Hello, my friends! Phew. It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks, so much that I didn’t have a chance to write a blog post last week! I’m back this week, though! Right after photographing that wedding, I had a last minute chance to see the musical Hamilton on opening night in San Francisco. I don’t listen to or see very much musical theatre, but loved this opportunity. It was everything you can hope for in the best of productions—brilliant, moving, with richly colored costumes and stunning music. After the show, adoring teenagers flocked to the stage door to greet the principals with dog whistle screams and squeals. Truly, this show is something to behold, and yes, I would even say it is worth the ticket price if you like musicals.
On top of that brush with mainstream culture, there was the California Artisan Cheese Festival! My longtime partners Valley Fig Growers invited me to take over their Instagram at the Ultimate Best Bite competition on Friday night, and I happily obliged. This was my first time attending, so I had no idea what to expect. I did, however, bring my newest photo tool to test out–the Canon 35mm f1.4 II USM lens [affiliate link]! It’s AMAZING. I may never use anything else for these kinds of food event photos ever again.
The idea of the evening was to have cheesemongers and chefs compete against each other in a lighthearted competition of flavor. Each contestant was assigned a cheese, and had to construct a perfect bite including that cheese. Some were simple, some were elaborate, most were quite delicious. At the end of the evening, renowned cheese educator Laura Werlin announced the winners with great fanfare.
Afterward, we even went to an after party hosted by cheese instructor extraordinaire Sacha Laurin of Many Moons Cheese. Her passion and commitment to sharing the great joys of cheese and cheesemaking make her one of the bright spots in this glittering cheese community.
There were several winners, but the evening’s biggest bite winner was made by Devorah Harris of Oliver’s Market in Cotati. Her bite was comprised of Nicolau Farms Capra Stanislaus, Kozlowski Farms seedless blackberry jam, Sparrow Lane Napa Valley balsamic vinegar, candied mint, and Meyer lemon peel.
By the end of the evening, I was full of cheese and happiness. So many contestants really stepped up to highlight California cheeses, and show people new ways to pair and use them at home. Cheese is a tool that you can use to bring out your culinary creativity, and I encourage you to let it run wild! Do you have any favorite California cheese pairings? Let me know in the comments!
THANK YOU to Valley Fig Growers for inviting M. Cheesemonger and me to this event! It was so much fun rubbing shoulders with so many California cheese people and cheese fans.
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