The ACS Conference was pretty close to home this year. A short drive to Pittsburgh, PA definitely made our decision to attend this year an easy one.
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Four full days of classes, tastings, and meeting other makers is something we always look forward to. This year was our first chance to attend in three years so we were excited to see what was new in the industry. The last time we were able to attend this event we had not quite broken ground on the creamery nor did we have our cheese shop inside the North Market.So this year we had a whole new set of eyes for the event!
Attending both as maker and purveyor this year we decided to divide and conquer in order to maximize the educational sessions. John focused on all of the cheese maker classes and events while Anne attended the retail & marketing based ones.
Pennsylvania Cheese and Cider Paring Class
However, we both were able to come together on the cheese pairing courses. Being able to pair a cheese is a skill that we we love to share not only with our team but also with our customers at the shop. There is nothing like a good food pairing. It can quite easily become a "food memory" that you recall months or even years later.
In addition to the classes, there is also an intense competition for cheese that is judged by a select panel of professionals and a "Meet the Maker" event. Even though we did not enter any of our cheese in the competition this year, we are definitely planning to next year.
One of the many tables at The Festival of Cheese
The Festival of Cheese is unofficially the "Grand Finale" of the conference. Numerous tiered tables fill a giant room and are adorned with hundreds of cheeses from the competition. Each table is a separate category of cheese and the winners are prominently displayed. Attendees (tip: it's open to the public too!) fill the room taste all the cheese that their hearts' desire. This event should definitely be added to the bucket list of any serious cheese lover!
2018 Best of Show Winner at the Festival of Cheese, Harbison made by Jasper Hill
We left the ACS conference this year with new ideas, techniques, and even products that we can't wait to start incorporating into our business. We are already looking forward to next year's event in Richmond, VA!