Looking for a monthly night out, tasting and learning about artisan cheese? Wisconsin Cheese Originals announces its new 2016 American Artisan Cheese Series.
Each class includes a tasting and storytelling of artisan cheeses with Cheese Geek Jeanne Carpenter, American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional and author of CheeseUnderground.com. Attendees also enjoy a glass of complimentary wine, beer or beverage. Meet each month at the Firefly Coffeehouse, 114 North Main Street in downtown Oregon, Wis., 10 minutes south of Madison.
Classes are on Sundays at 6 p.m. and are limited to 25 attendees. Each class costs $22 and seats must be reserved in advance at www.wicheeseclass.com.
Special offer through January 1, 2016: purchase a season pass to all 12 classes and get two classes for free. The perfect gift for your favorite cheese geek!
January 10 - Cheese 101: Taste the Eight Categories of Cheese
Start out the year with a refresher course on the eight different types of cheese - fresh, semi-soft, soft ripened, surface-ripened, semi-hard, aged, washed rind, and blue. Learn and taste your way through a cheese board of eight American artisanal cheeses, learning the story and characteristics of each.
February 21: Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Warm up our long Wisconsin winter with a taste of four grilled cheeses. We'll start with learning the art of making a basic great grilled cheese sandwich, and then shake things up with three variations of gourmet grilled cheese with a variety of ingredients. Bacon will mostly likely make a guest appearance.
March 13: Demystifying Swiss Cheese
Swiss, Baby Swiss, Emmental, Gruyere - what's the difference between Swiss cheeses? Learn the history of how cheesemaking in Switzerland has changed in the past 40 years, and taste some of the best Swiss-style cheeses made today in both Switzerland and America.
April 17: Blue-Veined Cheeses & Perfect Pairings
Taste four of the world's best blue cheeses, each paired with a different companion of honey, fresh pear or nut brittle. Learn the mystery behind blue cheesemaking, and what makes one blue taste different from another. If you think you don't like veined cheese, we may change your mind with this evening of perfect pairings.
May 8 - Mother's Day Evening: Celebrating Wisconsin Women Cheesemakers
More Wisconsin women cheesemakers are winning top prizes at international and national contests than ever before. So do women make better cheese? We'll find out by tasting four of the best women-crafted cheeses in Wisconsin. Treat Mom to a glass of Moscato d'Asti and an evening filled with good cheese.
June 12: American Farmstead Cheeses
Perhaps some of the most eye-appealing and palate-pleasing cheeses are those hand-crafted on the same farm as where the animals are milked. Learn the stories and taste four of the best farmstead cheeses made in America today.
July 10: Cheeses Soaked in Beer, Wine and Spirits, Oh My!
A category once limited to classic Trappist cheeses of yore has expanded into an array of American original cheeses soaked in beer, wine, and assorted spirits. A new trend in Wisconsin, these cheeses are winning championships with their unique look and taste. Taste four of our favorites.
August 14: Last Days of Summer: Pasture-Grazed Cheeses
Cheeses made only when cows are eating grass are just one of Wisconsin's growing claims to fame, thanks to a climate that boasts three seasons capable of producing lush grass perfect for animals to eat. Taste four seasonal cheeses and see if you can taste the difference grass makes.
September 11 - Next Generation: Bloomy-Rind Cheeses
In America, classic French-style Brie and Camembert are giving way to funky, new American Original bloomy-rind cheeses. Try four new styles of this classic category and see how they stack up against your favorite Brie.
October 9: The Art of Affinage
There are three main components to producing an outstanding cheese: the milk, the cheesemaker, and the affineur. Learn how American cheesemakers are following the European tradition of cave-aging cheese; then taste four of the best.
November 13: Wisconsin Sheep & Goat Milk Cheeses
Dairy sheep and dairy goats produce significantly different milk components than cows. Learn why these small ruminants are becoming more popular in Wisconsin, and taste four cheeses that expertly demonstrate the uniqueness of sheep and goat milk.
December 11: A New Age of American Cheddar
Learn why Cheddars produced in different parts of the country taste significantly different, and discover an emerging era of Wisconsin super-aged and bandaged Cheddar. You'll taste five Cheddars ranging from one to 15 years old.
These classes tend to sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve your seat early!