The American Cheese Society (ACS) is launching a new certification exam, the ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test™ (Technical, Aesthetic, Sensory, Tasting Evaluation). The exam evaluates cheese professionals’ knowledge and skills in the assessment of cheese, from determining cheese condition and quality to evaluating cheese flavor, body, texture, and appearance. Individuals who pass the exam will earn the title of ACS Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator™, or ACS CCSE™.
The T.A.S.T.E. Test is the second industry certification exam offered by ACS. The first exam, the ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, was launched in 2012 and has since certified more than 900 cheese professionals. Whereas the ACS CCP Exam® evaluates candidates’ understanding of core competencies common across the majority of cheese industry jobs, the T.A.S.T.E. Test is focused exclusively on the sensory and organoleptic assessment of cheese. It promotes the standardization of cheese professionals’ approach to communicating about these aspects of cheese, benefiting stakeholders at all levels of the cheese production and distribution chain, from cheesemakers to the consumers who purchase and enjoy their cheese.
The T.A.S.T.E. Test is divided into three sections: cheese identification, assessment, and evaluation; single attribute identification; and single flaw/fault identification. Candidates are evaluated against a rigorous and widely respected standard developed using methods employed by the American Dairy Standards Association. Those individuals who pass the exam will receive a lapel pin, embroidered patch, and a certificate, along with the right to call themselves an ACS Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator or ACS CCSE.
“We are excited that our T.A.S.T.E. Test will provide yet another opportunity for cheese professionals to showcase their expertise and differentiate their skillset. It also sets the standard with a common lexicon for how the industry defines and describes cheese,” said Nora Weiser, ACS’ Executive Director.
The ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test will take place on July 25, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA during Forged in Cheese, the 35th annual ACS Conference and Judging & Competition. Applications will be accepted from February 1 through March 30, 2018, or until spaces are filled. All candidates must meet a set of minimum eligibility requirements including work and/or education hours in the industry, or they must be an ACS Certified Cheese Professional in good standing. Due to the technical nature of its content, the exam is not intended for enthusiasts.
To learn more about the ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test, visit http://www.cheesesociety.org/certification/taste-test/
Green Dirt Farm, an artisan cheese maker from Weston, Missouri, just northwest of Kansas City, has won a 2018 Good Food Award for cheese with Prairie Tomme, a rustic, mountain-style, sheep’s milk cheese.
The Good Food Awards celebrate food that is made by producers who are driven by standards and ideals beyond the profit motive. This year’s awards were celebrated on January 19 at an awards ceremony and marketplace in San Francisco to honor Good Food Award recipients.
In its eighth year, Good Food Awards were presented to winners in 15 categories: beer, cider, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, preserved fish, honey, oils pantry, pickles, preserves, spirits and elixirs. Awards were presented to producers from each of five regions of the U.S. Winning products are entitled to use the Good Food Awards Seal on packaging and marketing materials.
“We are thrilled to have won a Good Food Award for Prairie Tomme,” says Green Dirt Founder and Manager Sarah Hoffmann. “This award validates our commitment to making fantastic cheese while also being the very best stewards of our land, our animals and our people. We know that a project like this requires not just a dedicated team and lofty goals, but also a whole community of supporters to make the dream a reality, and we are incredibly thankful for this support!”
Green Dirt Farm has been making award winning cheeses on an Animal Welfare Approved dairy farm northwest of Kansas City since 2008. The company’s cheeses have won numerous accolades, including seven awards at last year’s American Cheese Society Judging & Competition In 2012, the creamery expanded its production to include milk from other nearby dairies that share Green Dirt Farm’s passion for humane animal treatment and environmentally sustainable farm practices.
The 14th annual Oregon Cheese Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday March 17 and 18 at Rogue Creamery, 311 North Front Street in Central Point Oregon. Held under two large tents, 15,000 square feet of space, at the creamery’s Central Point facility, the annual festival invites guests to shake hands with cheesemakers and other artisans.
There will be baby cows on site to showcase the beginnings of great milk producers, and Sarah “The Cheese Lady” will be sculpting cheese into artistic creations! Activities will also be provided for children including games, activity sheets, coloring, face painting and more.
Oregon-inspired culinary events, including a farmer’s market-style artisan food, beer, cider and wine festival, will kick off with the Meet the Cheesemakers and Winemakers Dinner. At the festival, thousands of visitors will sample cow, goat and sheep cheese from Oregon as well as other Northwest creameries, including:
Ancient Heritage Dairy, Briar Rose Creamery, By George Farm, Face Rock Creamery, La Mariposa Creamery, Ochoa’s Queseria, Gia’s Cheesorizo, Portland Creamery, Rogue Creamery, Tillamook Creamery, TMK Creamery, Umapine Creamery, Walla Walla Cheese Company, Helvetia Creamery, Beehive Cheese, Ferndale Farmstead, Cypress Grove, Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery, Nicolau Farms, Orland Farmstead Creamery, Pedrozo Dairy and Cascadia Creamery.
Oregon and other Northwest culinary artisans and beverage providers who are expected to participate include:
Lillie Belle Farms, Branson’s Chocolates, Buttercloud Bakery & Café, Coquette Bakery, English Lavender Farm, Gary West Meats, Olympia Provisions, Oregon Olive Mill, San Carlos Quince, Siskiyou Honeybees, The Original Shrub, Umpqua Sweets & Treats, USA Pears, Vintner’s Kitchen, Wagon Trail Foods, Weed Coffee Roasting, Agrarian Ales Brewing Company, Atlas Cider, Awen Winecraft, Belle Fiore Winery, Cathedral Ridge Winery, Common Block Brewing Company, Crater Lake Spirits, Crescendo Spirits, Deluxe Brewing/Sinister Distilling, Dion Vineyard, Ledger David Cellars, Naked Winery, Noble Estate Winery, Oran Mor Artisan Mead, Portland Cider Company, Rogue Ales, South Stage Cellars, Spiritopia, Troon Vineyard, Vivacity Fine Spirits, Wild Roots Spirits, WildCraft Cider Works and more.
The Oregon Cheese Festival will be open to the public Saturday, March 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A $15 entry fee includes tastings and demonstrations; tickets purchased at the door will be $20. Entry tickets can be purchased in advance at http://www.oregoncheesefestival.com now! In addition, a $10 wine, cider, beer and spirit tasting ticket is available and includes a commemorative glass with the Oregon Cheese Guild logo.