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Cheese Festival Comes to Atlanta

Cheese Festival Comes to Atlanta

Gourmet Foods International arranges its first cheese festival in Atlanta

During the "grilled cheese meltdown," festival visitors can sample grilled cheese sandwiches and vote for their favorite.

Gourmet Foods International will host its first one-night cheese festival in Atlanta on Oct. 11. The festival will showcase more than 50 celebrated cheese and artisan food producers from across the globe, according to a press release.

The festivities will kick off with a "grilled cheese meltdown" competition, held at 5.30 p.m. Attendees will have the chance to sample grilled cheese sandwiches and vote for their favorite, and the winner will be crowned "Atlanta’s Grilled Cheese Champion."

Cheesemakers participating in the festival include Pretty Perfect Pimento Cheese, Savannah Bee Company, Belle Chèvre, Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, and many more. VIP ticket-holders are also invited to a beer and cheese pairing, hosted by the Institut du Fromage’s lead education trainer, Michael Landis. Live music will be performed by bluegrass and blues groups The Packway Handle Band and Moreland & Arbuckle.

Tickets are now on sale. The $35 general admission ticket gives visitors access to the festival, free cheese samples, and two 10-ounce beers. For those wanting more, the $50 VIP ticket gives additional access to the beer and cheese pairing, and a reusable shopping bag filled with cheese samples and coupons. All proceeds will benefit the Giving Kitchen, an initiative supporting Atlanta’s restaurant community by helping industry members impacted by medical or other unexpected hardship.

For more information and tickets visit the Atlanta Cheese Festival webpage.

Atlanta Cheese Festival

The festival will feature over 100 of the most recognized cheese & artisan food producers from all over the world. All of the producers will be sampling their famous cheeses & products. For those guests that have CHEESE EUPHORIA, cheese & additional products will be available for purchase. VIP ticket holders will have access to a beer & cheese pairing or a wine &cheese pairing symposium sponsored by The Institut du Fromage.

Local chefs will create their “perfect” grilled cheese and all ticket holders will have the opportunity to taste & vote for their favorite between 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The victor of the Grilled Cheese Meltdown contest will be announced at 9PM. In the Edible Garden, local chefs and cheese producers will be providing cooking demonstrations and favorite cheese-centered recipes. To keep the celebration going, a favorite bluegrass band will provide sound with the beautiful Atlanta Botanical Garden as the backdrop. Event is set up “Farmers Market” style so that attendees will be able to purchase products directly from the vendors. Cheese & Food producers will discontinue sampling and sale of cheese & products at 10 pm.

Tickets are available here.

Atlanta’s best Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican food can be tough to define. The approach to cooking for all three of these come from the same history – a mash up of the native cultures that lived on each island, along with flavors from the colonizers’ native Spain, and the West African traditions of the enslaved who were brought to those Islands by traders.

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Summer in Atlanta means leisurely walks on the Beltline and more importantly, amazing food and drinks on the Beltline! Here’s our insider’s guide to the best that the Beltline has to offer, broken down by Eastside and Westside trail spots.

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Is there any food as beloved in America as Mexican food? We think not, and we love all the varieties available, from cheesy Tex-mex goodness, to authentic street tacos on corn tortillas, to authentic birria. Here’s a round-up on the greatest Mexican spots to be found in ATL no matter what kind of flavor you’re in the mood for.

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Baked feta pasta. Fast food chicken sandwich wars. Over-the-top mixology. These are the trends we’re seeing the most in 2021, both in the meals we’re cooking at home and in the restaurant and dining scene.

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Everything You Need To Know About Atlanta’s First Mac and Cheese Festival

YOU GUYS… Atlanta’s very first mac and cheese festival is less than 2 weeks away, and I am SO EXCITED. Moving to Atlanta from South Florida, I knew there would be way more food fest opportunities, but a mac and cheese fest? I never thought I’d be so lucky.

This event is SOLD OUT, so for all of you that were lucky enough to snag a ticket, here’s a list of everything you’ll need to know about Atlanta’s first mac and cheese festival. Ya know, just to push you over the edge of excitement.

