Cheese is something many of us take for granted. It commonly shows up in thin slices on underwhelming sandwiches after being removed from its plastic packaging or the bright orange, tasteless shreds that appear on iceberg lettuce salads at corporate steak houses.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans ate nearly 33.5 million pounds of cheese in 2012, and sadly, a large portion of that was from massive companies that make something that resembles plastic more than the centuries-old tradition of real cheese. When so much of it comes in convenient packages, it is easy to forget where cheese really comes from, that it is often made by hand and that it is a labor-intensive and detailed process.
Fortunately for Asheville, the WNC Cheese Trail and the Cheese Store of Asheville are willing to be our cheese sherpas and show us the way of this truly delicious and enlightened delicacy. With nearly a dozen locally owned creameries in the area, quality, craft-made cheeses are in abundance in Asheville — something both the Cheese Store and the Cheese Trail are hoping to educate eaters about through the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest at Highland Brewing Co. on April 26. The family-friendly festival will allow local cheese-makers, mongers and eaters to come together to explore and taste the area’s fare.
As a fundraiser for the festival, the Cheese Store of Asheville will host a movie night at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at Metro Wines. The event will include a screening of The Cheese Nun. As Katie Moore of the Cheese Store explains, “The Cheese Nun is a documentary chronicling the journey of Sister Noella Marcellino throughout the most remote cheese-making regions of France. Sister Noella is regarded as one of the leading international experts on the art of natural milk cheese-making.”
Partnering with the Asheville School of Wine, the movie night offers wine and cheese pairings, beer, popcorn and the movie screening for a ticket price of $20. The event will provide a rare opportunity to learn about local cheeses and the artisans and farmers who make it. Proceeds from the evening will support the inaugural Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest.