Washington’s biggest party celebrating the state’s artisan cheese community is back Saturday, September 15. Hundreds of cheese lovers will gather at the Seattle Design Center to sample nearly 100 locally produced cheeses and at the annual Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival. It’s an an opportunity for cheese enthusiasts and industry professionals to taste, learn, and connect with the people behind their favorite cheeses.

The Festival will feature over 20 cheesemakers from all over Washington who will showcase a plethora of skillfully crafted and thoughtfully produced cheeses. This year’s lineup includes festival favorites such as Tieton Farm & Creamery, Cherry Valley Dairy and Cascadia Creamery. Two newcomers who will make their debut this year are Little Island Creamery, a small farmstead creamery in Cathlamet with their cow and goat mixed milk cheeses and WSU Creamery who will finally make their first Festival appearance with their famed Cougar Gold. Perhaps one of the reasons for the Festival’s growing popularity is that it is an opportunity to try many cheeses that are rarely available in Seattle.  This year attendees will also get to sample cheeses from Monteillet Fromagerie, Conway Family Farm, Black Sheep Creamery and Pleasant Valley Dairy.

2018 Participating Cheesemakers (subject to change)

  • Acme Farms Cheese (Deming)
  • Appel Farms (Ferndale)
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Seattle)
  • Black Sheep Creamery (Chehalis)
  • Cascadia Creamery (Trout Lake)
  • Cherry Valley Dairy (Duvall)
  • Conway Family Farm & Creamery (Camas)
  • Ferndale Farmstead (Ferndale)
  • Golden Glen Creamery (Bow)
  • Gothberg Farms (Bow)
  • Little Island Creamery (Cathlamet)
  • Lost Peacock Creamery (Olympia)
  • Monteillet Fromagerie (Dayton)
  • Mt. Townsend Creamery (Port Townsend)
  • Pleasant Valley Dairy (Ferndale)
  • Rosecrest Farm (Chehalis)
  • Samish Bay Cheese (Bow)
  • Sunny Pine Farm (Twisp)
  • Tieton Farm & Creamery (Tieton)
  • Twin Sisters Creamery (Ferndale)
  • WSU Creamery (Pullman)

In addition to the grand cheese tasting the Festival will also offer a cheese seminar for those who are eager to further polish their cheese knowledge (separate tickets required). This year’s seminar will be presented by Bill Stephenson, the Director of Cheese Training at DPI Specialty Foods and will dive into the fascinating world of washed-rind cheeses. Seminar tickets are also available via the tickets link here. Space is limited.

The seminar titled “Cheese that puts the ‘Wash’ in Washington,” will cover washed rind cheeses, that are often lovingly referred to as “bathing beauties” possessing the aroma of “angels’ feet.” Intrigued? Then follow your nose to join Bill Stephenson for a guided tasting through some of Washington’s best examples of this funky category of cheese. They’ll discuss the basic process of washed rind development from cheesemaking to affinage and learn about the bacteria responsible for producing the fecund aromas that draw aficionados like us in while chasing our friends and relatives away.

Advance tickets are available at washingtonartisancheese.com. The event sells out every year so advance purchase is strongly recommended. Admission includes all cheese and food samples and three drink tickets for beer and wine tastes. In addition to cheese there will be over a dozen local artisan producers sampling cheese-friendly accompaniments and beverages. The Festival is a benefit for the Washington State Cheesemakers Association (WASCA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to support Washington cheesemakers through education, promotion and collaboration.