Playing with Point Reyes Creamery’s Milk & Wine Geek Speak

It’s Christmas-lights-up, menorah-on-mantel, tinsel-in-trees, frosty mornings time. And yes, that is a stellar holiday cheese ball pictured above (and yes since you asked, I did make it!). Sure, the daytime temperatures are still in the mid-60’s in California, but in general terms, it’s winter. Accordingly, it’s packed with classes- many of which I’m very excited about.

This winter I’ll be teaching Wine 101 at 18 Reasons in San Francisco. Many of you know that while I was firmly establishing myself as the cheese lady (Capitalize- Y or N?), I managed the wine bar at Solano Cellars Wine Shop for 10 years, and I love returning to my viniferia roots. There, in our Wine 101 class (known by some as WTF is Wine, Anyhow?), we transformed millions from wine week to wine geek by breaking down the building blocks of wine like tannins, body, and oak so people could better appreciate their beverage of choice. It was one of our most popular classes, and I loved teaching it. I’m happy to say that in January I’ll be at 18 Reasons teaching my rendition of the class. And yes, there will be wine tasting involved. 

(above photo by Anna Voloshyna)

Peninsula cheese fans- I’m teaching public class in Menlo Park and Palo Alto in February at Draeger’s.

In February I get to play with the same milk they use for the highly awarded Point Reyes Creamery cheeses to make homemade cheese! And so do you. For a gorgeous day of farm tours, visiting cows, cheesemaking, lunch, and a cheese tasting, please consider joining me at Point Reyes Creamery February 2nd.

Speaking of February, I’m teaching a Daring Duo’s & Surprising BFFs class on Valentine’s Day…

More details & MANY MORE public classes follow. As always, please contact me at [email protected] for private events. Classes fill up early. Happy Holidays and I hope to see you around!

 

Winter Public Events

Cheesemaking 101: Paneer, Fromage Blanc & Handmade Butter

January 10th, Wednesday 6:00-9:30pm, San Francisco, 18 Reasons

Making cheese at home is much easier than you think! From how to culture milk to making your own fluffy paneer, this class will teach you the delicious basics of cheesemaking. You’ll learn how to make India’s top cheese, how to ferment milk into fromage blanc (and when to add herbs to make the perfect party cheese), and how to make your very own rich, sweet butter by hand. After a cheese science overview and mini-tasting, we’ll roll our sleeves up and don aprons to transform milk and cream into some of the best cheese and butter you’ve ever tasted, made better knowing you made it yourself!

Burrata By-Hand

January 18th, Thursday 6:00-9:30pm,  San Francisco, 18 Reasons

The most exciting cheese on the cheese board needs little explanation: burrata is fresh mozzarella filled with luscious cream and more cheese. You get to make your own in one short night. And eat it too! In this action-packed evening class, you will learn the basics of cheesemaking, including which milk to use, where to find cultures, and options for rennet. You will also leave with a deeper understanding of the science behind the process…

Wine 101: From Tannins to Acidty- The ABC’s of Wine

January 24th, Wednesday 6:30-9:00pm,  San Francisco, 18 Reasons

If you’ve always had dreams of swirling a glass of Pinot in Burgundy while talking about its acidity, grow shy when handed the wine list at a restaurant, or just wonder what people mean when they say “fruit bomb” or “bold tannins,” this Wine 101 tasting seminar is for you. In an approachable and lighthearted manner, It’s Not You, It’s Brie author, 18 Reasons cheesemaking teacher and wine expert Kirstin Jackson will break down the basics of wine culture and terminology for you with delicious wine examples….

Point Reyes Creamery: Artisan Cheesemaking at Home w/Kirstin Jackson, Farm Tour & Lunch

February 2nd, Friday 9:00-2:00pm,  Point Reyes, Point Reyes-The Fork

Kirstin Jackson fell in love with cheese at a young age. Driving around Northern California and taking tours of creameries with her parents was Kirstin’s entry into the world of cheese. Says Kirstin, “A good way to bond and keep a teenager in the car with you is to give her cheese at the end of the trip.” Fast forward to 2007, when Kirstin decided to stop writing her wine and food pairing blog “because it wasn’t enough of an escape for me from my everyday work life working in a wine shop,” and committed to her passion for cheese online. With that decision, It’s Not You, It’s Brie, was born…. This tour includes a farm tour, lunch and cheesemaking- cultured butter, creme fraiche, queso fresco and ricotta.

