久しぶりだ ー Long time no see
In Japan, the most-well known non-profit organization for cheese is the Cheese Professional Association (or CPA). It hosts events, runs seminars, and conducts the Cheese Professional Certification Exam once every year. The standards by which people work and understand cheese in Japan is measured with their yardstick. And they have their own cheese character (as any respectable organization in Japan does), aptly named “Cheeseman”!
This past weekend the CPA hosted an event around cheese and bread. The room was filled with artisan bakeries, cheesemakers, and small cheese shops from Tokyo and Kyoto. There was a strong sense of passion and commitment to artisanal products in the room. Each bread displayed a sign with “Cheeseman” recommended pairings and information on its particular type. Bread styles ranged from French pain de Campagne to German bauernbrot, with many original creations like a bread made with Earl Grey! Samples were plentiful. Bakers and cheesemakers were as enthusiastic to share their craft as guests were to enjoy it.
To complete the trifecta, numerous wine shops, beer producers, and a whiskey culture group were in attendance. One glass of wine was included in the event ticket, and there were many opportunities to purchase another or enjoy free samples. To maximize enjoyment, special neckties were provided to hold wine glasses and event maps, lest hands not be ready to enjoy the bread and cheese.
Every 20-30 minutes, a new pairing was featured at the central table. Brie and croissant, young Saint Maure de Touraine and toast, Mont d’Or and pain de Campagne, Gruyere and focaccia, Roquefort and pumpernickel, Japanese mascarpone and Melon Pan (iconic Japanese bread) — with one of each pairing, endless samples, and a couple glasses of wine, dinner was never a question that evening. Our bellies were full!