Food, Food Artisans

Starting Lineups for Trans-Atlantic Cheese Showdown

Reserve your spot today for this ultimate battle of new world vs. old world cheese!

Creamery Retail Manager Tessie Ives today announced the starting 5 for each side of this Friday’s tasting at Zingerman’s Creamery on Plaza Drive in Ann Arbor where guests will taste and do a side-by-side comparison of  our favorite European vs. American cheeses to crown one continent the ultimate cheese champion!

pleasant ridge

Marcel Petite’s Essex Street Comté from Fort St. Antoine
– VS –
Pleasant Ridge Reserve from the Uplands Cheese Co. in Wisconsin

This is easily the best Comté we’ve ever tasted and we’re pitting it against the 3-time Best in Show winner at the American Cheese Society (no cheese has ever done that). If the evening has a Battle Royale, this is it. The Comté boasts a wonderful balance of flavors that include hazelnut, brothy french onion soup, and butter, with the most delicate hint of sweetness and a super long finish. Andy Hatch, maker of Pleasant Ridge Reserve counters with a cheese that Mo Frechette, founder of Zingerman’s Mail Order, hails as “my pick of the world’s cheeses to enjoy. I come back to this one again and again.”


British Cheddar
– VS –
Bleu Mont Cheddar from Willi Lehner in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin

Tessie admits she’s sending up a bit of a wild card here. “Zingerman’s Deli has so many great British Cheddars I’m going to pick out the one tasting the best on Friday, and bring it to the event.” Sounds like Wisconsin’s master cheese maker Willi Lehner will have a tough time topping that, but he makes a cheese that our friends at the famed Cowgirl Creamery describe as “a wonderfully sharp and fruity cheddar, wrapped in cloth and spritzed with a mixture of water and old cheddar rinds, which helps to transfer microbes to the new wheels. The cheese is aged on special spruce boards, and the finished wheels offer notes of toast and nuts, a caramel sweetness and a long earthy finish.” Sounds like this one will go down to the wire.

Brie de Nangis
– VS –
Moses Sleeper from Jasper Hill in Vermontbrie

One of our favorite Bries, made in the town of Nangis just outside of Paris, this cheese is milder than others of its type but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a formidable foe. It features subtle flavors of mushroom and garlic in one of the most versatile Bries we have found. It goes against Moses Sleeper from our good friends at Jasper Hill in the Northeast Kingdom. Named after a Revolutionary War hero who was killed defending the Bayley Hazen (more on that below) Military Road, Moses Sleeper offers flavors of cauliflower, crème fraîche, and toasted nuts and a bright, clean finish.

Parmigiano Reggiano
– VS –
Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan from Wisconsinparmagianoreggianologo

At first this might not seem fair. Our very favorite version of one of the world’s most famous cheeses (specially selected for Zingerman’s and made from the milk of cows grazing high up in the hills above Modena) against a young upstart from Wisconsin. But don’t count the kid out. SarVecchio Parmesan is made with the milk of local cows and allowed to aged up to 24 months giving it a deep golden color and a nutty aroma with a light caramel sweetness. Look out for an upset!

Joe Schneider’s Stichelton
– VS –
Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Bluebayleyhazenblue

When Joe Schneider set out to make the first true raw milk Stilton that the UK had seen in decades, he succeeded spectacularly and…he wasn’t allowed to call it Stilton. So, he named his exquisite, legendary blue with broad, buttery flavors after the town that Stilton originally came from. We’ll see how it compares to the Blue from Jasper Hill, one of the brightest rising stars on the American cheese scene. Mo Frechette notes that it “reminds me a bit of Stichelton. That’s not a big surprise since Mateo from Jasper Hill learned some of his craft working with Neal’s Yard Dairy in London where Stichelton originated.” Come see if the apprentice is ready to dethrone the master.

At the end of the night, after tasting many of the very best cheeses we’ve ever carried at Zingerman’s, we’ll crown one continent the winner (at least until we do it again next year!).

Seats are limited! Reserve yours today!

Reserve your seat here