Basics of Cheesemaking: Paneer, Mascarpone & Fromage Blanc

February 4th, Sunday 11:00-2:00pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Paneer, mascarpone, and fromage blanc are the cheeses that make appetizers and main courses sing. In this hands-on class, cheesemaker Kirstin Jackson will teach you how to make the cheeses that will become staples in your fridge for many more meals to come. You’ll try your creations in class and bring some home to share, or not….

SF Beer Week: Drakes Beer & Cheese  (and Me!)- More Info Soon Save the Date

February 13th, Tuesday, Oakland, The Dealership

Valentine’s Day Daring Duo Class at 18 Reasons, More info Soon Save the Date

February 14th, Wednesday, San Francisco, 18 Reasons

Peanut butter and chocolate, Cabernet and steak, pumpkin and pie, cheese and… cookies? Clearly, wine and cheese have a longstanding friendship. But on this Valentine’s Day, we’re testing relationship boundaries by pairing everyone’s favorite fermented dairy with a secret crush or two. It’s Not You, It’s Brie author and recent American Cheese Society “Dairing Pairings” conference presenter Kirstin Jackson will teach the class with a wealth of research experience under her belt, a list of do’s and don’ts, and adventurous advice. Expect fromage drizzled in caramel, seaweed, cookies, sip tea, and… maybe even witness a polyamorous combo or two.

Making Feta Cheese from Scratch

February 15th, Thursday, 7:00-9:00pm, Oakland, Preserved

Rich, salty and crumbly, feta is one of the world’s most popular cheeses. Join us as we explore the magic of cheesemaking at home. In this workshop, we’ll DISCUSS the basics of cheese science, what milk to use and how to age your feta cheese to perfection. We will get HANDS-ON as we move through the stages of cheesemaking: fermenting the milk, curd cutting, pitching, forming and brining. Plus we will TASTE some of our favorite finished versions of feta. Everyone will TAKE HOME their own cheese to age at home, and enjoy 3-4 weeks later!

Beginning Cheesemaking: Queso Fresco, Ricotta & Fromage Blanc

February 24th, Saturday, 11:00am, Menlo Park, Draeger’s

• Fresh, Handmade Queso Fresco
• Fresh, Handmade Whole Milk Ricotta
• Fromage Blanc Culturing Demo and Hands-On Fromage Blanc Prep and Seasoning
• Tasting of Commercial Queso Fresco, Fromage Blanc and Ricotta
• Crostini Topped with Seasonal Fruits, Preserves and Just-Made Cheese
Learn about cultures, enzymes, shelf life, what milk to buy, serving possibilities and more. After nibbling on our creations in class, all participants take home samples of their cheese to share.

•Note this is at the Menlo Park Draeger’s Location.

Mozzarella & Burrata by Hand

March 6th, Thursday, 6:30pm, San Mateo, Draeger’s

• Fresh, Handmade Mozzarella
• Fresh, Handmade Burrata (Mozzarella’s Cream-Filled Cousin!)
• Comparative tasting of commercial cow and buffalo milk mozzarellas or burrata
• Winter fruit and toasted nut salad with the cheese we just made
Learn about cultures, enzymes, shelf life, what milk to buy, serving possibilities and more. After nibbling on our creations in class, all participants take home samples of their cheese to share.

•Note this is at the San Mateo Draeger’s Location.

 

Support California’s Farmers & Families for American Cheese Month

Flames are raging throughout California, and nearly everyone living in the state knows someone who has lost their home, has suffered the fate themselves, or fears that they or their loved ones will. October is a month that I normally celebrate American Cheese Month here. Though I of course still encourage you to eat all you can of our domestic beauties during October (thank you, our amazing cheesemakers!), a direct way you can help our cheesemakers and famers right now is by helping communities directly affected by the fire.

Even more important right now is supporting the communities that have been affected by the fire. The good news so far is that I haven’t learned of cheesemakers who have lost their farms, creameries or homes. Sadly, many have been forced to evacuat,, and many of their employees, loved ones and friends, and others who work tirelessly for them are suffering dearly. We all need strong communities to stay safe and strong and move forward.

I’m sure most of you have either helped any way you can or are looking for ways to help more. Below are a few ways we can do so.

Not all of these locations or links are confirmed as helping points so for efficencies sake, I suggest checking first to make sure they’re the best places for you to drop-off things or help before showing up (they may have already taken loads up or have a better place to suggest).

Feel free to contact me with more info about how to help and I’ll put it on the blog, too. I’d like to add to it as much as possible. Stay safe, readers! Much love.

 

Volunteer Info:

(click on link for even more info than what’s included below)

JUST WANT TO VOLUNTEER SOMEWHERE? Any community members seeking to volunteer should contact the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center Shelter division at 707-573-3399 to determine where they can be of assistance.

