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October 22nd, 2008


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05:45 am - ADGA wrap up
Sorry I never reported on the results of the American Dairy Goat Association cheese competition. I had to go away to the Russian River for my birthday. It was awesome. It was so isolated that when smallstages and I went to go for a walk we realized that there were no lights around for at least a mile in our secluded, hot-tubbed, over-priced, Cazadero vacation rental. Awesome and relaxing.

Anyways, at the show, after two days of judging, Professor Rosenberg and I awarded the Best in Show and First runner-up prizes to dairies I’d never even heard of before, proving that no fix was in. Best in Show went to Bonnie Blue Farm in Waynesboro, Tennessee for their “Parker” cheese. It was a little (3-5 lb.?) wheel with a hard, brownish rind that looked a lot like a Spanish Garrotxa. The outside was beautiful but with a strong ammonia smell that didn’t bode well. But oh man, once we cored it I knew it was the best cheese I had tasted yet. Cheddary, but sweet. The tanginess of a goat cheese but no Billy around anywhere. Great smooth aftertaste. Excellent cheese.

The First runner-up I can’t even find a website for. Baetja Farm in Missouri with a French-style, surface-ripened goat cheese called “St. Genevieve”. It was honestly one of the best French-style young goat cheeses I’ve ever had that was made in the U.S. Fruity and tangy with an amazing firm yet smooth texture. Right up there with Pug’s Leap and Andante Dairy. Oh look, I found an article about the cheesemakers.

Other professional goat cheeses that I considered seriously for Best in Show were the Redwood Hill Gravenstein Gold from Sebastopol, Ca, and the Haystack Red Cloud, from Longmont Colorado, both washed-rind, firm, somewhat pungent goat cheeses.

Amusingly enough, we went back and forth over the amateur category only to find out that our fist two choices were made by the same person. Ha.

One of the things about judging is that one of the things I get paid for is to write comments on every cheese I taste. Hopefully the folks who didn’t win will realize that my comments are meant to help, not hurt their feelings. Luckily most goat cheese folks aren’t close enough to the city to come to the store to kick my ass. I only criticize out of love, I swear!

Overall – even with a few rancid cheeses that needed to be spat out as soon as possible -- it was an incredibly fun experience. I really like cheese judging. I am very judgmental.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:smallstages
Date:October 22nd, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
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I love the way you are all casual in this entry and totally leave out the part about us scampering back into the safety of the house after just a few yards of pitch-dark wilderness.

Happy birthday plus one week!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 24th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Thought you might like these

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Yeah, I took those pictures
Thanks Gordon, you were a joy to work with
Terri
[User Picture]
From:gordonzola
Date:October 24th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Thought you might like these

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You too Terri! I had a great time. Think of me whenever the ADGA is back in California.
[User Picture]
From:gordonzola
Date:October 24th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Thought you might like these

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Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:sheanadavis
Date:October 23rd, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)

Gat Cheez

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Well done!
See you soon,
Sheana D
[User Picture]
From:webfarmer
Date:October 23rd, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Speaking of cheese contests, a longtime friend of mine from here in the Lincoln, NE area just got an award at the American Cheese Society conference in Chicago.

My buddy Krista Dittman, from Branched Oak Farm in Raymond, NE, got second place for her soft, creamy quark. It's an on-farm cheese factory they've started at their place in partnership with ShadowBrook Farm's Dutch Girl Creamery in Denton, NE. All certified organic of course.

I don't know quark from Velveeta but I imagined you probably do and might be interested. They also make gouda, camembert, mozzarella and some seasonal cheeses according to the latest food co-op report.
From:joyna
Date:October 26th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)

I hope my cheese wasn't too bad. ;p

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I look forward to seeing your comments when they arrive. I like a more creamy cheese, and it seemed the crumbly drier cheeses were more prevalent and popular. Too bad we didn't see you at the wine & cheese event, but you might have been mobbed with folks asking questions.
Thanks for coming,
Laurie
(twas amateur flavored fresh soft cheese, recipe has evolved over years of sharing samples with friends & family).
[User Picture]
From:gordonzola
Date:October 27th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)

Re: I hope my cheese wasn't too bad. ;p

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Well, I hope I was nice. ;) But you know, judging is useful but subjective. If you aren't trying to sell professionally, and you and your friends like it, it doesn't matter what I think, ya know?

I wish I could have been at the event. Unfortunately I was working selling cheese that night.

It was a great event. Wish I'd met you.
[User Picture]
From:corvus
Date:October 27th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
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On my radio show tonight I played a ridiculous amount of J Church (and a couple Cringer tracks too!) as it's been a bit more than a year since Lance died. I'll post a playlist later!

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