Where do I go and when?

The festival will be held on Saturday, October 8th from 12:30 till 5:30 at Walker Park in Edgewood. There will be free parking at The Atlantic Shopping Center at 1599 Memorial Drive, which is only a 5 minute walk to the fest. Otherwise, there’s free bike parking on site, Route #21 on the Marta will take you there, and of course Uber is always ready when you need them.

Why put on this cheesy fest?

Other than the obvious (why wouldn’t you have a mac and cheese festival?), proceeds from the event will go to Neighbor In Need, a non-profit helping the elderly residents of Edgewood with emergency home repairs. So, if you’re some kind of alien communist and don’t like mac and cheese, then you should still go, because old people need help.

What does my ticket cover?

One ticket covers five 4 oz. portions of the mac and cheeses of your choice. Since tickets are sold out and no tickets will be sold at the actual event, this means you have to choose carefully! My suggestion would be to team up with a few friends and share, so you can try as many delicious mac and cheeses as possible. Not that I’ve already strategized this whole thing… (no judgement, please). Another reason you should try as many macs as possible, is that you, my friends, get to vote on your favorite! Plus, won’t it be nice to vote on something you actually like this fall? #justsayin

Now, on to the important stuff….

What kind of mac will I get to shove in and around my mouth?

So many kinds! But really, even the vegans will have options here. Love you vegans, but I don’t get you, I’m sorry. Here’s a list of some of the mac and cheese varieties your mouth will experience, and the fab vendors providing them:

Always Brunch : Loaded Mac & Cheese

Atlanta Butt Society : Carolina Mac & Cheese

B2 Street Eats : Traditional Mac

Bald Headed Bistro : Gouda Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Smoked Bacon

Boy Howdy : Smoked Poblano Pimento Mac & Cheese

Grand Champion BBQ 4 Cheese Mac & Cheese

Comingle Cuisine : Pimento Cheese and Bacon Mac & Cheese / Vegan Mac

Dogs on Wheels : Five cheese Smoked Mac on an All Beef Frank

The Fluniversity : Smoked Salmon Mac n Cheese

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q : Pork and Hatch Green Chili Mac n Cheese with Cracklin’ Crunch

Mac the Cheese | 4 Cheese Mac

Grand Champion BBQ : 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese

Low Country Boy’s Catering : Southern Sicilian Mac & Cheese

Mac the Cheese : Cheddar Mac Topped with Pimento Cheese, Pulled Pork and Pickles

Mason Tavern : Four Cheese Truffle Mac

Mason Tavern | 4 Cheese Truffle Mac

Newk’s Eatery : Pimento Mac & Cheese with Bacon

Oakhurst Market : Roasted Poblano 3 Cheese Mac & Cheese

The Produce Wagon : Vegetarian Mac and Cheese / Vegan Mac & Cheese

Newk’s Eatery | Pimento Cheese and Bacon Mac

Rhino Ribs Co. : Mac & Cheese covered in Award-Winning BBQ Pork

Soul Kitchen : Classic Southern Mac

The Stiletto Chef : Soul Filled Mac and Cheese / BBQ Mac and Cheese / Bacon Mac and Cheese / Caliente Mac and Cheese

The Stiletto Chef | BBQ Mac and Cheese

Wahoo! Grill : Roasted Poblano and Yellow Squash Mac & Cheese

Z Sauce Works : Parmesan, Pecorino and Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Pork and hatch green chili mac with cracklin’ crunch?! My birthday’s not till February, Fox Bros. BBQ, but thank you. And I’m sure you noticed that there are only a few pictures listed here. That’s because the majority of these mac and cheeses are being lovingly created just for this festival. That’s right, we’re the mac and cheese elite.

Will there be other food at the festival?

Why yes, there will be! In addition to all the yummy mac and cheese, there will be two dessert vendors there to satisfy your sweet tooth. King of Pops will offer a variety of handcrafted popsicles and Red Velvet Mama will offer their delicious cupcakes. Don’t even act like you don’t have a separate stomach for dessert.