Medical Professionals:

  • Please contact the Red Cross at 707-577-7600 for volunteer placement and assessment. This number is used for all of Sonoma County.

Petaluma

  • Petaluma People Services Center is looking for Emergency Home Shares. They are looking to find temporary housing for those displaced by the fire. If you are interested in hosting please contact PPSC SHARE Sonoma County at [email protected]
  • Petaluma Vet Memorial Building
  • Petaluma Fairgrounds:
  • Medical Professional Sign Up for shifts at the fairgrounds.
  • (*Volunteer shifts rotate every 4 hours): 15-20 volunteers for shifts taking place 7am-12noon (this shift is covered now); 12noon- 5pm; 5pm-10pm. 5-7 volunteers for hours of 10pm-3am; 3am- 7am. Enter the fairgrounds from Gate #3 (Payran St). Park in the livestock area. Check in at Herzog Hall to be assigned a job.
  • Elks Lodge: (2105 South McDowell Blvd) Call 707-763-0901 ext 0 first for future volunteer needs (currently at capacity for volunteers).
  • Lucchesi Center: (320 N McDowell Blvd – 707-778-4380)
  • Volunteers needed overnight for upcoming shifts. Sign up at site. (10/11/17)
  • Calvary Chapel: Doing 6 hours shifts. Call to sign up for future shifts (707) 766-1567
  • Casa Grande Parking Lot – Student Parking lot needs cleaning due to lots of people going through this week
  • New Life Christian Center: Volunteer Sign Up

Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park/Sebastopol

  • Santa Rosa Fairgrounds: Needs help feeding livestock. Expecting more to show up animals to show up this afternoon.
  • Sonoma County Red Cross Red Cross is in need of volunteers to assist fire evacuees. Red Cross has exhausted their volunteer pool and many additional hands are now needed during this emergency. Anyone interested can call 707-573-3399 to volunteer or signup via their website at http://tinyurl.com/RedCrossVolOctober2017
  • Redwood Empire Food Bank All needs are met currently. Check back at 3pm for update of needs. Call first: 573-3399 for potential volunteer needs. To volunteer click here
  • Elsie Allen High School – 599 Bellevue Avenue: needs volunteers starting at 4am on Wed 10/11/17. Elsie Allen is in need of doctors and nurses for medically fragile evacuees. Sign up here > http://www.signupgenius.com/go/508044faaa923aaf85-volunteer
  • Analy High School – 6950 Analy Ave Sebastopol
  • Sonoma Valley High – 20000 Broadway, Sonoma, CA: in need of clothing donations
  • Santa Rosa Memorial: needs medical staff
  • American Red Cross: Doubletree Hotel in R.P. Training at 9am-5pm
  • Hopalong and Second Chance: In desperate need of animal fosters, particularly kittens. To foster, go to www.hopalong.org/foster/. Also REALLY NEED supplies immediately. If you can, PLEASE DONATE. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/hopalonganimalrescue

Marin County

  • New Life Church: will be opening a NEW an Evacuation Center.🔺 4 TEAMS TO VOLUNTEER FOR: Check In / Registration, Security, Hospitality, and Donation Station. [Shift Sign-up & Info Link below] We need Volunteers AROUND THE CLOCK (starting at 12pm Thurs). Shifts are 4 hours, sign up for back to back shifts if possible.

Napa County

  • Napa Valley College – Seeking volunteers to help sort donations. Currently in need of the following: – Pillowcases (new), Sanitary wipes, Tampons, Pads, Flip flops, shower sandals, Blankets, sheets (new), Under clothes (new) (all sizes and genders), Lip balm, Baby clothes (new), Pillows (new), respiratory masks, water

 

 

Spots to donate household items in Bay Area that will take items to Northern California (Marin, Sonoma, Napa spots listed in towards end of this link):

  • Cowgirl Creamery/Tomales Bay shops in San Francisco and Tomales Bay
  • 123 Go! Records

Where to get help if you’ve been directly affected:

REE FOOD / WATER:

• Amy’s Drive Thru in Rohnert Park: offering free meals to those evacuated. If you choose to pay for a evacuees meal, 100% of that money will be donated to help in the aids effort. (10/10/17 3:30pm)

• Nopalito (10/10/17): offering free burritos from 11-3 (1905 Bodega Ave)

• McGuires is offering free food

• Mystic Theatre/McNears (10/10/17): Serving Breakfast 9-11, Serving Lunch-soup and sandwiches from 12-3, Serving Dinner from 5-8. They can deliver or make meals to go. Contact them directly at 707-765-2121

• Sauced BBQ Restaurant (10/10/17): Serving free food from 9-4, offering place to rest and view TV

• Sweet Zone (10/10/17): Offering free Gelato

• Quinua Restaurant (10/10/17): Offering free lunch

• Lagunitas, Tap Room (10/10/17): Giving away free water- bring containers and they will fill them

• The Drawing Board (10/10/17): Offering food delivery to those in need, plus a special menu for firefighters and victims.

