Tuesday Oct 2nd, 7pm
At the Cheese shops in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market and New York's Flatiron District, visitors press their noses against the windows to witness a vat of creamy white milk transformed by the expert hands of the cheesemaker. Although he is aided in the process by simple machinery, the cheesemaker is crafting cheese using the same techniques that have been used for thousands of years.
A cheese lover since childhood, Kurt Beecher Dammeier remembers encouraging his mother to buy artisan cheese at a time when processed cheese was overtaking the market; and he recalls his great-grandfather, whose first name was Beecher, purchasing Stilton by the wheel.
In 2002, having become firmly entrenched in the Seattle food scene, Kurt was walking through Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and noticed that a long-time tennant had closed up shop. Inspired, he called the landlord, returned to his office and announced they were going into the cheesemaking business. With fond memories of his grandfather and his wheels of Stilton, it was a natural fit to name the business Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
For Kurt, Beecher’s fulfilled an ambition of his beyond just making great cheese. He has long felt passionately about eating food free of harmful additives and preservatives, as well as believing that people should know more about the food they eat – where it comes from, what goes into it and how it is made. The Pike Place Market location - a Seattle mecca for fresh produce and handcrafted items - provided the opportunity to nearly encircle the cheesemaking kitchen with windows, allowing a live demonstration of all three of those tenets in an entertaining format.
Soon after acquiring the space, used cheesemaking equipment was purchased piece-by-piece and welded together into a custom pasteurizing and cheesemaking facility to fit into the 1,000 square foot glass-walled kitchen.All that was left to do was find a local source of premium milk. As simple as that sounds, most dairies sell their milk to larger companies. In addition, the quality of cheese is ultimately dependent upon the quality of milk. Kurt was looking for milk from cows that were fed high quality feed and not given recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBST). Any cows being treated with antibiotics would need to be isolated from the herd so their milk was not used until testing assured that the antibiotics disappeared from their system.A chance meeting connected Kurt with a local farmer and his herd of healthy, well-treated cows in Duvall, Washington. The farmer was selling the milk from his herd to a large milk producer, but was interested in making cheese and so agreed to be the sole supplier of milk to Beecher's. Securing a local dairy meant Beecher's could ensure the quality and purity of the milk and - ultimately - the cheese.
It was finally time to make cheese! On November 20, 2003, Beecher's Handmade Cheese opened its doors to the public and became the only artisan cheesemaker in the city of Seattle.In October of 2005, Beecher's had grown to the point that they added to their milk production with additional dairies just outside of Seattle, Washington. Using the same criteria for working with these dairies as had been used to select the first, the cows are all healthy and are not given any additional growth hormones. A chance visit to New York City in the winter of 2008, started Kurt down the path of bringing Beecher's to New York. He connected right away to the open market feel and recognized that the people shared his love of good food and for sense of place. In June 2011, after much research on how to start a cheesemaking kitchen in America's most populated city, Beecher's opened its doors to New York City's Flatiron District with a new store, cafe and restaurant.As with the Seattle location, the cheese made in New York City is made from premiuim milk from local herds just south of Albany.
Was unimpressed with the wine selection. I thought there would be more tastings for the amount I paid for this class. The instructor was nice but the class wasn't fun by any means, more informative. I was hoping for more of a fun experience.
David was great- informative and small class - wines change seasonally
This was a thoroughly enjoyable class. David was knowledgeable and ran an excellent session! The wine and cheese pairings were very interesting and, at times, surprising.
This was a very informative and delicious course. We had so much fun and loved the wine and cheese.
The class was great!! David was very knowledgeable when it came to wine and cheese. I wanted to take this class because I loved cheese and my wife loves wine and therefore it would be a great marriage anniversary dinner replacement. The most incredible thing that I loved from the class was how everything just complimented each other to bring a perfect even taste.
We've done several of these classes in different venues. This class was good. the teacher was enthusiastic and the selections of wine and cheese were enjoyable. There were 5 selections of cheese paired with a different wine for each. I'd like to see two or more cheeses from the same type of cheese for each wine. The class size was too large for the room. It was crowded and after a while noisy making it difficult to hear the teacher. The teacher was very generous with pouring more wine on request. All in all it was fun and I learned some things.
The class was done very well. All the cheeses and beers were great! I love that they gave each of us a packets of information on each cheese and beer. There were also additional food pairings with the cheese, such as honey or mustard. I would have liked it if details on those additional foods were included in the information packet. They were very generous with the amount of beer and even provided cheese to take home.
Great atmosphere and informational
Tons of fun! Great instructor!
Lovely venue and the instructors were very energetic and nice. Good wine examples for their price point and the cheeses were outstanding. A visit to Beecher’s in the city is a must and their wine and cheese pairing class was a fun evening