B&G Club of Portland’s Showcase of Wine and Cheese 2010   Leave a comment

At $40, the price tag to attend might seem steep to the Showcase of Wine and Cheese Event… until you do a little research and find out that it goes to the Boys and Girls club, and there are no additional tasting fees for any of the wine or cheese. When we entered, there was a long aisle of silent auction items that we got to peruse, and then when we walked into the Portland Ballroom we greeted by Sinatra-era music (with a singer on stage crooning- perhaps the same guy I have seen at Olive or Twist) and tables of 10 numbers each arranged in a big square or line, with each number being a wine station for 3-6 wines. The tables numbered from 1-83. Holy crap.

We picked up our 2 tasting glasses and also a big bound book which described the offerings of each station and had a lil space for tasting notes. The front section was all cheese… 60 some cheeses. Ok, maybe a handful of those were actually cheese mix spreads, or chocolate, or cheese crackers, or pears with advice on how to match it with cheese… but seriously. Most of my photos are of the cheese, because it was just put together so well.

And there were two buffet stations of antipasto and toasts topped with diced tomato or eggplant spread, vegetarian sushi, lil crabcakes, breadsticks… and 4 carving stations of beef round with horseradish and au jus. The site had mentioned hors d'oeuvres and there were some passed by servers that first hour, but having the 4 stations of food (along with all the cheese) was a great combination of wine pairings.

It started at 6:30, and by 10 when it ended I was so full and exhausted I tell you! The atmosphere was very classy- I kept shaking my head in wonder at some of the lovely ladies I saw wearing 3-4 inch heels with their lovely dresses because there were only 20 something tables seating 10 by the stage, but otherwise everyone was on their feet tasting away. They were probably more comfortable temperature wise then I though- even in just a tank top and long sleeved shirt with jeans, I was really warm. I appreciated during that they had big iced containers of soda and bottled water by the exits.

Volunteers were hard at work at all the cheese stations, prepping trays of cubed cheese or lil containers of cracker/cheese combinations so you could help yourself to a tasting. One of the tastings actually cemented by purchase of what brand of marscapone to purchase today to make a tiramisu fondue. At the very end during clean-up, some of the trays of already prepped cheese ended up in ziploc doggy bags- we took probably 20 small cubes of a swiss cave aged gruyere, yum!

The atmosphere was super classy- besides the music and the auctions at 8:30 (there was also a live voice auction), beautiful decorations of red cloth and arrangements with red roses made it much more of a cocktail event then a bunch of tables with tastings at the convention center a la the Beer and Wine festival (which I have already marked on my calendar!). There was never a line of more then maybe 1-2 people for wine, and it could be a bit slower then cheese, but somehow people naturally did a clockwise rotation šŸ™‚ I plan to mark this showcase for next year as well: I will be happy to return many times.

Below, the "unwrap and roll fresh mozzarella" from BelGioioso was layered with meat for a very tasty bite, and seemed great for a party tray.

Just a spoonful of the marscarpone was already so delicious- I can't wait to try it out with the recipe cards they have next to it for tiramisu!



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