FREE WIFI / COMPUTERS:

• Comcast (10/10/17) FREE Internet/Comcast/Xfinity: Removed restrictions and opened their WiFi hotspots for all to use through Fri. 10/13 Log in as “Guest”.

• Copperfield’s Books Petaluma: Free wifi, allows dogs, water, stickers & crayons for children

• Mystic Theatre/McNears/The Roaring Donkey (10/10/17): Offering laptops for fire victims to use if they need to get a hold of their financial institutions or family. Ask for Sierra Bradley.

• Roaring Donkey has laptops set up and wifi and chargers for people, as needed.

FREE HEALTH / WELLNESS:

• Petaluma Swim Center (10/10/17): Offering showers 8:30-10:30 am and 3:00-5:30 pm today. (Soap, Shampoo and Towels provided)

• Synergy Health Club (10/10/17): Offering free showers plus towels to those in need. Also a place to relax with couches and TV.

FREE CLOTHING / ENTERTAINMENT:

• Adventure Recreation – 2200 Petaluma Blvd. N. will be open until 6pm for kids to play out of the smoke. Free for fire victims. Proceeds from others will be donated to relief efforts.

• Petaluma Bowling Alley (10/10/17): Offering a free space to hang out and play games

• Sax’s Joint – 317 Petaluma Blvd. S – Collecting Men’s Basketball shorts and sweats, as well as socks and underwear for both men and women from 6am-4pm Tues. 10:10 to distribute to shelters.

• California Academy of Sciences Free, safe place for families during the day

• Ethical Clothing – 122 Kentucky Street. 707-769-8564. Open Tuesday. The middle room of the store is a free clothing boutique for those in need. For non-evacuees, they will also sell newly donated items for $25 a piece and donate the money to those in need.

• Yoga Hell: Free yoga classes, plus an easy drop-off donation site for locals

PETS / ANIMAL BOARDING:

• Petaluma Animal Shelter (10/10/17) – Snuggle Shuttle @ Petaluma Community Center at Lucchesi Park (707-778-7387) Offering pet food, water, boarding, and lost and found pet information.

• Strong’s Second Chance Ranch (10/10/17): Offering to home horses, can message on Facebook

• Chanslor Ranch – Bodega Bay, Offering free beds and campsite. Kid and pet friendly. (707) 875-2721

• Sonoma Humane Society – 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa. Taking in animals for boarding, lost & found animals. No cost vet treatment for burn victims, owned or stray animals affected by fires. Open 8-5 daily.

• Unleashed Dog Training for boarding and if you need a place to hang. Call at 707.763.9882

• Marin Humane Society offering free boarding

• Misc animal issues: Anyone encountering animal related issues can call 707-565-4406. This number will be available 24/7 until further notice. Donations can also be made through this line. Please be prepared to share information about the number of animals, type of animals, address and location for the animals, and any information about the families associated with the animals, if known.

• Adding: Better Homes and Gardens in Sebastopol will give you a cup of coffee and wifi and you can charge your phone. 186 Main st Sebastopol.

Urban Winemakers & Camembert Babes: November & December Bay Area Cheese Classes up!

Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux

It’s official, I now live in the peninsula! If you’re a newsletter reader and noticed that your email-box was a little less cheese-full in September, or a blog reader and thought I fell down a rabbit hole, you were correct. It takes a lot of concentration after moving, you know, to figure out where to best station the cheese cave (wine fridge) and stainless-steel creamery pots. But now that my cave is stashed, I know where to buy the best cream-line milk to test brie recipes in here Redwood City, and I’ve planted a few deer-restistant plants on my patio (where they like to hang out one-to-three nights a week), it’s back to business. The Bay Area cheese class fans have needs.

I’m amping up Bay Area cheese classes again.

Though October’s mainly full with private events, you’ll find a list of public classes for November and December below. Consider reserving early, my Bay Area cheese classes fill up especially fast in autumn and winter. I hope to see around! Also, it’s true. Also, October is American Cheese Month. More about this glorious month on my blog soon. In the meantime, go celebrate by eating cheese from your favorite domestic producer. 

