I'll be doing my best to taste each and every one of the exhibitors' cheeses, but in the unlikely event that I bonk before the finish line (or get kicked out for eating too much), I've started a list of priorities. I'm all for the Washington cheeses, but if I somehow miss a cheese or two, they'll have to be the ones I can find dependably at my local PCC.
Farms you might not know:
1. Jasper Hill Farm, from Greensboro, VT. First priority: Constant Bliss, their soft, gooey-on-the-edges mold-ripened cow's milk cheese that is quite appropriately named. Not as widely available here as it seems to be on the east coast, for obvious reasons.
2. Redwood Hill Farm, from Sebastopol, CA. Try the Camellia, like Camembert, only made with goat's milk.
3. Ballard Family Dairy, from Gooding, ID. Repeat: this cheese is not from Ballard, it's from Idaho. Confusing, I know, especially because Idaho's never been known for its artisanal cheese production. But last weekend I tasted their Idaho Danish Pearl, a soft cheese that cuts like havarti but melted in my mouth like a soft, cool hunk of brie, and I can't seem to get it out of my head. I've had cravings before, but only very rarely do I crave a certain mouthfeel.
Seattle Cheese Festival tastings occur on the Cheese Concourse (AKA Pike Place), May 19-20, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. There's a $1 suggested donation. There are also seminars, kids' events, and a wacky cheese wheel-rolling event called The Rolling of the Truckles - click here for a full weekend schedule.