Chicago officially loves artisan cheese. With still six weeks until the second annual Cheesetopia festival, only 60 of 500 tickets remain. That means if you want to talk shop with 40 cheesemakers, sample their wares and buy their cheeses, you may want to act now, because this baby's going to sell out soon, and no tickets will be sold at the door.
Cheesetopia? Well, it's what happens when I spend a little time daydreaming and start bouncing event ideas off my husband while he's working on his laptop on the sofa next to me. Together, we come up with a one-day event that last year sold out in Milwaukee, is this year very close to selling out in Chicago, will move to Minneapolis in 2017, and after that, to a major city either east or west. After that, who knows?
Each year, our goal is to bring the best artisan and farmstead cheeses from the surrounding region to the heart of a different American city so urban folks can meet, greet, sample and purchase cheese from small batch artisan producers they otherwise might never have the chance to meet.
This year in Chicago on Sunday, April 10 from Noon to 4 p.m., attendees will ride one of the oldest, largest elevators in the city (it’s so big, it has a built-in bar & chandelier) to the top floor of the Bridgeport Art Center, home to the former Spiegel Catalog Warehouse. This historic, renovated building features a Skyline Loft with original timber construction, exposed brick, an unparalleled view of the Chicago skyline, and tables full of artisan cheeses to sample.
New this year, tickets include open bar with complimentary wine, beer and soda. Onsite parking is also included in ticket price. Tickets are $75 and are on sale by clicking here.
An absolute HUGE thanks to Roth Cheese, who stepped up this year to be Cheesetopia's Marquee Sponsor. The event would not be possible without their support. Thank you!!
So who all will be there? Well, so far, participating cheesemakers & artisans include:
Alemar Cheese Company, Mankato, MN – Cheesemaker Craig Hageman sampling Bent River Camembert, Blue Earth Brie & Good Thunder Washed Rind
Ames Farm Honey, Delano, MN – Artisans Josh King and Brian Fredericksen sampling Single Source Raw Honey & Blooming Prairie Creamed Raw Honey
Artisan Cheese Exchange, Sheboygan, WI – Kayla Immel sampling Deer Creek 1-Year, 3-Year, 5-Year, 7-Year, Vat 17, Fawn, Stag, Rattlesnake, Robin, Doe & Blue Jay
Afro Fusion Cuisine, St. Francis, WI – Sampling African & Jamaican Chutneys, Sauces, Marinades & Gourmet Sausages
Burnett Dairy Cooperative, Grantsburg, WI – Nicki Peterson sampling Wood River Creamery Alpha’s Morning Sun in various flavors, Burnett Dairy Pepperoni String Cheese & Burnett Dairy String Whips
Caprine Supreme, Black Creek, WI – Cheesemaker Todd Jaskolski debuting a new cow's milk cheese
Carr Valley Cheese, LaValle, WI – Beth Wyttenbach sampling Wildfire Blue, Porto Duet, Red Abbot, Billy Blue & Caso Bolo Mellage
Caves of Faribault, Faribault, MN – Cheesemaker Jacob Huffman sampling St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese, Amagorg Gorgonzola, Fini Cave Aged Cheddar & St. Mary’s Grassfed Gouda
Cedar Grove Cheese, Plain, WI – Master Cheesemaker Bob Wills sampling 8-Year Organic Cheddar, Donatello, Quark & Double Cream Colby
Cesar’s Cheese, Random Lake, WI – Cheesemakers Cesar & Heydi Luis sampling La Pinta & Bandaged Cheddar
Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, WI – Cheesemaker George Crave sampling Marinated Fresh Mozzarella, Better Cheddar Cheese Curds, Mascarpone & Farmers Rope
Creme de la Coulee Artisan Cheese, Madison, WI — Cheesemaker Bill Anderson sampling Saint Jenifer, Coulee Camembert, Leopold & Alpine Select
Emmi Roth USA, Monroe, WI – Cheesemaker Marc Druart sampling Roth’s Private Reserve, GranQueso, Prairie Sunset, Buttermilk Blue & Grand Cru
Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Bensenville, IL — James Croskey sampling Hook’s Little Boy Blue, Hook’s Truffle Cheddar, Hook’s Parmesan, Nordic Creamery Grumpy Goat, Nordic Creamery Cinnamon Butter & Nordic Creamery Cultured Butter
Hidden Springs Creamery, Westby, WI – Cheesemaker Brenda Jensen sampling Driftless in Honey, Basil & Natural flavors, Ocooch Mountain, Manchego, Feta, Cheddar & Bad Axe
