American Cheese Society Annual Competition Awards Announced

Three Maine Cheese Guild members — Appleton Creamery, Longfellow Creamery, and Pineland Farms Creamery — won awards at the 2009 American Cheese Society Conference that just concluded in Austin, TX.

Maine retained the blue ribbon for Feta with Pineland Farm Creamery’s first place award; Appleton Creamery followed up last year’s success by scoring second place again for their Chevre in Grape Leaf in the Aged Goat Cheese category; and a newcomer to the ACS awards honor roll: Longfellow Creamery won third place for their Kenabago Camembert in the Farmhouse category.

Download all the information for all the winners at:

2008 ACS Conference Blog: Deep Into It


7:30am — Breakfast, with a roundtable discussion that asked the question “Is Cheese The New Wine?” The most interesting part being a discussion of how the California wine used to use European appelation names (“Burgundy”, “Chablis”, etc.) to name their wines early in the modern growth of American wines, but that has evolved to developing it’s own labels (“Napa Cabernet” says much more today than “California Bordeaux”). This could be applied to American cheeses, where some bloomy cheeses in the US are still labeled as “Camembert” at the same time that other US cheese producers are developing their own nomenclature for the same type of cheese.

10:15am — Extend Age of Bloomy Soft Ripened Cheese presented by Brian Humiston based on the research at Oregon State University he is doing with Lisbeth Goddik. This is an amazing investigation into what can be done to stabilize bloomy rind cheeses to maximize their shelf-life. Basically the answer lies in retaining as MUCH calcium in the curd as possible, which enhances the stability of the cheese through the aging process. To do this, Mr. Humiston (whose camembert-style cheese won 2nd place last year in the cows milk bloomy rind competition) Mr. Humiston vat pasteurizes the cheese, re-acidifies the cheese to exactly 6.50pH, adds CaCl2 to the milk, then re-pasteurizes the milk after holding it overnight at 55 deg F. In addition, he uses Streptococcus thermaphilus instead of the traditional MM100 culture to get a very fast high temp fermentation, plus the St are less proteolytic at the aging state than is MM100. Of course he lays out all the details and reasoning in his presentation, most of which is captured in his slides. I made sure I picked up extra hand-outs of the slides to bring back with all the details.

Even better, he brought four versions of the cheese he’s been making for his study, two calcium stabilized versions, and two traditional recipe versions (one each aged at 43 deg F, and 37 deg F (see picture above) made on the same day (19 June) and we got to taste these along with a real Camembert from France (Le Chatelain). At 36 days old, the traditional high temp cheese was way droopy with the classic musky strong over-ripe flavors while the stabilized high temp cheese was buttery, though with a hint of ammonia. The traditional low temp cheese was everyone’s favorite: buttery and rich with a semi-solid pate. The stabilized low temp cheese was still very sold but had that peach fuzz pasty texture and a much less developed flavor. The Le Chatelain (age unknown) was very solid as well, but instead of the pasty peach fuzz (which tells me that it’s not early in the ripening), it was just plain and boring…hmmm.

1:45pm — Select Suitable Cheese For Extended Aging with cheesemakers from Widmer Cheese Cellars, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with Jasper Hill. I lucked into another seminar that included a tasting component: we had six slices of cheese on a plate to taste — a young version and a fully-aged version of their cheddar. It was a really good illustration of how aging truly can change cheese into something special, but it’s not without risk. The other interesting comparison was that Widmer aged in plastic for up to 10(!) years (which we tasted), and both Beecher’s and Cabot Clothbound are natural rind versions of cheddar that are typically sold at 12 to 24 months old. We learned a lot about each of the challenges (cheese mites! answer: vaccuum cleaner!) in the production of these special efforts, and also the choices that are made with each batch. At the end, they’re trying to make a cheese that sings on the palate, and they’re pretty successful at doing this consistantly.

Trip To France Planned

Janet’s Agriculture Tour to France was planned for early spring 2009, but has been re-scheduled for 2010; check in with at the Guild web site for more information about dates and updated itineraries.

Maine Cheese Guild France Trip Proposal:

February 22 – March 3, 2009
Day 1 – Sunday 22nd Feb – Depart from Logan Airport to catch our overnight flight to Paris. Relax with
In flight meal service and entertainment.
Day 2 – Monday 23rd Feb Arrive Paris, and transfer to hotel in Paris city center “the City of Lights” is truly one of the world’s great cities. Although it has a population of over 10 million, the historic core of the city is largely untouched by modern development. Its broad boulevards and wide open spaces create stunning vistas punctuated by world famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.
This afternoon there will be a guided panoramic sightseeing tour of the city including the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame Cathedral. Welcome dinner tonight. O/N PARIS (D)
Day 3 – Tuesday 24th Feb Early departure from hotel this morning to visit Rungis Market in the south of Paris, the largest wholesale market in France. It has a surface area of 320 hectares and employs 15,000 to facilitate the flow of millions of tons of produce, meat, cheese, poultry and even flowers. Rungis is a distribution point of food not only for France but for many European countries. France produces more than 250 different cheeses – the selection is endless. There will be a guided tour of the market followed by breakfast with a chance to sample some the local produce being sold.
Afterwards continue heading south passing through the rural regions of Isle de France and Champagne en route to Burgundy with a visit featuring a number of well known cheese makes including Brie and Coloumiers. Lunch included at a Ferme Auberge.
This afternoon continue south visiting en route a dairy farm producing a number of specialty cheeses of this region – St Florentin and Soumaintrain
Arrive later to this afternoon in Dijon. Famed for its spicy mustard produced here, Dijon is the ancient capital of Burgundy. The region, of course, is renowned for its fabulous wine and cheese. Dijon is the perfect place to enjoy these delicacies along with its many fine buildings and old world charm.


