The last week of July, we sent a team to Pittsburgh for the annual American Cheese Society conference. VP of Culinary Pioneering Emilio Mignucci, Head Cheese Monger Hunter Fike, and Cheese Monger Extraordinaire David Myers tasted their way through an assortment of more than 2,000 cheeses, met dozens of cheese makers and attended the Cheese Awards.
The Three Best
While there were many extraordinary cheeses that our team tasted in Pittsburgh, only three could be awarded Best in Show. We are proud to share all three of these with our customers, online and in stores!
Harbison: A familiar favorite and a staple of our offering for the better part of the last decade, Harbison is a bloomy-rinded, spruce bark-wrapped jewel from our friends at the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont. The best way to enjoy it is to keep the bark in tact and peel off the top rind, then scoop into it like fondue. Bread, crackers, crudites, fresh fruit and salami all work as dippers, but, as Hunter learned on a recent trip to the farm, nothing beats Harbison on a maple donut.
Calderwood: A collaboration between Anne Saxelby and Jasper Hill (that’s right, of more than 2,000 entries they took 1st AND 2nd), Calderwood is one of Jasper Hill’s staple cheeses, Alpha Tolman, wrapped with toasted hay. Aged for 10-12 months, it is firm, nutty and complex, with hints of earth, caramel, chestnut honey and pineapple. As of this printing, there were only 24 wheels available in the United States, and Di Bruno Bros. has 8 of them. Get it while it lasts!
Avonlea: A traditional clothbound Cheddar from Prince Edward Island, Canada took 3rd place, and anyone who tasted it knows why. Clothbound Cheddar is one of the most competitive categories at the show, with superb entries from round the country always placing near the top. But Avonlea was the obvious choice this year. Bold, earthy tones highlighted by an earthy tang and a sharp finish, this is everything you want from the category.
Building a Cheese Board: All of these would pair harmoniously with our Fig & Acacia Honey Jam, or our new offering, the Blood Orange & Grappa jam. Or, keep it American with Brins Cherry Chai or Black Pepper Bacon Jam. Round it out with DB Soppressata and Nduja, and don’t forget the crackers!