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'Cheesetopia,' A Festival For Small-Batch Cheese, Is Coming To Chicago In April

By Mae Rice in Food on Feb 19, 2016 6:35PM

"Peaches 'N Dreams," a bloomy cheese with a layer of peach jam in the middle from Cheesetopia participant Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery (via Facebook)

Cheesetopia 2016! It's both an incredible (as-yet unused!) presidential campaign slogan, and a real artisanal cheese event, coming to Chicago’s Bridgeport Arts Center on April 10.

Small-batch cheesemakers from all over the Great Lakes area—from Minneapolis’ Lone Grazer Creamery to Indianapolis’ Tulip Tree Creamery—will be on the scene, serving up samples of their best, most flavorful dairy creations at the event. Visitors can buy their favorite farmstead cheeses to take home, too.

Put on by Wisconsin Cheese Originals, an organization that celebrates and advocates for Wisconsin cheeses, the festivities are a smorgasbord of cheese and expertise.

“We require the cheesemakers to be there, not the summer intern,” Jeanne Carpenter, executive director of Wisconsin Cheese Originals, told the Tribune.

Once upon a time, this was a 2-day Wisconsin festival, which Carpenter put on each year. Last year, though, she took the annual show on the road for the first time to Milwaukee. Chicago is its second stop; next year, the festival heads to Minneapolis, she told the Tribune.

Carpenter chose Chicago for this year because, she told the Tribune, “I think Chicago is a big city with a lot of folks who are not exposed to small-batch cheeses.”

That’s debatable, but one thing is for sure: There’s going to be enough cheese on the premises to make this Wisconsin cheese-thief feel inadequate, and, perhaps more importantly, you’ll get to ride in a giant elevator with a built-in bar to get to the event. It’s a win-win.

Cheesetopia will take place on April 10 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Skyline Loft at the Bridgeport Art Center, located at 1200 W. 35th Street. You can buy tickets for $75 each here; tickets won’t be sold at the door.