Well, that about does it. I will ask that everyone please respect my privacy as I gorge myself into oblivion next Saturday. However, if I do see pictures of me covered in cheese and embarrassing myself on the internet, I hope that you at least do something noble like make a T-Shirt out of it or something. To conclude, I’ll leave you with a little advice before you set off on your mac and cheese adventure: eat lettuce throughout the day, it expands your stomach. Stay hungry, friends.

Queso Asadero (melting cheese)

Asadero cheese originates from the state of Sinaloa in NW Mexico and also some areas of Texas. Our cheese making procedure for our Asadero cheese follows the traditional practices which originated in the northern state of Chihuahua, Mexico. This semi-soft creamy, mild cheese is one of our more versatile cheeses. Asadero cheese is known for how easily it melts and can be substituted in place of Monterrey Jack in most recipes. Try some today by ordering one of our free sample kits!

Uses: Our Asadero cheese is used best in quesadillas, nachos, hamburgers, enchiladas, sandwiches, etc. Grate, shred or crumble over any festive Mexican Style dish. To get more ideas on how to use Jaimito Queso Asadero, check out the following recipes (OR check out our recipe page).

Nutritional Data Per Serving % Daily
Serving Size 1 oz (28g)
Calories 70
Fat Calories 50
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 3.5g 17%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 280mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 1g
Protein 5g

Product Description
A fresh, Mexican style cheese made from whole cow’s milk.

Package Sizes
12oz, 5lb bar, 12lb bar

Whole Pasteurized Grade A Cow Milk, salt, rennet, cheese cultures

Allergen Statement
Contains Milk

Physical Characteristics
Semi soft

Crumble over salad, tacos, desserts. Great for grilling or frying.

Storage/Shelf Life
Ideal storage is 36F with a range of 34‐40F. Shelf life is 90 days from packaging.

Lot Code Information
Example: 13100901 Explanation: 13=Year, 10 = Month, 09 = Day, 01 = Production Run

Say cheese: Your guide to Atlanta's inaugural Grilled Cheese Festival

The Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival is coming to Historic Fourth Ward Park, along the Atlanta Beltline, on Saturday, Oct. 7, for the first time. Some of Atlanta's hottest restaurants will be there to make sure you get the melty, cheesy goodness you deserve.

However, there will be a lot more than the celebration of grilled cheese sandwiches to enjoy.

We've gathered all the top details you'll need to navigate Atlanta's inaugural Grilled Cheese Festival:

Members of the Atlanta Sport and Social Club, the same group of people who bring you Atlanta Field Day, Oktoberfest Atlanta, and the Atlanta Beltline Pub Crawl series, thunk up the idea to create a festival around grilled cheese. The team was at lunch one cold and dreary day earlier in the year, contemplating ideas over a nice lunch of, you guessed it, grilled cheese sandwiches. And that's when the idea was born and launched on National Grilled Cheese Day.

Credit: Courtesy of Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival's Facebook page

Credit: Courtesy of Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival's Facebook page

It wouldn't be a grilled cheese festival without grilled cheese sandwiches from some of the best restaurants in the city. Bantam Pub, The Highlander, Sun in my Belly, , and Pallookaville will satisfy your taste buds. There will also be a variety of local Atlanta food trucks serving up their full menus (and full-sized portions) available to purchase.

It's going to be a hot one - on account of all the warm, melt-in-your-mouth cheesy goodness - might as well cool off with a frosty brew in the beer garden. There's going to be an excellent selection of craft beers and a few popular big name brands as well.

In addition to a full belly, your ears will have a treat in store. There's a lineup of live local music, including award-winning Georgia festival favorite Unbreakable Bloodline. There will also be numerous kinds of contests - "Best Grilled Cheese" in Atlanta anyone? - and adult activities such as Cornhole, Bocce, Giant Jenga, Ladder Golf, Giant Connect 4 and more.

