, November 2006