Food Artisans

Great Cheese for a Great Cause

daphne-zeposPlease join us this coming Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m. at Zingerman’s Events on 4th for a delicious evening of cheese tasting honoring the life and work of our friend and cheesemonger, Daphne Zepos. All proceeds go to the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, an annual scholarship for aspiring cheese professionals.

The event will be a guided tasting featuring the favorite cheeses of some of the most noted cheesemongers in the business today. Each monger will pick one cheese they love most of all, and tell us everything they know about it. Some wine will be included, and a cash bar for wine and beer will be open all evening. Drink, eat cheese, hear some great stories, and meet some great people!

Among the guests:

Jason Hinds of Neal’s Yard Dairy, who pioneered selling farmhouse British cheese in America and who has trained legions of American cheesemongers in selecting, aging and selling at NYD’s home base in London.

Anne Salxelby of Saxelby’s Cheese, an all-American cheese shop in Essex Street Market in New York City. She was named Small Business of the Year in 2011 by Mayor Bloomberg.

Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill, who, along with his brother Andy, make their own cheese, and, perhaps more importantly, select and age cheese for other Vermont cheesemakers. They have created a hub of operations for all Vermont cheesemakers and have revived clothbound cheddar in America.

Daphne Zepos was an internationally known authority on cheese whose expertise encompassed the buying of it, the selling of it, and the making of it. She was a writer, teacher, consultant, importer, chef and cheese-competition judge. As the The New York Times wrote of her in 2005, Daphne Zepos was “one of the most respected voices in the field of American cheese.” (Not the processed stuff)

From 2002 to 2005, Ms. Zepos was associated with Manhattan’s  Artisanal Cheese Center. In 2006, she helped found the Essex Street Cheese Company, a New York City-based importer and wholesaler of a small number of artisanal cheeses from Europe, her favorite among them, Comté, a French cousin of Gruyère, which she once described as “unleashing a tsunami wave of cream” in the mouth that “… leaves that incredible aftertaste of cream and butter on the tongue.”

In 2011, Ms. Zepos became an owner of the Cheese School of San Francisco. In addition to her work, Daphne Zepos wrote about cheese for the Atlantic magazine and she is often credited with helping inspire the current interest in artisanal cheeses here in America.

“Twenty years ago, the image of cheese, other than amongst a very tiny percentage of Americans who had traveled a lot, was really about mass-market cheese,” says Zingerman’s Founding Partner, Ari Weinzweig. “Today, thanks in part to Daphne’s leadership and teaching and training, a far bigger slice of the American populace understands what artisan cheese is, and can be.”

“She wanted people to support small makers of cheese and to understand all the work and the love that went into it,” says Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic. “She told people how to appreciate the full range of scents and taste and how to look at and how to feel cheese — literally: touch it, crumble it, understand the texture. She never was blasé. She loved what she did. She loved the people who made cheese. She loved looking at the light in your eyes when she put a piece of cheese into your mouth.”

“Nearly every cheesemonger everywhere knew here and considered her a friend — she was the kind of person who was very immediately close and interested, no matter how long you’d been in the industry,” said Zingerman’s Mail Order Managing Partner, Mo Frechette. “She created a cheese mastery class that was taught, among other places, at ZingTrain. The fact that we have a group of cheese industry people coming to ZingTrain for education is a legacy of that work.”

The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award is an annual scholarship awarded to an USA-based cheese professional who uses the funds to travel, learn and further their education on cheese. This award will grow a squad of cheese professionals who teach about the history, culture and techniques in making, aging and selling cheese. Each year someone new will go forth to learn about cheese. The scholarship will fund travel and living expenses. The winner will return to share their learnings with the cheese community — at the annual American Cheese Society Annual Conference and beyond.

Please join us for this very special event.

$30/person, Call us to reserve your seat, 734-663-3400 or reserve online here.

Daphne Zepos event cheese