The first day of the American Cheese Society Conference 2013 saw its largest attendance in 30 years, with more than 1,000 people registered. The number of cheeses entered into competition for this year also broke records, with 1,794 entries evaluated by a panel of judges to select the winners in over 100 categories.
Each day, the conference will offer a number of seminars focused on specific aspects of cheesemaking, retailing, or pairing. Today’s seminars included such diverse topics as:
- Unique and often confounding flavors in milk
- What do buyers look for in artisan cheese?
- Encouraging flavor: Flora farming and soil
- Wisconsin beer and cheese pairing
- Quality milk/quality cheese: A study of farmstead cheese
The highlight of the day was the “Meet the Cheesemakers” event, sponsored by The California Milk Advisory Board. Seventy-five cheesemakers presented more than 300 of their cheeses for attendees to try. It was an opportunity to put a name with a cheese, network, and explore new and delicious offerings coming on to the market. Most of the cheeses featured during the event are also entered into the competition for best cheeses, with results being announced tomorrow evening after the day’s sessions.
Wisconsin, the host state for the conference had the highest number of cheesemakers in attendance, at 25, followed by California with 13, Vermont with 8, and New York with 4. Other states represented included Minnesota, with 3 cheesemakers, Colorado, Missouri and Indiana, each with 2 cheesemakers, and Washington, Utah, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia, Ontario, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, each with 1.