The Artisanal Cheese Center started out as a small cheese cart at Picholine Restaurant. Maitre Fromager, Max McCalman, was the man behind the cart educating diners on the different cheeses, answering questions, and offering advice on wine pairings. As word spead about the exceptional cheeses, they recognized the opportunity in front of them and decided to build thier own cheese-aging caves.
The caves specialize in affinage (AH-fee-Nahj) - the ancient craft of maturing cheese to peak ripeness. As thier webpage explains, "Just as a wine grows in complexity and flavor with aging, this same nurturing process improves the quality of our cheeses. Aging, though, is just one important step in quality. Milk quality, which is often seasonal, is the first step in the quality chain. We look for cheeses made from the highest quality milk that are produced by the best cheese makers throughout the world, so that the finishing-by-aging in our caves consistently delivers the best cheeses available."
I was lucky enough to be invited to Artisanal’s American Cheese Day, an invitation-only media event held on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at the Artisanal Cheese Center in New York City...
The celebration offered tastings of over 120 delicious American artisan cheeses paired with American beers and wines. The cheeses were separated by the region which they came from, and each region featured an array of soft, hard, bleu, bloomy rind, and washed rind cheeses. All different milks were showcased, as well as varying ages.
Everything was truly fantastic and I learned so much about cheese! The people I met were great, the cheeses were all amazing, and I even had opportunity to chat with Max who invited me to come take one of his artisanal cheese classes!
I'm so greatful to have had the opportunity to attend this event and can't wait to learn even more from Max!
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Contents of the awesome goodie bag I received...
The fresh mozzarella put to good use...