Happy American Cheese Month!

 

Bay Area cheese class – big reds and cheese pairing

 

November & December Bay Area Cheese Classes & Events

 

New Mission Winemakers Tasting #2

Nov 12th, Sunday 2:00-6:00pm, San Francisco, Feastly

Join 7 cutting-edge San Francisco wineries for an evening and taste exclusive small-production wines with the winemakers. This event will feature Prima Materia, Harrington Wines,Tessier Winery, Sandler Wine Co/August West, Betwixt Wines, and several others. From Chardonnay and Grenache to Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, this will be a tasting to remember.  Cheese expert and author of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” Kirstin Jackson will be providing special cheese plates that are included in the ticket price.

 

Cheesemaking: Mozzarella and Burrata

November 19th, Sunday 11:00-2:00pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Mozzarella on nearly every aspiring home-cheesemaker’s to-do list. Yet, it’s not easy to get it right. Why won’t your curds form a ball? When you do get the ball to form, why is it hard enough for a game of hacky-sack? These are the mysteries of mozzarella. In this class, your instructor will not only demystify the mozz, but also get you on the road to making perfect ovalini and bocconcini. But wait! There’s more! We’ll use our curds to make everyone’s favorite cheese, burrata.

 

Wine & Cheese Pairing 101

November 21st, Sunday 6:30-8:30pm, San Francisco, Feastly

If you’ve ever had a pairing bomb, you know that cheese & wine can be a difficult duo! In this class, “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” cheesemaking teacher and cheese wine expert Kirstin Jackson will teach you how to harmoniously enjoy the two together without fear. You’ll learn basic rules, tricks, classic combos, and surprise pairings to help you master any wine and cheese party in time for the holidays.

Bold Reds & Cheese Pairing

November 28th, Sunday 6:30-8:30pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

When the weather turns cold, our taste in cheese and wine turns toward the richer, creamier, and bolder…how else are we going to survive the winter? Writer and wine maven Kirstin Jackson will lead you through a tasting of creamy white wines, rich reds and the cheeses that beg for bold.

 

Beer & Cheese Pairing 101

November 30th, Thursday 6:30-8:30pm, San Francisco, Feastly

Though wine and cheese are heralded as the world’s best duo, beer and cheese are actually easier to pair. Why? Carbonation, salt, hops, and butterfat are actually soul mates. In this class, “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” author, cheesemaking teacher, and pairing dynamo Kirstin Jackson will talk beer and cheese basics, classic combos, and rules that will make cheese and beer as easy to pair as peanut butter and chocolate.

 

Camembert Cheesemaking

December 10th, Sunday 11:00-2:00pm,  San Francisco, The Cheese School

Your ovalini are moist and perfectly round. Your chevre is fluffy and tangy. Now you’re ready for your next challenge: Camembert. In this class, you’ll learn how to make the French classic (with a twist) from author Kirstin Jackson. Kirstin will lead you in inoculating fresh milk, recognizing when the curd has set, then layering the curd in the form. Over the next month you’ll take your little cheese home and watch it grow fluffy and white as you care for it. We’ll keep in touch via Facebook to see how our camembert ripen!

Summer Classes: Peninsula-Here-I-Come & Underground Cheese and Wine

In honor of my move, a pic of one of the cheeses I served at my favorite peninsula winery (but that’s technically in Santa Cruz)… Ridge Montebello!

Silicon Valley seen from Montebello hills

Big news: I’m moving to the peninsula at the end of this month!

Which…. may mean more for me than you. Since, you know, I’m the one calling the movers and all that. And San Francisco and East Bay cheese lovers and friends, don’t worry. I’m moving just 35 minutes from the city. I’m not leaving you; I’m just moving to a place with more trees and parking. My business continues to be mobile.

But peninsula friends, I’m excited to start teaching more public and private classes near you! Know a place where you’d like to see me  teach? I’d love to hear about it.  August and September public classes follow. As always, classes fill up fast- consider reserving your spot early. If interested in a private class for your friends, party, or employees, please email me directly.

Summer Classes

Pennyroyal’s Velvet Sister making an oozing appearance at the Ridge Montebello release

 

 

Mozzarella Stretching & Cheese and Wine Pairing

Aug 15th, Tuesday 6:00-9:00pm, Los Gatos, Cafe Enoteca

Kirstin Jackson is back by popular demand to teach another cheese making class here at Enoteca! This installment will feature and in-depth and hands on course on stretching Mozzarella curds, making shaped and marinating them. After the cheese is made we will then have a wine pairing session featuring 4 Italian selections from Girasole Imports and 6 cheeses. Each ticket is good for the course, wine pairing and a portion of fresh cheese to take home. Please be ready to get your hands dirty and alot about 3 hours for the entire class. Tickets are extremely limited so get yours immmediately!

