Cheese Bar Spectacular Report   Leave a comment

Adam Berger of Ten 01 and Steve Jones of Cheese Bar held a collaborative special event called, “The Cheese Bar Spectacular,” yesterday at Ten 01 from 6-9pm. It was 3 hours where you could wander around Ten 01 with a beer or wine or even a craft cocktail (I still adore their Pistache drink) while stopping at stations for tastings of 101 of Steve’s favorite artisan cheeses from around the world. There were six stations (each station generally two tables long) placed upstairs and downstairs inside the restaurant. The stations included Soft Cheese, Cow Cheese, Goat Cheese, Sheep Cheese, Bleu Cheese, and Mixed Milk Cheese. Some bloggers talked about drink and cheese pairings, but it was just an open cheese tasting market (well, there were certain selected wines and beers at the bar that were highlighted, but no specific matchings with anything. Actually, I wish there had been more to balance out the bleu cheeses specifically because I like bleu cheese, but even my standing favorite Maytag and Rogue fared poorly when I had them towards the end of the event because my palate had become too unbalanced. I was cheesed out!).

101 cheeses… and I probably almost had that much. In the end, I couldn't bring myself to finish the goat cheese table, having only done 1/3 of it. I did pick up a sample of every cheese from all the other tables though, even cheeses I had before just to compare with the new ones.

My favorite was naturally, a combination of both truffle and cheese, a Pecora Il Tartufo- pecorino with black truffle, a sheep from Tuscany… at only $30.90 a pound. This sheep cheese just burst into your mouth with flavor. And what can I say, if I had a type, it would be Italian Cheeses (they are most likely to go with everything!) and also Specialty Blended Cheeses (with chipotle spices. With lavendar. With alcohol. Fruit. Yum!). In general, the sheep cheeses was the "safe station" in terms of being surprised by strong stinky cheeses like at the goat and cow cheese station.

On the more affordable side, an Oregonian produced soft cheese, The Little Goat Dairy By the River's Rivers Edge Chevre which was smoked over maple had a nice complex flavor and is only $10.90 a package, really stood out. I was surprised there were not more smoked cheeses, actually. I guess Steve doesn't like them, since this event was after all put together by his favorite picks? And no burrata (that I saw)? I only saw Rogue's blue, but several from Willamette Valley. In a surprise to me, F picked out Willamette Valley cheeses from stations of cheese multiple times as ones he thought stood out.

I also really liked a Plymouth Wisconsin cheese, Sartori Bellavitano, a cow cheese washed in New Glarus Raspberry beer ($15.90 a pound).  Samish Bay's Fresh Ladysmith, an organic cow cheese from Washington, was fresh and light in the line of mozzarella-likeness at $16.90 a pound, while for mixed cheese Perolari's Robiolo due latti and the Snow Goat's Triple Cream Brie melted perfectly creamy on the crostini.

Although I appreciated the cheese map of where the stations were (and having little pencils and the back of that sheet to write notes), I think the Boy's and Girl's Club Showcase of Wine and Cheese had a smarter idea. They actually gave each individual a book, and inside the book was a number (corresponding to the table and then the offerings of that table) and then a description of the individual cheese. This would have helped me in picking out cheeses I wanted to seek out instead of having to take one of everything at a station and remembering what I had taken from a station. I know this would have taken a lot more work though, given each painstakingly hand written note already for each plate. There were only seats at the bar area downstairs, so everyone was trying to balance a beverage glass with a little plate and somehow write down the names of the cheeses, and although I appreciated Ten-01 trying to get everyone to start upstairs where it was standing room and their quick turnaround on wine glasses, it was hard to maneuver and often there were people standing in front of the table. I went with taking maybe six at a time in order from a table and then walking away to keep the tables clear, tasting my selection, then taking photos of certain ones, but I skipped writing notes because it was just too much to manage with two hands and essentially hallway space. Obviously, I have missed my calling as an event organizer. 
 
I did enjoy the event though- the quality of cheeses was a huge step above the Showcase of Wine and Cheese as these were artisan cheeses, and I don't know when else or how else I could have had this caliber of cheeses in this amount of variety unless I parked myself at Steven's Cheese bar and never left! I hope he makes this an annual Spectacular- if not with 101, a selection of matches would be super… well, still spectacular.  

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Posted June 22, 2010 by pechluck in Uncategorized

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