Picard’s Picks: Spring into Cheese

Welcome new season with Oregon artistry

By Mélodie Picard, The Oregon Cheese Cave

Here in Southern Oregon, March means cheese, specifically the Oregon Cheese Festival. However, as the pandemic continues, the Oregon Cheese Guild and Rogue Creamery have postponed the annual celebration to May — fingers crossed. Meanwhile, the change of season marks the perfect time to explore cheese. The finest spring platters showcase bright flavors, pairing well with rosés and whites. I suggest sharp, crumbly hard cheeses, spiced softies and bold blues, to start. The bright tang that only goat milk delivers is especially a win for the warming weather. In preparing the plate, I reached for 2022 Good Food Awards winners for artisan accompaniments. Once again, Oregon performed grate — pun intended — in the annual culinary contest.

By George Farm Dutchman’s Peak

The raw Jersey cow-milk-aged tomme remains the Applegate Valley creamery’s flagship. (spears)

FaceRock Creamery Harvest Peppercorn Cheddar

The Bandon-based creamery created this cheese as its first seasonal cheddar; now it’s a fan favorite. (cubes)

OakLeaf Creamery Billy Blue Goat

The Grants Pass maker of thistle-rennet goat cheese — the only one in the U.S. — presents a stunning blue.  (wedge)

Olympia Provisions Saucisson Sec

Portland charcutier seasons this French-style salami with fresh garlic and cracked black pepper.

OPA Gardens Fresh Culinary Flowers

2022 Good Food Award accompaniments

Valhalla Organics Sweet Pickled Beets

Talent craft pickler/preserver adds color and kick to the platter with beautiful beets.

Mt. Hope Farms Raspberry Marionberry Fruit Spread

From fifth-generation farmers in Molalla, the bright berry condiment bursts with flavor.

The Cracker King Rosemary Sea Salt Gluten-Free Crackers

These Portland-made treats taste great no matter their lack of gluten.

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