My friends, Roy and Tina, invited Joe and I to go to the Inaugural Southern Artisan Cheese Festival held at the Nashville’s Farmers’ Market on Friday night. I was so happy about the invite, first to spend time with some friends, and second to eat some really good local cheese! The lines were really long to get in, but Roy had some inside information … no one realized there were actually three lines and everyone was lined up for two, so Roy gave us our tickets and we hit the middle and we were in!
I immediately grabbed the camera and started capturing what I could before the hoards descended. First on the agenda, a libation … Joe stopped at the Terrapin booth for an ale and Tina headed over for a little wine …
I homed in on Stone Hollow Farmstead’s booth. They had some amazing mixtures of goat cheese with other ingredients.
The first recommendation by Stone Hollow’s staff was to try the raw goat cheese. It was creamy and delicious. Much creamier than most supermarket varieties but not quite as creamy in texture as what Joe and I had experienced in Paris, but yummy all the same.
Stone Hollow, located in our sister state, Alabama, had some amazing compilations all jammed with fruit and other luscious ingredients. They were beautifully jarred with a pretty little label and would make perfect gifts for the foodie lovers in your life for the coming holiday season.
I tried the blackberry and wine compilation and it was delicious. I think this would be fabulous simply served with some lavish or on toast points heated in the oven for serving with a salad of baby greens with a little balsamic vinaigrette and some toasted walnuts. They had lots of equally interesting offerings.
For more about Stone Hollow offerings which has a creamery, horses and even a skin care line, visit their website at http://www.stonehollowfarmstead.com/.
The next booth that caught my eye had nothing to do with cheese but everything to do with yummy. You can identify these with your eyes closed (like their adorable booth attendant) and if you are a true Southerner, you will know immediately what lusciousness has tempted your tastebuds.
GooGoo has come a long way baby, still mighty tasty but working their niche hard.
Look out Reese’s peanut butter cups! They were handing freebies out to the crowd and Joe and I snagged one for later.
What goes better with a GooGoo Cluster than a piping hot cup O’Joe. And I do love me some Joe. The folks from Roast, inc. were showing off their fine grind. Roasted on Trousdale Drive in our own fair city, this is fair trade coffee with a hands on touch.
You can check them out at http://www.roastinc.com
Roast, inc. had several offering with really cool names: Panama Elida, Brazil Datura (decaf), Brazil Sweet Blue, French Occupation (my favorite of the names!) and El Salvador.
Next up, the Olli Salumeria booth. Okay boys and girls, if you want something tantalizing to go with your cheese, this is the ticket. The booth attendants were not Olli employees, which was a bit of a rub, but they still sort of rocked. Roy and Tina got the skinny and had a bite.
I’m pretty sure that the booth attendants had conducted their own little taste test because even though they weren’t Olli natives, they were pretty pumped about it.
Based out of Manakin, VA, they brought Nashville some awesome stuff. You can learn more at http://www.ollisalumeria.com/. I checked out the Calabrese and it was spicy and would have gone great with Stone Hollow’s goat cheese … or …
At this same booth, soft ripened cheese with that bloomy rind from Green Hill. Again, no Green Hill rep on hand. This was tasty and was lucky to be paired along side Olli. Olli is like one of those good boyfriends … I think you could put anything on his arm and it would just be better than standing alone. For more about Green Hill, check them out at at http://www.sweetgrassdairy.com/
Next up, we had another booth staffed by volunteers. And I’m just going to say, the vendors that just shipped their stuff in? They were really lucky, because the volunteers were amazing … friendly and as educated as they could be on the fly. Calyroad’s creamery is located in Northern Georgia and the raw milk cheese was super smooth. The Calyroad’s website is http://calyroadcreamery.com/ but they need to pay a visit to their webmaster because the info about their cheeses doesn’t populate. Oh, the challenges of being a small business owner!
This booth had crostini served up by Provence, a Nashville bakery phenom. All of the cheeses were served on what looked like some nice slabs of slate (http://www.brooklynslate.com/), which made for a pretty presentation. What fun to serve up some rockin’ cheese on rocks, plus you can write directly on these babies so you know exactly what you’re eating. That really rocks!
On the other side of the Provence offering, there were some lovely rounds of goat cheese by Prodigal Farms. If I have been prodigal enough, which is quite possible, to ever be reincarnated as a goat, I think I want to live here http://prodigalfarm.com/. This goat cheese had the best texture of any I tasted at the Festival. It was smooth, smooth, smooth. Are there princess goats? Hmmm…
Next stop, Porter Road Butcher coming to a Gallatin Road location in the very near future. They had some beautiful bacon and some pretty dang incredible pork pate … okay, it was nothing weird, because I just cannot do weird. The ingredients were all cooked, totally recognizable and when placed on that little cracker, almost as good as my next to favorite boyfriend, Olli. Plus these guys were cute and having a lot of fun. I look forward to the opening and serving up some of this deliciousness in my own abode.
I’m going to admit that I am a cheese lover, but also a cheese novice. So when someone told me that this cheese was covered with ash to reduce the acidity to make it more delectable… I was interested. It was so very pretty and dang tasty.
Next on my radar, Perl. Wow. Perl has some incredibly tasty offerings. I tried out the Smoked Heirloom Tomato Jam. If I could have put that on some of Prodigal Farms goat cheese, it could possibly have been a foodgasm, a new word created by my friend Marsha that I am sure will show up in Wikipedia soon.
Perl served it all up on a little silver platter … as well they should … because it was beyond the pale. For more about Perl, check them out at http://www.perlcatering.com/.
Next up but not my first experience, Savannah Bee Company. By the time I got around to their booth, I had actually already experienced some of their goodness. I’m not quite sure why there is no photo, but I had some lovely raw milk cheese served along side a beautiful block of Savannah Bee Company’s honeycomb. Cheese cut into long, rectangular bites, slim and beautiful and then topped with just a touch of this amazingness. Is that a word? I don’t know but maybe it should be!
I try to collect honey on my travels in the U.S. I have brought home sage honey from New Mexico, lavendar honey from California, clover honey from Arkansas. It all tastes different. Honey is one of those beautiful things that sings its praises from its own locale. It is truly God’s nectar … low on the glycemic index … the perfect sweetener. Ahhh… there is a reason why your true love is your honey. Anyway, after checking out most of the vendors, this is my favorite site and it you go to no other, at least visit http://www.savannahbee.com. They have a good story and bees are amazing and who in the world does not love honey?
And then Joe needed more beer, so we visited Calf Killer… which is not a calf killer at all …
There were some awesome and tasty local brews served up and you can find out more about them here http://www.calfkillerbeer.com/ …
We went outside for a minute to listen to the music …
and there were many beautiful pumpkins …
And then we went back in and visited the girls at BathTub Gin …
and they were so cute and into their thing … Joe bought one of their creations. They have too many offerings to mention, but they get the award for best packaging! Check out their stuff by paying a visit to www.etsy.com/shop/bathtubginonline
And then we visited Emily G’s and Joe bought two of their pinion and fig offerings … one for Joe and one for me!
There was music inside too
This was an inaugural so I hope that it will be back next year. Some tips to the organizers… separate the booths so that people don’t line up for a march along the perimeter. Have the people pouring the wine be more generous. It’s frustrating to stand in line and get just a smidge … heck, we’ll pay extra. Cheese needs to be experienced with wine!
We had a fun time!
Eat more cheese!
Be so very local!
Loved it Loved it Loved it!