Day 4 – Wednesday 25th Feb Depart Dijon this morning and continue south traveling through the famous Cote D’Or (Gold Coast) wine producing region on Burgundy. En route make a stop at a vineyard for a tour of the winery and wine-tasting. A lunch stop will be made in the town of Beaune, an important wine producing centre. The town still retains its defensive city walls as well as many other attractive medieval features. This afternoon continue south through Charolles region of Burgundy where there will be a visit to a goat farm which produces goat cheeses such as Le Charolais and L’Alexou. O/N Clermont Ferrand (BD)

Day 5 – Thursday 26th Feb Today there will be a full day program visiting a number of cheese producers in the Auvergne region. Lunch included today.

Visit Laiterie de la Montagne in St Nectaire which produces a number of cheeses typical to this area including St Nectaire, Cantal and Fourme d’Ambert. Visit Gaec de Joli Bois, a farm with Montbeliarde Cattle (known as the cheese maker breed in France) also producing St Nectaire Cheese. O/N Clermont Ferrand (BL)

Day 6 – Friday 27th Feb Depart the Auvergne today and head north towards the Loire Valley. The Loire is France’s longest river stretching east to west for over 600 miles. The mild climate and fertile alluvial soil make this a region well suited for growing fruit, vines and vegetables. In addition the region is home to a unique concentration of chateaux, some of the most extravagant and stunning examples of Renaissance and Baroque architecture to be found in all of Europe. Today we visit La Fromagerie Jacquin, which makes a large range of cheese from both cow and goat’s milk.

This afternoon there will be a visit to the Chateau of Chenonceaux. With its elegant arches spanning the river Cher, Chenonceaux is for many the most visually appealing of all chateaux along the Loire valley.


Day 7 – Saturday 28th Feb Depart the Loire Valley this morning and continue journey north to Normandy, a region of patchwork fields, lush rolling pastures, dairy cattle and apple orchards. Visit Graindorge cheese factory in Livarot maker of some of the best known cheese brands of this region including Camembert, Livarot and Pont L’Eveque. Lunch included today. Arrive in Caen mid-afternoon with the rest of the day free for independent sightseeing and shopping. O/N CAEN (BLD)

Day 8 – Sunday 1st March This morning there will be an opportunity to visit St Pierre Farmer’s Market in Caen with over 400 stalls to browse. Afterwards depart for an excursion to Mont Saint Michel, the great monastery island-fortress that seems to rise out of the sea from the vast Bay of Mont St Michel. This is one of the most famous sights of all France. We tour the little town and visit the medieval Abbey, built atop the rocky hillside.


Day 9 – Monday 2nd March Depart Caen for a visit to a farm growing apples for the production of cider and calvados including an opportunity for tasting.

Continue to Rouen, the city infamous for being where Joan of Arc was burnt on the cross in 1431. Although badly bombed during the war, the city has been carefully restored and is one of the most attractive cities of northern France, featuring a magnificent medieval cathedral.

On arrival there will be free time for lunch and an opportunity for some independent sightseeing and shopping. Depart this afternoon for Paris.

There will be a farewell dinner cruise tonight on the Bateaux Mouches. With most of the major monuments illuminated at night, cruising along the Seine in a glass topped boat is a great way to enjoy Paris in its most romantic setting. FYI – This will be a highlight of the trip, creating memories you will never forget. O/N PARIS (BD)

Day 10 – Tuesday 3rd March Depart for airport to return to Boston

Tour Includes:

Round trip air from Boston to Paris

8 hotel nights based on sharing twin room (3/4*)

8 breakfasts 7 dinners and 3 lunches (As indicated by BLD on the itinerary)

Coach services for duration of tour as specified on itinerary

Guided sightseeing of: Paris, Mont Saint Michel

Entrances to: Chenonceau, Mont Saint Michel

All farm and technical visits

Guided tour of Rungis market (including breakfast)

Wine tasting (Cote d’Or) & Calvados tasting (Normandy)

Services of Stita tour manager

Tips and gratuities for included services

Baggage handling in hotels, 1 piece per person

Not Included:

Transportation to Logan Airport – Suggest Concord Trailways from Portland

Gratuities for driver, escort and local guides

Any other meals not listed in itinerary and any personal expenses.

Prices Per Person:

Double Occupancy $3215.00 = $550.00 Single Supplement


TO MAKE RESERVATIONS: A deposit of $500.00 per person is due with Reservation Form by July 15. The balance will be due no later than November 17, 2008. We will contact you prior to that date to reconfirm the final payment in the event there is an increase due to a fuel surcharge by the airline.


We reserve the right to cancel if minimum passengers (25) are not booked, or to assess a surcharge with the group’s approval. If our agency cancels the trip, your deposit is fully refundable. If you cancel after deposit and prior to final payment, $100.00 pp is non refundable. No refund after final payment. Therefore, we strongly urge you to purchase cancellation insurance for your protection. Please check if you want insurance on the reservation form and a form will be forwarded to you.


Dube Carlson Wagonlit Travel is acting only as an agent for the passenger and therefore accepts no responsibility for any delayed departures or arrivals, missed connections, loss or damage, or injury to person or property. Dube Travel and STITA Tours reserve the right to change the itinerary and substitute arrangements of any equal value, if in their opinion circumstances warrant change.

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