 

Basic Cheesemaking: Chevre, Marscapone and Ricotta 

August 20th, Sunday 11- 2pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Chevre, mascarpone, and ricotta are the cheeses that make appetizers and main courses sing. In this hands-on class, cheesemaker Kirstin Jackson will teach you how to make the cheeses that will become staples in your fridge for many more meals to come. You’ll try your creations in class and bring some home to share, or not.

 

California’s Unsung Cheeses and Wines

August 23rd, Wednesday 7-9pm, San Francisco, 18 Reasons

With its trophy cabernets and castle wineries, Napa draws more tourists than Bi-Rite Creamery’s lines on a summer’s day. Down a winding road (or two) is Sonoma and Marin – home to the legendary creameries that put our state on the dairy map. Past the shiny surfaces of these celebrated regions, bottles, and wheels, you’ll find a California that, while less glittery, is packed with gems that make wine and cheese geeks swoon.

 

Mozzarella & Burrata

August 27th, Sunday 11-2pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Mozzarella on nearly every aspiring home-cheesemaker’s to-do list. Yet, it’s not easy to get it right. Why won’t your curds form a ball? When you do get the ball to form, why is it hard enough for a game of hacky-sack? These are the mysteries of mozzarella. In this class, your instructor, who is also a cheesemaker, will not only demystify the mozz, but also get you on the road to making perfect ovalini and bocconcini just in time for all that wonderful summer produce. But wait! There’s more! We’ll use our curds to make everyone’s favorite cheese, burrata.

 

Cheesemaking: It’s Not You, it’s BRIE

Sept 6th, Wednesday 6-9pm, San Francisco, 18 Reasons

Smooth, rich and decadent, bloomy-rinded cheeses like brie engage senses in a special way. They also lend themselves to a wide variety of pairings and cooking methods. And you can make them at home! In this hands-on class, author and cheesemaker Kirstin Jackson will teach us to inoculate milk with a culture and how to proceed through ripening, churning, and draining the curds. She’ll cover aging conditions, breathable wrappings, vegetable ash, and ripeness. After we sit down to a light meal (made with brie, of course!), we will each leave with a freshly made baby brie wheel to age at home.

 

Cheesemaking: Fresh Cheeses with Leaves and Flowers 

Sept 10th Sunday 11-2pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Few of the new year’s pleasures are greeted with as much joy as the wobbly legs and little sounds of baby animals and the first bright blooms in the garden. In this class you’ll learn to make queso fresco, fromage blanc, and ricotta from scratch, then marinate each in its own springtime bouquet of leaves, herbs, and flowers…..

 

Italian Wine & Cheese Pairing

Sept 12th, Sunday 6:00-7:30pm, Albany, Solano Cellars

Take a guided trip to Italy with the help of Sommelier Kyla Knox and cheese guru Kirstin Jackson. Learn about a handful of delicious wines from all over Italy and how to pair them with selected cheeses to experience the ultimate in Italian delight.  This class is capped at 25 participants. Tuesday, September 12th 6-7:30PM!  Hope to see you there!

 

End of Summer Reds 

Sept 13th, Wednesday 6:30-6:30pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

While white and rosé wines typically hold court in summer, there’s no need to banish red wine. In fact, light-bodied reds can be a delicious pairing for cheese. In this class you’ll meet four light red wines perfect for late summer sipping and the cheeses that love them. Author and wine and cheese pairing master Kirstin Jackson leads.

CheeseCon 2017: ACS Winners, News, Highlights, and, Seaweed

Alto Valle. Its curds are formed by using the thistle flower- seen on right. Served at the cheese conference’s Meet the Cheesemaker event.

CheesecCon 2017 —otherwise known as the annual American Cheese Society Conference—wrapped up this Saturday night in Denver, Colorado with a bang (or, puff, for some, thanks to local, legal dispensaries). The weather was right, the people were right, and the vast amounts of cheese were oh so right.

A few common reactions I get when telling people I’m heading to a cheese conference:

“I’m sorry, I thought I heard you say ‘cheese conference…'”, “Did you say a peace conference?”   Then… “Do you just eat cheese all day?”

Yes! And more (photos are of cheeses I loved tasting at conference events)!

The Boston Post cheese crew. A newbie creamery with must-try cheese.

Tulip Tree’s Trillum: triple-creme at the cheese conference.

