Cheese Picks from the ACS Conference

One of the highlights of working in dairyland is attending the annual American Cheese Society conference. Last week, a crew from Di Bruno Bros. hit the trail for Montreal and spent four days geeking and freaking amid 1700 cheeses from across North America.

For Rocco (below – center), the highlight was meeting Sister Noella, the cheese nun – a microbiologist and Benedictine who set up her microscope in a conference room and invited cheesemakers to come in for a rind tutorial. Rocco picked up a few tips from her presentation on “Growing Molds Gracefully” which he plans to implement in the aging cave back on Chestnut Street.

For Zeke (top, right), the best moment of the conference was discovering a vanilla flavored triple crème, Lady Laurier from Quebec. “I’m bringing two wheels back, “ he crowed on the last night of the conference, adding, “I do not approve of 98 percent of flavored cheeses, however Lady Laurier is f***ing awesome.”

For Emilio (top, left), discovering a new American Pecorino was a high point. Emilio, a.k.a. Mr. Palate-of-Gold, loved the depth of flavor he found in Dulcinea, especially in the younger version of this raw sheep’s milk cheese from Idaho’s Lark’s Meadow Farms.

At the Festival of Cheese on the last night, Rocco and I had the chance to talk to one of this year’s ACS stars, Katie Hedrich of LaClare Farms in Chilton, Wisconsin. Her goat’s milk cheese, Evalon, won Best of Show at the U.S. Cheese Championship this year, and it took ribbons in two categories at the American Cheese Society competition.

Katie, 26, was inspired to make cheese during a recent trip to Holland with her parents, who own a goat farm that supplies Carr Valley, a large Wisconsin cheesemaker. Using the milk from her family farm, Katie developed this Gouda-style cheese, along with a version that contains Fenugreek – a spice Katie first encountered in Holland.

“I loved the taste, so I came home and did some test batches. I’m really happy with how it came out,” she said.

Katie Hendrich will sample Evalon at the Di Bruno Bros. in Ardmore on Friday (Aug. 12) and at the Chestnut Street store on Saturday (Aug. 13). Stop in to meet her and to try the new goat cheese that everyone is talking about.