Missouri’s Cheesiest Festival Raids the Caves for Your Lactose-Induced Pleasure

You can taste over 50 local cheeses at the Missouri Artisan Cheese Festival this weekend

click to enlarge McKelvey Vineyards launches the first annual Missouri Artisan Cheese Festival this weekend. - COURTESY MCKELVEY VINEYARDS
Courtesy McKelvey Vineyards
McKelvey Vineyards launches the first annual Missouri Artisan Cheese Festival this weekend.

Amateurs and fromagers alike can say cheese this weekend at the first annual Missouri Artisan Cheese Festival.

Hosted by the McKelvey Vineyards (8901 State Highway YY, 573-459-6123), the weekend festivities will include a “cave to table dinner” on Friday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m.; a market featuring Missouri cheesemakers on Saturday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and a laid-back grilled cheese and live music event on Sunday, May 22, from 2 to 5 p.m.

The festival will include over 50 varieties of cheese from Missouri cheesemakers as well as the artisans themselves to educate diners and attendees. Lindsay Hayes, McKelvey Vineyards manager and event planner, says she hopes the events will bring attention to all the great local cheese that’s made in state.

“Something that I've just loved about this whole process is that everyone involved is dedicated to the same goal,” she says, “to highlight this kind of a renaissance of cheesemakers and Missouri.”

Andy DeCou, Schnucks' cheese monger, will serve as master of ceremonies for the Friday night cheese-forward dinner. Each course features a cheese incorporated into a dish served alongside a sample of the same cheese, in its original, uncooked state, so that dinners can compare and contrast.

There will be some classic dishes — an appetizer of camembert in puff pastry, for instance — but there will also be some more unexpected parings such as a desert tart featuring Hemme Brothers quark, fresh strawberries and an orange liquor sauce as well as a palate cleanser of fresh vegetables and a Green Dirt Farm Creamery sheep’s milk nettle cheese.

Saturday’s market will include 10 local cheesemakers, wine pairings, food and music. There will be some notable cheeses present including Milton Creamery’s Flory’s Truckle, an aged cheddar, as well as lesser known but still tasty products.

Tickets are required for the events on Friday ($100) and Saturday ($20+) but not Sunday.

“Sundays, in general, are just really laid-back, lovely days at McKelvey, and we just kind of wanted to keep that vibe going,” Hayes says. “[You can] get your grilled cheese, grab a glass of wine, listen to some music and just kind of have a more relaxed day.”

More information and tickets can be found on the McKelvey Vineyards website.

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About The Author

Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen is editor at large for Euclid Media Group. She’s also the editor in chief of Boulevard, a literary magazine.
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