This is a 21+ only event. Tickets are available for $16 here. Ticket includes admission only. Each vendor will have quarter-sandwich samples available for purchase ($2-3).

Atlanta Cheese Festival expands in new location

Atlanta Cheese Festival. 6-10 p.m. Friday. $35 advance. $45 door. $75 VIP. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859,

Five tastes of the Atlanta Cheese Festival

Many Fold Farm Condor's Ruin (Georgia) — A unique seasonal offering named for the ruins of the Condor family dairy in Chattahoochee Hills, this ash-ripened sheep's milk cheese is dense, velvety-rich and pretty, too.

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue (Oregon) — This cave-aged raw cow's milk American blue has a rugged, mold-riddled natural rind. But inside is a luscious, complex, fruity cheese with a buttery flavor and texture.

Sweet Grass Dairy Thomasville Tomme (Georgia) — An homage to the dairy's hometown made in the style of a French mountain Pyrenees tomme, this natural rind raw cow's milk cheese is smooth, rich, tangy and slightly salty.

Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve (Wisconsin) — Raw cow's milk from nine cross-breeds goes into this aged Swiss-style cheese. The intense flavors range from sweet and fruity to herbal and tangy.

Vermont Creamery Cremont (Vermont) — This "Cream of Vermont" is an aged mixed cow's and goat's milk cheese with a touch of cream. White, soft and brie-like, with a delicate rind and a rich, earthy flavor.

Five tastes of the Atlanta Cheese Festival

Many Fold Farm Condor's Ruin (Georgia) — A unique seasonal offering named for the ruins of the Condor family dairy in Chattahoochee Hills, this ash-ripened sheep's milk cheese is dense, velvety-rich and pretty, too.

Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue (Oregon) — This cave-aged raw cow's milk American blue has a rugged, mold-riddled natural rind. But inside is a luscious, complex, fruity cheese with a buttery flavor and texture.

Sweet Grass Dairy Thomasville Tomme (Georgia) — An homage to the dairy's hometown made in the style of a French mountain Pyrenees tomme, this natural rind raw cow's milk cheese is smooth, rich, tangy and slightly salty.

Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve (Wisconsin) — Raw cow's milk from nine cross-breeds goes into this aged Swiss-style cheese. The intense flavors range from sweet and fruity to herbal and tangy.

Vermont Creamery Cremont (Vermont) — This "Cream of Vermont" is an aged mixed cow's and goat's milk cheese with a touch of cream. White, soft and brie-like, with a delicate rind and a rich, earthy flavor.

In its second year, the Atlanta Cheese Festival is already a big hit, moving from Park Tavern to a bigger space at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and offering a greater array of cheesemakers, artisan food producers, chefs and tastings.

The crowd at this year’s festival, running 6-10 p.m. Friday, is expected to top out at 3,000, up from 1,300 last year. More than 100 producers, up from 48 last year, will be set up around the garden’s Great Lawn, creating a lively farmers market-style atmosphere where attendees will be able to purchase cheese and other products.

Adding to the cheese exaltation, cheesemakers and chefs will offer cooking demonstrations in the Edible Garden, local chefs will compete to create the perfect people’s choice grilled cheese, and VIP ticket holders will have access to a beer-and-cheese or wine-and-cheese pairing symposium sponsored by the Institut du Fromage.

Brian Scott, one of the founders of the cheese festival, works for Atlanta-based Gourmet Foods International, where he connects farmstead cheese producers with accounts such as Whole Foods.

“What we are replicating in a smaller way is the Bra Cheese Festival in Italy, which is the biggest cheese festival in the entire world,” Scott said. “It’s a four-day festival in an open air market. We’ve been sponsoring a booth of American artisan cheesemakers there.”

While the Atlanta festival adopts the serious cheese-tasting side of the Bra festival, Scott said there’s also a more American sense of entertainment.

“We have a bluegrass band,” he said. “And I think one of the really fun things we’re doing is the Grilled Cheese Meltdown, where we have some of Atlanta’s best chefs competing for votes for the best grilled cheese.”

