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  • Writer's pictureMichael Landis

Celebrating American Cheese Makers

One year ago, I started a simple program called “Meet the Cheese Maker Live!” for the American Cheese Month in May on Zoom. My purpose was to share my love and experiences with many of these amazing cheese makers that have become my friends over the years. During the last 16 years of teaching cheese, these cheese makers and producers of fine cheese accompaniments have supported me in a wide array of presentations. They have provided support with products, time and being physically part of presentations from around the country and abroad. Bringing the cheese makers to you is my way of supporting who they are and the great cheeses they produce. It requires a lot of time to plan, coordinate and produce these events and I provide this at no charge to them. It is my gift to them for supporting me all these years.

It is time again to honor, celebrate and promote our American Cheese Makers during the month of May in support of the American Cheese Month. I am not asking for donations I am asking for you to reach out to these cheese makers and buy their amazing cheeses. Go to your local store and buy them there, if they don’t stock them, ask the deli manager to bring them in (they love knowing someone will buy that cheese) or go direct to the producer. Create a party, share the cheeses with your family and friends. Celebrate the exceptional quality and uniqueness of these cheeses. Here’s a short video I did last year to briefly explain the events planned.

I have 15 Zoom events planned for the Month of May and have a wide diversity of producers participating. Everything about cheese with the makers of the cheese, cheese pairing with Charcuterie with the Salumi maker, Chutneys’ by the Chutney maker, Jams by the Jam Maker, Biscuits by the bakers and then there’s the people that support the products. More pairings by Brewers, Wine Makers, Bourbon Ambassadors, Chocolate Makers and unique specialty Crisps.

What do you learn? When you create a product you hope everyone will enjoy it on its own. We are fortunate to have products that work well together and have an infinite ability to pair up with other products. But, what would the person who created and made the product what to pair it up with and why? That was my question when I started this and I hope to bring many of them to light this month during these segments.

Week 1 – Monday, May 3rd – American Cheese Month

Monday, May 3rd at 4:00 pm ET / Bring a cocktail

Join three of the American Cheese Society past presidents on their talk about the American cheese month and what that means. David Gremmels, Peggy Smith & Jeff Jirik share their experiences over the years with ACS and what American Artisan Cheeses mean today.

Tuesday, May 4th 4:00 pm ET

For the American Cheese month in May, Michael and Brian will talk about Fiscalini farm & cheese, their over 100 years of managing their farm and of course a Virtual Cheese tasting of their award-winning cheeses. Brian has some flavored cheeses that we will talk about along with the Fiscalini Cheese Old World Cheddar, Fiscalini Cheese Lionza & Fiscalini Cheese San Joaquin Gold - You can get the cheeses at and join in on the tasting with us!

Wednesday, May 5th at 4:00 pm ET

We put these four items together all the time. What if you had the person who makes these talk about each of their products along with why they pair it these items? That’s what we are going to do. Join Jessica Little with Sweet Grass Dairy, Robert Harrison with 34 Degrees Crisps, Ryan Chidester with Creminelli Fine Meats & Oliver Turner with Virginia Chutney / The Preservation Society for a lively discussion on why and how these pair together.

Thursday, May 6th 4:00 pm ET

David’s back and we are going to jump into some fun cheese pairings with David. Here’s where you get to learn more about blue, how they get blue and what makes them so special.

Friday, May 7th 4:00 pm ET

Join these cheese makers and mongers as they shake, stir and sip their favorite summer cocktail with their favorite cheese. Amy Spitznagel with Idyll Farms, Laurie Baierl with Marieke Gouda, Marieke Penterman with Marieke Gouda, Michele Buster with Forever Cheese, Michele Haram with Cypress Grove Chevre and Trevor Thomas with Cheese Traveler / Lactalis

Week 2 – Tuesday, May 11th – American Cheese Month

Tuesday, May 11th at 4:00 pm EDT

Join Elle Fearing, Carr Valley Cheese Company as we pair up seven biscuits, seven jams with seven cheeses with Irene Costello & Joan MacIsaac with Effie’s Homemade Biscuits and Bonnie Shershow with Bonnie’s Jams.

