In August, Richard Sutton, proprietor of St. James Cheese Co. (5004 Prytania St., 899-4737; www.stjamescheese.com), served as a judge at the American Cheese Society Conference, an annual event featuring some 1,800 varieties of cheese produced around the country. He returned from the conference eager to build better awareness of the momentum behind American-made fine cheeses. The result is a series of events hosted by St. James Cheese Co. through October, which is American Cheese Month. These include "classes" (really, guided tastings and pairings), a mini beer festival with American cheeses and new local brews, and a few off-site events.
The series continues Wednesday with "Cheeses of the American South," featuring the latest offerings from Southern cheese makers paired with beers from NOLA Brewing, cocktails made with Old New Orleans Rum and wines from James Moises, a local physician who makes wines in Willamette Valley, Ore. The class on Oct. 17 is devoted to cheeses that won American Cheese Society awards this year, paired with wines. Both events begin at 7 p.m. and cost $25, with advanced registration required through St. James Cheese Co.
The series moves to Swirl (3143 Ponce de Leon St., 304-0635) on Oct. 18, when St. James teams up with the wine shop for a pairing of American cheeses and American wines. This event begins at 6:30 p.m., costs $30 and requires reservations through Swirl.
On Oct. 23, St. James and St. Lawrence (219 N. Peters St., 525-4111; www.saintlawrencenola.com) will hold a five-course, cheese-themed dinner with beer pairings at the tavern. Dinner costs $65, with reservations required through St. Lawrence.
Beer and cheese share the billing on Oct. 24, when St. James hosts seven microbrewers from around the region for a tasting and cheese pairing in the shop. This event will mark the debut of two up-and-coming brewers, Chafunkta Brewery of Mandeville and Gnarley Barley of Ponchatoula. This event begins at 7 p.m., costs $35 and advanced registration is required through St. James.