And then there’s beer and cheese, including a tasting panel with John Maier, brewmaster of Oregon’s Rogue Ales, and the likes of cheesemakers David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery, Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery.

“I’ve been doing the beer and cheese thing with David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery for a while now,” Maier said. “They make quite a few cheeses with our beer, and now our hops, too. It’s amazing how well beer and cheese go together.”

Asked about his favorite beer-and-cheese pairings, Maier said he leans toward brown and blue.

“We brewed a strong brown ale for Rogue Creamery’s 80th anniversary,” Maier said. “I designed it with David Gremmels to go with his blue cheese. Brown ales and blue cheese seem to go together really well. And I like hoppy beer with cheddar. I think beer and cheese are just a great combination.”

These Atlanta Food And Drink Festivals Will Have You Hungry For Spring

The Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival and No Water, No Beer Festival are among the food and drink . [+] festivals taking place this spring.

Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival

As the countdown to spring in Atlanta begins, so does the countdown to all the delicious food and drink festivals that will take place during the season. Providing something for just about everyone, the festivals range from family-friendly grilled cheese extravaganzas to boozy brew fests. If you’re at a loss on which spring food/drink fest is best for you, let the options ahead help steer you to foodie bliss.

Atlanta Brunch Festival - March 7

Technically taking place shortly before spring, the Atlanta Brunch Festival serves as a food-filled, mimosa-fueled kick off to the season. Described as a celebration of “some of the best restaurants in the brunch game,” the Atlanta Brunch Festival will serve up a medley of brunch dishes and brunch beverages (Bloody Marys, mimosas and brunch punch). The festival offers several ticket options, including a bottomless drinks ticket, which gets you unlimited brunch drinks from 12 P.M. to 3:45 P.M.

The Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival is a family-friendly festival that pays ode to a classic . [+] sandwich.

Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival

Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival - April 18

There likely isn’t a sandwich out there that’s as loved as the grilled cheese, whether it’s a classic grilled cheese with a slice of cheddar or a gourmet grilled cheese with jam, veggies or other accouterments. Given the popularity of this cheesy sandwich, the Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival is one of the city’s most anticipated food fests.

Taking place on April 18, the Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival will feature a mix of sample size portions and full size grilled cheese sandwiches (for an additional cost). Among the vendors who will be slinging their sammies in mid-April are Dos Bocas, Char Korean Bar & Grill, Dixie Q and Cooks & Soldiers. Festivals attendees will also be treated to a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka, live music acts and a kids zone.

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The No Water, No Beer Festival will support local and global efforts.

No Water, No Beer Festival - May 2

Given that beer is 90% water, the statement “no water, no beer” certainly holds true. That’s why this spring, the No Water, No Beer Festival will be held to demonstrate the importance of clean water, and also support both local and global efforts. For the cost of admission, you’ll enjoy beer, wine, food and more. Not only will proceeds from the No Water, No Beer Festival help provide clean water to those in developing countries, they will also support efforts to keep the water supply clean in Georgia.

Donut Fest Atlanta - May 3

Donuts and beer, together the two serve as an unexpected though tasty combination. Held at Second Self Beer Company, Donut Fest Atlanta will feature a sampling of the city’s favorite donuts and cold brew from Second Self. And be sure to stick around for (or even take part in!) the Donut Eating Contest. Another perk of this particular festival is that children are welcome to attend with a general admission ticket.

The 2nd Annual Atlanta Cheese Festival

The 2 nd Annual Atlanta Cheese Festival was held this past Friday night at Atlanta’s beautiful Botanical Garden. The walk towards the entrance of the event almost felt like a cheese pilgrimage. The event was scheduled to start at 6pm and, like clockwork, masses of cheese lovers arrived timely enough to flood the gates as soon as they opened.

There were more than 100 cheese producers positioned throughout the venue making the event both a visual and culinary feast. Guests were able to sample a plethora of cheese varieties while strolling through the gardens’ Living Sculptures exhibition. Patrons also had the option to purchase a number of cheese products at the event if so inclined.

