In case you didn't know, now you know: October is American Cheese Month. So do the patriotic thing and eat as much American made cheeses as your stomach can possibly muster. A good start would be by visiting Pastoral's gamut of shops and cafes through the rest of the month. As Chicago's preeminent destination for cheese, wine, bread, and other wholesome locally derived provisions, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine
and Bar Pastoral
are destination number one for American Cheese Month (and any cheesy month for that matter).
In conjunction with the American Cheese Society, Pastoral has all sorts of cheesy plans on the docket for October, as a means to celebrate the farmers, cheesemakers, purveyors, and chefs who all makes our cheese addictions possible. All month long, Pastoral is paying homage to American made cheeses, but especially highlighting a few specifically, available at all retail stories and as a gift medley. These include:
-- Capriole's "O'Banon" from Greenville, Indiana made by Judith Schad and Chris Osborne, a fresh goat's milk cheese wrapped in Woodford Reserve Bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves.
-- Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese's "Bay Blue" from Point Reyes Station, California, made by the Giacomini Family. This one is a rich cow's milk blue cheese.
-- Alemar Cheese's "Good Thunder" from Mankato, Minnesota, made by Craig Hageman. It's a washed ring cow's milk cheese made in the tradition of French Reblochon.
-- LaClare Farms' "Chandoka" from Malone, Wisconsin, made by the Hedrich family, a cheddar-esque blend of goat's milk and cow's milk.
Another nifty way to experience the cheeses is via the American Cheese Month Medley, which for $64.99 includes cuts of the four cheeses, quince and apple fig and black tea preserves from Wisconsin, all neatly packed in a craft box. Additionally, Pastoral's Monthly Wine Focus package will shift gears to American made wines, to compliment the cheeses. And on October 25, beverage buyer and booze pro Mark Wrobel will host the Afternoons Explorations Guided Wine Tasting.
In-store tastings will also be hosted throughout the month at each Pastoral location, featuring a lengthy bevy of cheese options, while Bar Pastoral is serving up American Cheese Month Cheese Plates for $20. On October 26, Bar Pastoral will host Ina Pinkney of former breakfast restaurant Ina's in honor of her book, Taste Memories. Here, Bar Pastoral's chef Brook Hart will re-create some of her staple dishes, made with American cheeses.
Even better, Pastoral is donating a portion of proceeds from these aforementioned products to support the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award scholarshop, which goes to American cheese professionals to further their education in the industry.
- Matt Kirouac