Jacobs & Brichford Farmstead Cheese, Connersville, IN – Farmer Maize Jacobs-Brichford sampling Everton & Briana
LaClare Farms Specialties, Malone, WI – Cheesemaker Katie Fuhrmann sampling Chandoka, Evalon, Martone, Chevre, Raw Cheddar, Fondy Jack & Goat Cheddar
Landmark Creamery, Albany, WI – Cheesemakers Anna Landmark and Anna Thomas Bates sampling Anabasque, Petit Nuage & Pecora Nocciola
Lone Grazer Creamery, Minneapolis, MN – Cheesemaker Rueben Nilsson sampling Grazier’s Edge, Hansom Cab & Northeazy Tomme
Ludwig Farmstead Creamery, Fithian, IL – Cheesemaker Adrian Buff sampling Vermilion River Blue, Sangamon Double Cream, Kickapoo, Traditional Dutch Gouda, Jake’s Wheel, Jake’s Habanero, Jake’s Dutch Garden Herb, White Cheddar Cheese Curds, Herb Cheese Curds & Spicy Cheese Curds
Marieke Gouda, Thorp, WI – Cheesemaker Marieke Penterman sampling Marieke Mature Gouda, Truffle Gouda, Golden & Cumin Gouda
Martha’s Pimento Cheese, Milwaukee, WI – Cheesemaker Martha Davis Kipcak sampling Martha’s Pimento Cheese, Martha’s Pimento Cheese with Jalapeno, Martha’s Pimento Cheese with Chile de Arbol
Montchevre-Betin Inc, Belmont, WI – Cheesemaker Jean Rossard sampling Flavored Fresh Goat Cheeses, Bucheron Brie, Goat Cheddar & Boat Blue
Nduja Artisans Salumeria, Chicago, IL – Artisan Antonio Fiasche sampling Nduja, Salame di Manzo, Finocchiona, Nostrano & Cacciatorini Piccanti
Organic Valley, LaFarge, WI – Master Cheesemaker Carie Wagner sampling Kickapoo Blue & Grass Milk Sharp Cheddar
Pasture Pride Cheese, Cashton, WI – Mary Bess Michaletz sampling Juusto, Natural Valley Goat Cheeses, Farmhouse Kitchens Hand Rolled Butter & Butter Crunch
Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese, Kewaunee, WI - Sampling a variety of classic Wisconsin cheeses
Potter’s Crackers, Madison WI – Artisan Nancy Potter sampling Cranberry Hazelnut Crisps, Caramelized Onion Crakcers, Herbes de Provence Crackers & more
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, IL – Cheesemaker Leslie Cooperband sampling Chevre Frais, Moonglo, Little Bloom on the Prairie & Black Goat
Quince & Apple, Madison, WI -- Artisan Matt Stoner Fehsenfeld sampling an array of small batch preserves
Red Barn Family Farms, Appleton, WI – Owners Terry & Paula Homan sampling Cupola American Original Cheese, 5-Year Heritage Weis, Heritage White Cheddar, Edun New Zealand Style Raw Milk Cheddar & Red Barn’s newest Alpine-style cheese
Redhead Creamery, Brooten, MN – Cheesemaker Alise Sjostrom sampling Lucky Linda Aged Cheddar, Little Lucy Brie & North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster
Roelli Cheese, Shullsburg, WI – Master Cheesemaker Chris Roelli sampling Dunbarton Blue & Red Rock
SA Braai, Wauwatosa, WI – Artisan Matthew Devan sampling SA Braai Mild Chutney & SA Braai Sweet Chutney
Sartori Company, Plymouth, WI – Master Cheesemaker Pam Hodgson sampling Classic Montamore, SarVecchio Parmesan, Raspberry BellaVitano, Rosemary & Olive Oil Asiago & Limited Edition Extra-Aged Goat
Saxon Creamery, Cleveland, WI – Cheesemaker Tate Struve sampling Big Eds Gouda, Asiago Fresca, Snowfields Butterkase & Saxony Alpine
Smoking Goose Meatery, Indianapolis, IN – Kate Langdon sampling Saucisson Rouge, Pancetta Tesa, & Smoked Duck, Pear and Port Sausage.
Springside Cheese, Oconto Falls, WI – Cheesemakers Wayne & Nathan Hintz sampling Bandaged Cheddar, Krakow, Pantaleo Green Jack & Cheese Curds
Standard Market, Westmont, IL – Affineur David Rogers & Alyssa Stone sampling Cave Aged Chandoka by LaClare Farms, Cave Aged Tomme de Nena by Kenny’s Farmhouse & Cave Aged Pauline by Kenny’s Farmhouse
Treat Bake Shop, Milwaukee, WI – Artisan Sarah Marx Feldner sampling Spiced & Candied nuts all made by hand in small batches
Tulip Tree Creamery, Indianapolis, IN – Cheesemaker Fons Smits sampling Trillium, Foxglove, Tigerlily, Snapdragon, Dutchman’s Breeches, Fromage Frais, Haymaids, Larkspur & Beer Cheese
Uplands Cheese, Dodgeville, WI – Cheesemaker Andy Hatch sampling Pleasant Ridge Reserve
I'm super proud of this list of amazing artisan producers and can't wait to see them all in one room at one time. I hope you'll join me on April 10!