American Cheese Society Conference this week!
Hi All! I am heading to Montreal tomorrow for the American Cheese Society Conference. Is anyone else going to be there? Also, where might a cheese lover go to eat, possibly alone, in MTL?
Thanks for posting this. For 85$ I am curious as to how much food there will be and how much you are allowed to sample.
Ouch, that's a little broad.
But is it really processed cheese? 85$ is quite a lot in Montreal foodie festival standard. There are many cheese festivals here (usually held in the regions, off the Montreal island) that provide free admission and many free tastings.
What does this offer that makes it so expensive?
From the cheese society website:
Amazing growth in artisan cheese production and consumer interest in farm-to-table products has fueled the growth of the Competition to include 1,462 cheeses in 2010.
Open to the general public, the 2011 Festival of Cheese will feature all of the cheeses entered in the 2011 Competition, highlighting winners and recognizing their mastery of cheesemaking in 99 carefully defined categories.
So there will surely be plenty of cheeses that we can't find here in mtl to be tasted, and at that price, the place will certainly not be too packed
The festival is a showcase of 1600 artisan producers from all over the americas. It's not processed cheese, I think (hope) that snackhappy was being sarcastic.
Is it worth it? Depends on how much you love cheese. Here's a tip, however: If you volunteer to prep the fest, you get admission- check with ACS about this at cheesesociety.org to confirm this. The prep is pretty hard work, but you will have experienced cheese people to help guide you.
Also, the day after the fest, there is a TON of leftover cheese. When this has been held in the States, each piece, regardless of size, is $5 USD. A lot of it won't be labeled, but some of it will- breaking down the fest is a hectic time, and not all things get a chance to be properly labeled, but you can get great deals, and make an awesome fromage fort, fondue, gratin, mac n cheese with anything you get. Knowing what characteristics appeal to you will help you narrow down the options.
Thanks for this information. I am going through the website in more detail now - the opportunity to volunteer sounds fantastic, especially as it includes a ticket to the Festival of Cheese. In the details about the volunteering they mention a cheese sale on Sunday (which I think you allude to in your post) but I can't find more information about it. Do you know if the cheese sale is open to the public?
The cheese sale is most definitely open to the public- remember that a LOT of cheese was sent to the event, and it's not going back, so they need the locals to come and take it home- good for you to get really great price on great cheese, good for ACS to make a little (read: a very little) money on the sales.
The volunteering for the event is labor intensive, but rewarding. You are working to set up the cheeses for the festival- sometimes it's just cutting cheese into cubes, but creativity is rewarded! I've made giant "boats" of carved out cheese, built steps into a large block- it's fun.
When the event starts, and you can get to the venue, you'll find a volunteer office- anyone will point you there, and they will be able to sign you up and explain further, if you can't get info online. Since everyone at ACS is there already, there may not be anyone updating the website.
This is the first year the ACS has held its conference outside the United States, so there are some things that are different this year. There will be close to 1600 cheeses available for sampling (there were 1676 cheeses and dairy products including butter, yogurt, quark, etc judged, but not all make it to the Festival of Cheese). You can sample as many as you like, crowds permitting.
There will not be a Cheese Sale this year as in years past- the rules regarding labeling of cheese for sale were punitive and we were unable to comply with our current infrastructure. However----- There will be "Grab Bags" available for a 10$ or a 25$ donation- all proceeds go to scholarships to bring cheesemakers to future conferences. We certainly hope you will go home happy. All cheese not eaten or sold will be donated to local organizations that will use it to feed the hungry.
Questions??? Happy to try and answer- this is my 7th conference, and I have volunteered in many areas of the conference over the years, including the Festival of Cheese.
I imagine the government required any cheeses sold to be labeled in French? Seems pretty reasonable given that this is a French-speaking territory...I think most if not all products sold here need to comply with that rule. That said, if the ACS was not aware of Quebec's language regulations until it was too late to comply, this doesn't necessarily make our laws "punitive"...just strict.
In any event, sorry to hear about this snafu - hope the conference goes great otherwise and enjoy the city!
The cheeses are not "sold" in the same way as one would imagine- they have been cut into very large chunks and are wrapped in plastic, not labeled at all. In the states, the Sunday after the Festival, they are sold "as is" for a ridiculously low price- 5$ or so per pound for artisan cheeses that often go for 30$ per pound. The labeling was not required to be in French, it was required to be labeled with details that were unknown to the ACS (including each ingredient, fat content, moisture content, etc) because of the confidentiality of the judging and the handling of the cheese afterwards, And by punitive, I meant to the people who were unable to enjoy the cheese because of the regulations.
I am sure all the Montrealites (Montrealers? Montrealians? Montrealiens? ) in attendance enjoyed the Festival as much as I did, and we are all enjoying the city, thanks!!
Yes, old news but I figured if anyone was curious to see who won, here's the list from last year;
Lots of local top 3 finishers, my favourite discovery, Fromagerie Nouvelle France, QC
Other winners who have been mentioned on this board in the past few years and have excellent products;
Chèvrerie du Buckland, QC
Tomme du Maréchal
Beurrerie du Patrimoine, QC
Plain Cow Yogurt