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Eat More Cheese Than You Medically Should At Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival

By Mae Rice in Food on Apr 8, 2016 5:28PM

Photo via Larry Hoffman on Flickr

I can’t have been the only one who almost cried when I discovered Cheesetopia, the Lollapalooza of cheese happening this very Sunday, was sold out. Luckily, Chicago is too big and excellent of a city to have just one cheese-filled festival. There’s another one coming up later this month: Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival on April 30. There’s no way it'll sell out, either. It’s free! No tickets! You just go to Chicago French Market on Clinton and start eating, basically.

To be clear, this event is not exclusively a cheese festival. It’s a small-batch everything festival for artisanal producers, but of the 100 small-batch producers on the premises, 30+ of them will be cheesemakers. Wineries will be serving wine to go with the cheese, too (which can lead to the best type of cheese: tipsy-in-the-afternoon cheese). The festival will also feature small-batch charcuterie; spirits; and “confections,” a.k.a. candy that's better than normal candy.

It’s no coincidence Pastoral’s festival falls on the weekend before the 2016 James Beard Awards. Four Midwestern chefs with James Beard awards and/or nominations under their belts will be at the fest, talking about their (delicious) work with artisanal producers: Tory Miller of Madison’s L’Etoile and Graze, Paul Fehribach of Chicago's Big Jones, Dan Fox of Madison's Heritage Tavern, and Chef Erling Wu-Bower of Chicago’s Nico Osteria.

TL;DR: If you live in Chicago, never feel like you can't eat cheese.You can. Yes, you. Cheese!

Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival will take place at Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton Street) on April 30, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.