Does cheese hold a special place in your heart, mind, and belly? Do you dream of frolicking among a Wonka-esque wonderland of giant brie trees and fondue fountains, where curds fall from the sky? Whether you’re cheese obsessed or a more casual enthusiast, Oregon Cheese Guild’s The Wedge is the best place to be—and you won’t need to find a golden ticket to experience its artisanal dairy delights.
The annual farmer’s market style festival is returning to Alder Block—home of the Portland Night Market—on Saturday, October 5, from noon to 6 p.m. More than 75 vendors will fill the indoor and outdoor spaces, and rain or shine, guests are invited to peruse not only cheese, but all of the tasty things that go with it: charcuterie, chocolates, jams and jellies, nut butters, and adult libations, including beer, wine, and cider.
With well-known producers and acclaimed newcomers, local crafters and out-of-state makers, the pairing possibilities are virtually endless. Fancy a cracker slathered with goat cheese and honey, you got it. Or perhaps pepper jack with a dash of hot sauce is more your speed. Make sure to bring a cooler to keep your newly acquired fare fresh and ready to savor at home, or stock up for those looming holiday gatherings.
This time around will feature three master classes, put on throughout the day. First, at 12:30 p.m. is Ellian Rohrbacher, a New Seasons cheesemonger and the writer behind the blog La Femme Fromage. She will be demonstrating her flair for creating Instagram-worthy cheeseboards. Then, Steve Jones, Portland’s resident cheese guru and proprietor of Cheese Bar, will explain how to experiment with beverage and cheese pairings. Lastly, Melissa Hotchkiss and Sarah Munly will discuss the complexities of Riesling, and why this misunderstood varietal and cheese make for a delectable combination.
Another new addition to the event is the Cheesemaker Dinner, hosted at The Nightwood the night before The Wedge (Oct 4). This four-course meal will incorporate different cheeses into each dish and be accompanied by refreshments from the festival. Toward the end, guests will also receive a plate with standalone samples from each of the four producers.
Founded in 2006, the Oregon Cheese Guild is a network dedicated to sharing the art and quality of the state’s dairies and creameries. The Guild is consistently successful at the American Cheese Society Annual Competition, which will take place in Portland in 2020. In recent years, other collaborative efforts such as the Oregon Cheese & Food Trail and the Oregon Cheese Festival have grown in popularity, thanks in large part to the cooperative approach. Household names like Tillamook, Face Rock Creamery, and Rogue Creamery, sponsors of The Wedge, enjoy the opportunity to support smaller businesses.
Tickets to this family friendly celebration are on sale now, and advance general admission is $20 or $25 at the door. An additional $10 gives you a beverage sampling pass, as well as a commemorative glass. Every entry comes with a $5 voucher toward purchasing your favorite cheese. $50 VIP tickets are available as well, which grant you early access (11 a.m.), the drink tasters, a $10 cheese voucher, and a swag bag filled with tempting treats. The $200 Total Experience Package includes VIP privileges, participation in all three classes, and an invitation to the Cheesemaker Dinner. So, load up all the cheese lovers you know, because no one wants to roam alone on their search for provolone.
For schedule and ticket information, visit thewedgeportland.com.