Tulip Tree’s Hops. Beer mixed in with the curds. Gorgeous.

Before the awards there are the educational sessions. Some of my favorite topics and titles this year were: Teaching the Trade, The Evolution of Artisan Cheese in America; I Got 99 Problems, But a Bicyclic Monoterpenoid Ain’t One; Small Ruminant Deep Dive: Sheep, and Far Out! Unconventional Cheese Pairings. Spoiler- I was part of the panel on the last one.

In between sessions you drink coffee, hit up local breweries, eat vegetables when possible, visit out-of-town friends you haven’t seen since the last conference, friends that only live 10 miles away from you that you still haven’t seen since the last conference, network, and, wait to hear about all the awards and winners whose names are announced Friday night. They make you wait until the end to hear the Best-in-Show.

 

This year all of us were smitten by the Best-in-Show winners. All farmstead, all east coast this year!

 

ACS 2017 Best-in-Show

1. Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise Reserve, Vermont- Enough good things could not be said about this fantastic creamery and non-profit. The Alpine style that took gold is a piece of grass-fed, sweet, crystal flecked, aged cheese heaven. This is the second year in a row it placed in the best-of-show category.

2. The Farm at Doe Run’s St. Malachi Reserve, Pennsylvania- Kind of an Alpine style, kind of a gouda style, this wheel is beefy, buttery, sweet, brittle, and addicting. This is also the second year in a row it placed in the best-of-show category.

3. Cellars at Jasper Hill’s Harbison, Vermont- Creamy, oozy, and made with inspired milk in Greensboro, Vermont, Harbison could be Jasper Hill’s most beloved creation. The wheel is wrapped in spruce bark from the farm in the Jura style and is best consumed soft, at room temperature, spooned straight from the wheel. Again, the second year in a row Harbison placed in the best-of-show category. Seeing a theme?

Find a full list of the winners here.

 

I got to see Louella Hill, SF Milk Maid, a cheesemaking teacher mentor of mine!

Yes. This is all butter. No filters, it’s that yellow- butter from grass-fed cows.

Because, Colorado beer.

 

More Winners:

The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award Winner was Vince Razionale, the Director of Cave Program and Sensory Analysis at Grafton Village Cheese, formerlly of Jasper Hill. HIs project will be on exciting cheddar graphs. Interview to come.

Cowgirls Peggy Smith & Sue Conley were awarded Lifetime Achievemen Awards on behalf of the ACS. Makes sense. Not only did two cheesemakers help spearhead a much-needed project preserving farmland in Marin County, they’ve served as mentors and role models in the cheese world. They’re great bosses, according to their employees who do tai chi with them once a week in Petaluma during the work break. They’re wonderful people.  And they make damn good cheese.

 

Red Head creamery always impresses.

Oils, cheese, and beer from the 99 Problems session. Hello, turpines.

Mystic Cheese Cheesemaker Brian Civitello and his wheels.

 

Other highlights & news:

Landmark Creamery:  won awards. Not that they needed it, but it probably made them and their Kickstarter supporters feel pretty good ($28,887 pledged of $25,000 goal). I love these ladies.

Briar Rose won once again! Cheesemaker Sarah Marcus is one of the best goat’s milk craftswomen in the country and I’m always smitten with what she’s doing. I tasted through her line when I recently visited and considered myself very lucky.

Ruggles Hill turned heads at the awards too! They’re the tiniest farm making the tiniest batches of cheeses that I will probably never get to try out of the conference unless I move to the east coast. Where it snows way….. more than it does in California, so. If you like near Hardwick, MA, you’re golden. If you have a change to get your hands on their wheels, do it. As fast you can. They’re blessed.

 

News:

Mystic Creamery is moving from Pod to Creamery. After making cheese all over the country and in Europe, Brian launched his own creamery in a pod- aka cheese trailer. There he made oozy soft cheeses, and fresh wheels that chefs adored cooking with. Now he’s moving to a permanent space also in Connecticut.

Tia and I at Far Out Pairings

My Session- Far Out Pairings:

Alongside Tia Keenan, Leigh Friend and Rachel Perez, I presented a session on unusual cheese pairings. Par for the course, I picked the drinks. Not par for the course was the nori seaweed Rachel paired to Camembert Fermier. Amazing. Tia paired a pickled, smoked brussel sprout to Challerhocker, and one of my pairings was Egyptian licorice tea matched to the same Alpine cheese. I was proud to be part of this amazing group talking about such a fun topic. More to come.

 

Until ACS 2018!

