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Miami’s first artisanal cheese festival off to a rousing start

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The Cheese Connection at Miami, the area’s first festival dedicated to cheese, kicked off it’s inagural show today at the Miami Airport Convention Center, located just West of Miami International Airport. Like any first-timer, the festival had some bumps and bruises, but the overall experience was a positive one, according to several attendees.

The show offers a tasting floor, featuring a variety of cheeses from local and regional distribution companies, some excellent Portuguese wines from Esporão Vineyards, and a seminar track with topics geared towards the casual cheese consumer and the consummate cheese aficionado.

Attendance started off a bit light (in typical Miami fashion), but traffic was good later in the day. Attendees were able to try a wide variety of cheeses, and even go through a guided tasting of French cheeses, with the French “Cheese Ambassadrice,” Cécile Delannes.

Seminars included a fascinating look at the principals of artisanal cheesemaking, presented by Larry and Linda Faillace, founders of Three Shepherds dairy, in Vermont, a wine-and-cheese pairing class, led by Washington DC wine educator Charlie Adler, author of “I drink on the job”, and an interesting presentation of American artisanal cheeses, by Waldemar Albrecht, a well know cheese educator and fromagier.

Tomorrow’s program opens at 10am to the general public, and runs until 7:00pm. The seminars kick off at 10:30am, with a discussion of the artisanal cheese movement over the past 20 years, presented by Larry and Linda Faillace, followed by a presentation on American cheeses made in the European tradition. At 1:30, John de Leo will discuss Global Wine Trends, and their Magic with Cheese, followed by Véronique Richez-Lerouge, who will take a serious look at the battle between raw and pasteurized milk. The day ends with two seminars; the first by Cécile Delannes, who will take attendees on French Cheese Tour, followed by Waldemar Albrecht, who will transport everyone to the Iberian Peninsula to examine the great cheeses of that region.

Many of the seminars are also being presented in Spanish; for full details on the remaining day of the festival, please visit their website, at www.TheCheeseConnection.com

See you at the fair!

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