2010 International
Food & Wine Festival

Cheese Tasting - Italy


Italian Cheese Tasting - October 9, 2010
Artisian Cheese Expert Erin Hedley and Casa Torelli Imports Andrea Torelli

Erin took us on an Italian Cheese adventure which included the history of cheese and then more specifically, Italian Cheeses! Andrea shared with us two Italian wines that complemented the cheeses quite well. Food and Wine Festival regular Pam Smith hosted the event.
Unlike at the wine seminars, the cheese tasting took place in the Chef's Showcase and seating is much more comfortable!

Front Left: Robiola Rocchetta; Front Right: Taleggio; Back Left: Parmigiano-Reggiano; Back Right: Gorgonzola Picante

Wines: Casa Torelli Chianti
Magicale Brachetto (sparkling red)

My Review - Overall I gave this seminar high marks. So much of the seminar is dependent on the presenters and both Andrea and Erin were extremely knowledgeable. I learned a great deal about both Italian cheeses and wines. Both folks were enthusiastic, fun and very open to audience questions. The two wines were both a generous pour and we were able to have refills of the Chianti. I really enjoyed the Chianti but not the Magicale Brachetto (think Rosa Regale). I don't like sparkling reds and in addition this one was too sweet for me personally. Folks around me found both enjoyable with the cheeses. I just wish instead of a few crackers (and I do mean few) a really nice bread was offered instead! I understand crackers for the $8-$12 wine seminars, but not for a $75 event.

I was surprised how many folks who attended were not interested in the wines at all. For a cheese tasting alone, the price is steep.


I didn't realize Chianti was made with the Sangiovese grape -- duh on my part as a wine lover. Better study Italian wines more.

When storing open cheese in the refrigerator use parchment or wax paper, and then the saran wrap - it will keep the freshness and flavor much longer. Also, keep it in the vegetable crisper.

For really awesome Parmigiano cheese find one 18 months or older. For a good moderately priced one, be sure it's at least 9 months old.

It takes about 10 years to train a cheesemaker's ear to know if a cheese is ready by thumping it with a cheese hammer! Wow!

The first cheese we tasted, the Robiola (very soft and creamy - loved it!) is from the Piedmont area. It was created when the cheesemaker was short on cow's milk and had to add sheep or goat milk to make his quota.

Parmigiano-Reggiano, the King of Cheeses, can only come from the cities of Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua.

Cheese Seminars - Learn more about cheese from the expert "fromagers". In addition, the featured cheese to be tasted will be paired with selected wines or beverages, introduced by a beverage representative.

Where: Festival Welcome Center 
When: Saturdays from 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Price: $75 per person, plus tax, gratuity included – Theme Park admission required.

Remaining Seminars:

October 16 American Max McCalman, Artisanal Premium Cheese Center in New York City
October 23 Spanish Waldemar Albrecht-Luna, Artisanal Premium Cheese Center in New York City
October 30 French Max McCalman, Artisanal Premium Cheese Center in New York City
November 6 American David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery, Central Point, OR
November 13 Italian Max McCalman, Artisanal Premium Cheese Center in New York City