Summer Classes: Burrata Saturday & Ricotta 3 Ways w/ Feastly

Cheesemaking: Ricotta 3-Ways Recipes with Feastly

This Saturday, make burrata (otherwise known as mozzarella & cream dumplings) in Berkeley

Because summer isn’t summer without hand-stretched mozzarella and burrata to slice over heirloom tomatoes, I’m amped for this weekend’s class in Berkeley. We’ll make quick-set mozzarella, stretch our own fluffy curds, then make decadent creamy burrata while sipping a glass of bubbly! There also might be a mini artisan cheese plate involved. A couple spots are still open for this creamy cheese class- registration closes tomorrow.

 

Stuffing burrata

A couple other events I’m excited about are July’s Ricotta & 3 Recipes with Feastly (photo of what we’ll make heads the blog post) and California’s Unsung Cheeses and Wines at 18 Reasons in August. In the first we’ll make our own whole-milk and cream ricottas, then turn our cheese into 3 summer-friendly recipes like herbed pea and ricotta crostini in a short 2-hour class. In Unsung Heroes, I’ll reveal some of my favorite under-the-radar wine and cheesemakers of the Golden State, and introduce you to some of the most exciting cheese made in our state today- it’s a good time to be a Californian (there’s a lot to discover out there and I’m happy to do the dirty work).

July and August public classes follow. As always, classes fill up fast- consider reserving your spot early. If interested in a private class for your friends, party, or employees, please email me at [email protected]!

Summer Events and Classes

 

Mozzarella & Burrata By-Hand

July 8th, Saturday 2-5pm, Berkeley, Potliquor

In this delicious 3-hour class, learn how to make decadent mozzarella and burrata by-hand! After a splash of cheesemaking science, we’ll make quick-set mozzarella, then transform it into burrata- mozzarella’s cream filled cousin. We’ll end the class by enjoying the cheese we just made together with a glass of bubbly. Good for beginners and advanced cheesemakers both.

 

Cheesemaking: Ricotta & 3 Summer Recipes

July 22nd, Saturday 11am-1pm, Russian-Hill San Francisco, Feastly

If unimpressed by grocery store ricotta, prepare to meet an entirely new cheese. In this small, 2-hour class, “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” author and cheesemaking teacher Kirstin Jackson will teach you how make rich ricotta worthy of an Italian grandmother’s lasagna, or just eating with a spoon.   After a breezy cheesemaking lesson and ricotta tasting, you’ll make your own cheese with whole milk & cream, then turn it into 3 easy dishes perfect for summer parties! Expect a lively, delicious class.

Rosé & Cheese Pairing

July 24th, Monday 6:30-8:30pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Not to be confused with the jug wines of yesteryear, the beauty and delightful flavor of pink wines can be enchanting. Wine and cheese expert Kirstin Jackson will explore how rosé is made and discover the flavors of strawberries, minerals, rose petals and cocoa powder that characterize the very best of this style. Pair the pinks with carefully selected cheeses and you have the perfect formula for outdoor summer entertaining.

 

Basic Cheesemaking: Chevre, Marscapone and Ricotta 

August 20th, Sunday 11- 2pm, San Francisco, The Cheese School

Chevre, mascarpone, and ricotta are the cheeses that make appetizers and main courses sing. In this hands-on class, cheesemaker Kirstin Jackson will teach you how to make the cheeses that will become staples in your fridge for many more meals to come. You’ll try your creations in class and bring some home to share, or not.

 

California’s Unsung Cheeses and Wines

August 23rd, Wednesday 7-9pm, San Francisco, 18 Reasons

With its trophy cabernets and castle wineries, Napa draws more tourists than Bi-Rite Creamery’s lines on a summer’s day. Down a winding road (or two) is Sonoma and Marin – home to the legendary creameries that put our state on the dairy map. Past the shiny surfaces of these celebrated regions, bottles, and wheels, you’ll find a California that, while less glittery, is packed with gems that make wine and cheese geeks swoon.

 

Mozzarella & Burrata

August 27th, Sunday 11-2pm, San Francisco, 18 Reasons

Mozzarella on nearly every aspiring home-cheesemaker’s to-do list. Yet, it’s not easy to get it right. Why won’t your curds form a ball? When you do get the ball to form, why is it hard enough for a game of hacky-sack? These are the mysteries of mozzarella. In this class, your instructor, who is also a cheesemaker, will not only demystify the mozz, but also get you on the road to making perfect ovalini and bocconcini just in time for all that wonderful summer produce. But wait! There’s more! We’ll use our curds to make everyone’s favorite cheese, burrata.
Hope to see you around!