Southern Cheese & Whiskey Fever

by kirstin on March 28, 2012

Abita on the teacher's table.

Abita on the teacher's table.

Southern cheese, my friends, has arrived. Or rather, it has been thriving, and the rest of us are finally noticing its presence. This last Sunday I taught the Cheese School of San Francisco’s first Southern Cheese & Spirits Class. Quite an honor. It was great. We ate. We drank. We marveled at the jug of corn whiskey.

The idea of the class arose one day when I was telling Kiri Fisher, co-owner of the Cheese School, how excited I was about the region and its dairy goodness as a result of my cheese book research, a friend from Tennessee who’s introducing me to its bounty, and a new distributer to the bay area bringing in southern cheese. We were chatting right before I was about to start teaching a class, and I was just rambling my little heart away when Kiri said, “You know, I like the idea of a southern cheese class.”

Although southern cheese is thriving in the south, it’s still hard to find a lot of the small production stuff around here. Plus, it’s spring, when many mama animals need more of the milk that might otherwise go into our cheese to feed their young- there’s just less of the small-prouction cheese around in general. So to source enough cheese, we had to diversify. We ordered four of the eight cheeses from my friend Kathleen Cotter who owns The Bloomy Rind in Nashville, Tennessee (beautiful cheeses, arrived in perfect condition, even though they were FedExed all the way from Nashville). We ordered others through Darren, the owner of Cream and the Crop cheese distribution, and Tomales Bay. All beautiful.

Just add whiskey.

Just add whiskey.

And did I mention we served booze? Whiskey heaven, plus New Orlean’s own Abita beer.

1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, Templeton Rye Whiskey, Platte Valley Corn Whiskey (a.k.a especially tasty legal “moonshine”), Abita IPA.

Topping the whiskies to capture aromas.

Topping the whiskies to capture aromas.

Here’s a a little look at our favorite pairings from that night.

1. Lambert Hoja Santa ♥ St. Abita IPA & Platte Valley corn whiskey

2. Capriole Kentucky Tomme ♥ St. Abita IPA & Platte Valley corn whiskey

3. Sweet Grass Green Hill ♥ Platte Valley corn whiskey

4. Cumberland, Sequatchie Cove ♥ Templeton Rye Whiskey, Platte Valley corn whiskey

5. Chapel Hill Calvander ♥ St. Abita IPA, Templeton Rye Whiskey

6. Looking Glass Chocolate Lab ♥ Platte Valley corn whiskey, Templeton Rye Whiskey

7. Blackberry Farm Singing Brook ♥ 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon

8. Sweet Grass Asher Blue ♥ 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon

Moonshine shined bright, folks. A lightly oaked pure corn whiskey stole the pairing show.

Setting the tables

Setting the tables

My Class Notes

My Class Notes

Beer and Whiskey Selection

Beer and Whiskey Selection

SouthernCheeseKnives (1 of 1)

AC- After class

AC- After class

Again, thanks to The Bloomy Rind for getting us amazing cheeses at the drop of a hat!

What are your favorite southern cheeses? What do you drink them with?

1. Lambert Hoja Santa — one case from TBF arriving at FB on Friday (with cheese paper)
2. Capriole Kentucky Tomme — at CC Ferry Building
3. Sweet Grass Green Hill – ordered 2 discs from BR
4. Cumberland, Sequatchie — at Cheese Plus
5. Chapel Hill Calvander — Darren will deliver to CP
6. Looking Glass Chocolate Lab — ordered 1.5# from BR
7. Blackberry Farm Singing Brook — ordered 1.5# from BR
8. Sweet Grass Asher Blue — ordered 1.5# from BR
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

meg jones wall March 28, 2012 at 7:32 AM

wow, i love this! took a cheese class as part of my masters last year but we focused mainly on the more famous cheese regions in the states – wish we’d chatted more about southern cheeses, because i know next to nothing. thanks so much for this info – i can’t wait to try some of these out :)

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Kathleen (The Bloomy Rind) March 28, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Looks like you did an amazing job, Kirstin. We appreciate you profiling some of the southern cheese awesomeness that’s happening here in our region. Now we just have to get you down here, eh? Cheers, my friend!

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Madame Fromage March 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I drool. This looks amazing. I love your black fingernails over the whiskey, dahhhling.

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Carlos Yescas March 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM

WoW!!!! The pairings look awesome. I’m so happy to see the cheese solidarity in action and to learn about new delicious cheeses from the south of the US. Congrats!

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Bonnie March 28, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Ah, this sounds so great! Wish I had gone. With so many amazing classes at The Cheese School, it’s impossible to pick.

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Colleen March 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Lovely. I technically live in the South and I haven’t gotten to taste some of these yet. Soon…. I hope.

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kirstin March 29, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Meg Jones- It’s a region that’s getting more props, so hopefully it will be more incorporated soon, but I bet your class was a blast too!
Kathleen- Southern Cheese Fest is calling my name…
Madame- I wish I could claim the nails- it was a lovely Cheese School worker. But I put my hands all over the whiskey later!
Bonnie- hope to see you at mine one of these days.
Colleen- I feel like I accomplished something then! Your blog schools me in regional cheeses ALL THE TIME (hello, Doe Run).

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Janette April 2, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Thanks for posting this! I’ve been very interested in pursuing whiskey and cheese pairings and now I’m inspired.

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Ringo Firefly April 5, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Looks like my kind of party! Heaps of thankyous for sharing the deliciousness x

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Rona Myers Sullivan April 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Thanks Kirsten! Southern Cheese is here to stay!
Rona

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