One of the more popular activities of the night was the Grilled Cheese Meltdown with local chefs participating. There were some pretty ingenious grilled cheese creations out there. A couple of them are on my bucket list to try and recreate at home unless my favorite from High Road Craft Ice Cream finds its way on a menu somewhere. I’m also a fan of the sandwich Cooks & Soldiers made. To note, they have a new restaurant opening in November on the Westside. Yes, another place to add to my Foodie Bucket List.

The energy of the festival was amplified with live music, cooking demonstrations, beer & wine cheese pairings, makers of cheese related goods explaining their products and chatty guests walking around in sheer cheesy blissdom. I know this because I was one of them.

The beneficiary of this event was The Giving Kitchen , whose mission is to “provide crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community facing unanticipated hardship.” It’s a program built out of need and concern for others in the industry which is pretty inspiring. If you would like to lend your support, just visit their website to see how easy it is to DONATE .

If you missed the Atlanta Cheese Festival this year, go ahead and make a note in your calendars to stalk the scheduling of this event in 2015. Then the cheese lover in you will have something “gouda” to look forward to all year. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Disclosure: My general admission to the Atlanta Cheese Festival was complimentary and included cheese and related product food samples. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here .

6 Romantic Spots In Georgia For The Perfect Summer Getaway With Your S/O

Summer is quickly approaching, meaning it's time to grab your adventure buddy and plan a trip somewhere in the great state of Georgia.

The Peach State is absolutely stacked with fantastic romantic getaway opportunities, and this list will show you where to find them.

The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Address: 1 Lake Oconee Trail, Greensboro, GA

Why You Need To Go: This resort is a great spot to escape the noise of Atlanta and you'll be able to enjoy the silence by venturing through the resort's nature side or taking a dive into the lake. Spa treatments, tea times, and fantastic food will also assist you and your person in a fantastic romantic getaway.

Cascade Falls

Address: 2970 GA-190, Pine Mountain, GA

Why You Need To Go: These waterfalls hidden within the beautiful F.D. Roosevelt State Park provide a truly incredible hike. You'll find these gorgeous falls along the Pine Mountain Trail, which also features a lush forest alongside the park's eastern edge.

Tony Stark's "Endgame" Home

Address: *Provided upon booking

Why You Need To Go: This is the perfect overnight stay for Marvel fans. This house is where Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, lived in the hit movie Avengers: Endgame, and it offers numerous outdoor adventure opportunities on top of it being a significant part of movie history.

Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant

Address: 35 Andrea Ln., Lakemont, GA

Why You Need To Go: This spot nestled in the mountains of North Georgia provides an amazing escape from the real world. You'll be able to stay in an upscale rustic room, enjoy gourmet food, and explore the gorgeous nature surrounding the resort.

Mercier Orchards

Address: 8660 Blue Ridge Dr., Blue Ridge, GA

Why You Need To Go: Spending the day picking and enjoying fresh fruit has never been so exciting. These gorgeous orchards will let you and your person go through and pick your own fruits, allowing you to take them home and either enjoy them as is or maybe even make a pie.

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

Address: 100 Rue Charlemagne Dr, Braselton, GA

Why You Need To Go: If you're chasing a weekend of class and elegance, then this is the spot for you. The resort offers numerous activities such as wine tastings, spa treatments, hiking trails, and even afternoon tea.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Atlanta Cheese Festival returns this Friday at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Courtesy of the Atlanta Cheese Festival

The second annual Atlanta Cheese Festival will be held this Friday (Oct. 3) at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Sponsored by Gourmet Foods International, a company that imports and distributes specialty products around the country, the festival will bring seventy-five cheese makers and artisan producers to the city.

From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., attendees can sample cheese from creameries like Rogue, CalyRoad, and Point Reyes, and taste grilled cheese from Highland Bakery, Gunshow, and Muss & Turner’s. VIP ticketholders can indulge in beer and wine pairings. Tickets cost $35 for general admission and $75 for VIP, and proceeds benefit the Giving Kitchen.