Wednesday, May 12th 4:00 pm ET

Join Zoe Brickley with Jasper Hill Farm as she talks about the cellars, farm and cheese making. We also get an amazing Virtual Cheese tasting as well.

Thursday, May 13th 4:00 pm ET

Join Pat Ford with Beehive Cheese as he has a “Show & Tell” about the special rubs for his cheeses. Why this sea salt, why this tea, what’s with the barely buzzed and then spices. How does a rub work and how hard is it to stick? We will follow along with Pat and also have a virtual cheese tasting as well. Pat will guide us through the flavors and profiles of his cheeses.

Friday, May 14th 4:00 pm ET

Join us for a 4 Jasper Hill Farm cheese, 4 Valrhona chocolates and 4 Treasury Estate wines tasting. By the way, not only is Zoe an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Profession, but also a ACS Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator and an exceptional instructor, joined by Gillian Balance, on the a handful of women Master Sommeliers. Also keeping us on track is Pauline Gaultier, with Valrhona bringing 13 years of experience in developing chocolates working in France, Hong Kong and with customers around the World.

Week 3 – Tuesday, May 18th – American Cheese Month

Tuesday, May 18th 4:00 pm ET

We meet Matt Erdley a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker with the Klondike Cheese Company. Matt will talk about the history of the company since 1925, the changes, challenges and great product line of cheeses. We will virtually taste several cheeses including their Buholzer Brothers Gouda, Dill Havarti. Muenster Chunk and the Odyssey Tzatziki.

Wednesday, May 19th at 4:00 pm ET

Join Terence Sullivan, Charles Bamforth & Michele Haram for a pairing of Sierra Nevada beers with Cypress Grove Chevre cheeses. There will be a brief history of both Sierra Nevada and Cypress Grove Chevre, then on to the Virtual Cheese & Beer Tasting!

Thursday, May 20th 4:00 pm EDT

Join Mariano Gonzalez, Ruth Flore & Amy Sisti-Baum for a talk about the rich history of the Grafton Village Cheese Company, the farms that supply the milk and a Virtual Cheese tasting of the Grafton traditional Clothbound, Shepsog, and Bear Hill.

Friday, May 21st 4:00 pm ET

Join us for another round of Cocktails and Cheese. That’s right, five more Cocktails & Cheeses, watch, learn, sip and taste as they shake, stir and sip their cocktail along with their favorite cheese. Bernice Reyes-Sharp – H-E-B Market, Gayle DeCaro – Gelson’s Market, Lynn Giacomini Stray Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co, Patty McCormick & Tasia Malakasis

Week 4 – Monday, 24th – American Cheese Month

Monday, May 24th 4:00 pm ET

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Creminelli Fine Meats & Jasper Hill Farm Cheeses!

Join Adam Harris the senior Ambassador for Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Ryan Chidester with Creminelli Fine Meats and Zoe Brickley with Jasper Hill Farm. These Cheeses are perfect for these Basil Hayden’s Bourbons and to make this even more exceptional we have paired them up with Creminelli Fine Meats.

Tuesday, May 25th 4:00 pm ET

Join Padgett Arnold with Sequatchie Cove Creamery as she talks about the changes that happen in one year on the farm. She talks in depth about the journey from a farm to cheese making. Along the way we will have a Virtual Cheese Tasting.

Wednesday, May 26th 4:00 pm ET

Join Amy Spitznagel with Idyll Farms as she talks about the last year and the changes that have taken place. We will also visit some of her cheeses, look for updates.

Thursday, May 27th 4:00 pm ET

Working on the final details – Check for updates.

Friday, May 28th 4:00 pm ET

Even More Cocktails – Check for updates.

All these events start at 4:00 pm ET on Zoom, they are free and will also be recorded and available on my YouTube Channel, Michael Landis Cheese.

I feel that I need to disclose a recent event that will have an impact on these and any upcoming events planned. I was declared Legally Blind. For those who have known me personally, this is something that my friends have been helping me with for years. My plans are to continue to conduct events until it becomes too much and then we will see what is next. I want to sincerely thank you for your support over the years and in the future, from the bottom of my heart. I love working with my friends and introducing their wonderful products to the world. - Michael

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