January 22, 2010

DIY Cheesemakers

A friend and I traveled to Portland earlier this week to attend a DIY Cheesemakers meeting at Foster and Dobbs in NE Portland. We knew we had to get there early as this was a free event with limited seating. I was feeling lackadaisical and would have been content just to enjoy a quiet evening at home. But, I went and I must say it was time well spent.

We arrived early and secured our seats. David Bleckmann was setting up his demonstration area and chatting with the incoming guests. We browsed the store and all of it's delightful goodies - Chocolate, preserves, olives, nuts, olive oils, vinegars, mustards, pasta, wines, and of course, the cheese.

Oh, the cheese.

Desiree and I shared a meat and cheese tray with savory additions... WONDERFUL!.

Part of the fun was sampling and picking the three cheeses to accompany our "savory" accompaniments - crusty bread, a variety of olives and marcona almonds. We chose Fromage Brebis, Strathdone Blue and one of my now favorite cheeses, Midnight Moon. We also had a wonderful salame that Luan, the proprietor suggested when she noted they were out of soppresatta.

While we were enjoying our spread the crowd continued to build. I would say the event was a hit. It was standing room only and no one seemed to mind.

David Bleckmann demonstrated making a simple Feta and discussed home cheesemaking tips and techniques. He was knowledgeable and had a good rapport with the crowd. He demystified what some could consider a very complex process. Gayle Starbuck was also present and contributed to the presentation.

As I mentioned above it was a wonderful evening and well worth the time and travel to head up to Portland mid week. I have signed on to the DIY Cheesemakers group and hope to make the trip up for future events.

If you love cheese like I love cheese, check out these books for an introduction to the craft.

Also, make the trip to Portland and visit Luan at Foster and Dobbs for some of their delightful cheeses and to begin your very own cheesemaking adventure as she stocks some of the basic supplies.

And because she's wonderful.

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