We spoke with Brian Scott, vice president of sales at Gourmet Foods International and director of Atlanta Cheese Festival, to get all the gooey details.

How did you come up with the idea for the Atlanta Cheese Festival?

We replicate the biggest cheese festival in the entire world that happens in Bra, Italy, where Slow Foods was invented. It’s held every two years and called Cheese. About 250,000 people converge. It’s a culinary mecca. It’s an outdoor open market where you can celebrate—and buy—cheese. The past six years, we’ve sponsored six to eight American artisan producers to go and sell their cheeses and stir up demand.

We thought, ‘why don’t we replicate that concept here?’ It was a random discussion over lunch and morphed into this thing. It’s great for the cheesemakers because they get to engage with the people, sell their product, and tell people where they can get it [other times throughout the year].

What kind of response did you get the first year?

It was really great. We exceeded our break-even point. Proceeds above and beyond our cost benefit the Giving Kitchen. We had about 1,300 people. Now, we’re at about five times the ticket sales that we had last year at this point. I think we will double or triple the amount of people who will come.

What’s unique about the festival?

One of the initial craft beer masters, John Maier, will moderate the beer and cheese pairings discussion, and Max McCalman, author of cheese books, will moderate the wine and cheese discussion [for VIP ticketholders]. The cheese makers will talk about why these cheeses pair well. It’s cool to hear the passion and emotion behind it.

What are you most excited about?

The culinary VIP pairings. Our partner Murray’s Cheese on Bleeker Street in New York—one of the most recognized in U.S.—will have salamis and crackers and other accompaniments good with cheese. Peggy Smith, owner of Cowgirl Creamery, is doing a cooking with cheese demonstration. But I’m most excited about the Meltdown. Fifteen of our best restaurants’ chefs will have a smack down, basically. Everyone who comes into the festival gets a token to vote with. Last year’s reigning champion Home Grown will be competing again.

You’re expecting more than 2,000 attendees. Will they all get to sample the grilled cheeses?

We learned a lot of logistics last year. That’s one of the big reasons we went to the Botanical Garden—to be able to have everyone the opportunity to taste every single one of the grilled cheeses. We’ve given the newcomers best practices with sample size and staff, and we have staff to help as well.

Does festival admission include access to the Botanical Garden exhibits?

Yes, you can walk around, grab a glass of wine or beer and cheese samples, and walk around and see all the exhibits.

4 best bets at the Atlanta Cheese Festival

Curd it get any better than this? The Atlanta Cheese Festival comes to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for the third year on October 9 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. “Our company’s mission for a long time has been to promote artisan producers,” says Natalie Scott, marketing assistant for Gourmet Foods International, the Atlanta-based specialty food distributor organizing the event. The festival is set up like a well-landscaped farmers market, with cheese and other food vendors hosting booths throughout the garden. Ticket holders can taste and vote for their favorite restaurants competing in the Grilled Cheese Meltdown and Mac and Cheese Macdown. In addition, VIP guests score entry to either a wine and cheese or a beer and cheese pairing. This year’s participants include Georgia’s own Many Fold Farm, High Road Craft Ice Cream, and Savannah Bee Company, as well as Oregon’s Rogue Creamery, Utah’s Creminelli Fine Meats, and Vermont Creamery.

Cypress Grove Chevre
Pick Truffle Tremor
Why Because truffles. (See also: Humboldt Fog.)

Cowgirl Creamery
Pick Mt. Tam
Why The rich, smooth triple cream is butter’s brother from another mother

Many Fold Farm
Pick Condor’s Ruin
Why Rich and velvety made in Chattahoochee Hills but winning awards across the country

Jasper Hill Farm
Pick Moses Sleeper
Why From Vermont’s best creamery, a more seductive Brie

This article originally appeared in our October 2015 issue under the headline “Cheese, please.”

Watch the video: Atlanta Mac Fest. Macaroni N Cheese Festival in ATL Summer 2020! (January 2022).