Festival of Cheese?
Anyone going to next weekend's Festival of Cheese by the American Cheese Society? Anyone familiar with the past events and could say what to expect? 1000 cheeses!?!?!
Some info from their website: Join us at the Chicago Hilton for this rare opportunity to experience and taste more than 1,000 artisan and specialty cheeses from producers throughout North America. The Festival presents the cheeses entered in the American Cheese Society's Annual Competition, which coincides with the Society's Annual Conference in Chicago July 23-26. In addition to the award-winning cheeses, there will be wines, beers adn specialty foods that complement the stars of this event.
Cost (for Non-Members and General Public): $85
I have been to the past three Festivals, and they are mind-boggling, getting ever more so each year. The purpose of the Festival is to share the bounty from the competition. To enter a cheese, you have to enter a complete wheel (or six small complete shapes, like pyramids, small bouches, etc), and the judges taste only a very small amount (imagine how much of each cheese you'd taste if you were tasting over a hundred cheeses over the course of two days). You may have as much as 20-80 pounds of any given cheese, and good LORD you couldn't waste it! The majority gets shared with the public at the Festival- last year there were slightly over 1000 cheeses, and more get entered each year-- no speculation as to how many there will be this year, but when I find out I'll post again. The following morning there is a cheese sale of the remainder, where you can get amazing values if you're willing to brave the crowds and buy on faith (they cannot completely label thousands of small hunks in such a short time). I mean cheeses that sell for upwards of 20-30$ per pound, getting a pound plus for 5-7$.