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The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin is in the running for… well… Bookseller‘s annual Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. It’s mildly thrilling. Mostly just weird. But some of the other titles are truly entertaining, so it’s certainly worth a look. I’m voting for “What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua?”

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If you’re a fan of the book (or have friends and/or family who are) and you’re in the greater Twin Cities metro area, we’ll be all over the place in February.

Minnesota Food and Wine Experience
We’ll be there on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2:30pm, signing books.

Edesia Cookbook Review

This is a monthly meeting of cooking fans convened by food writer Kim Ode of the Star Tribune; we’ll be at Barnes and Noble in the Galleria in Edina, MN at 7pm, Monday, Feb. 22.

The Minneapolis Home and Garden Show
We’ll be there Feb. 25 at noon, doing a cooking demo (a walnut/mushroom pie featuring Wisconsin and Minnesota cheese) and signing books.

Becca and I had a great time at the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest in Madison this past Saturday. We got to see a bunch of friends (Bruce Workman of Edelweiss and Bob Wills from Cedar Grove, the Furthermore Beer guys, Matt and Clare from Quince and Apple, and others) and meet some new ones, including Linda Falkenstein of the Isthmus, the talented folks at Bolzano Artisan Meats, the delightful power couple behind New Glarus beer, and the folks at Roelli Cheese Haus. We also tried a few some lots of beer and cheese samples.

Metro Magazine Mention

Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin was the #1 item in The Twin Cities Metro Magazine 5. Here’s the stirring conclusion:

Cheese is still the star of this picturesque 200-page paperback, but it’s the good people who have for generations made their living from curd who account for the book’s pulse. In other words, it’s the kind of loving tribute that’s long overdue for one of the world’s culinary treasures. Because Wisconsin cheese is certainly that.

Another nice review of the book, this time in the Bay View Compass:

The volume is beautifully designed with judicious, generous white space, engaging photographs, and lucid text, including those passages about cheese chemistry and production. One can read the entire work in a couple of hours but there’s so much information I would expect many will file it on the locavore shelf of their home library’s reference section.

In the Isthmus Again

We certainly can’t fault our hometown alt weekly for a lack of support — the Isthmus, once again, has given us some wonderful ink. We made the paper’s list of Best Wisconsin Foodie Books for 2009. Terese Allen writes, in part:

Cheesemakers have for too long been undervalued in our culture, and I’m so glad to see a book that gives them their due. Peruse this photo-rich, artfully written profile of cheddar, havarti and muenster makers, in fact, and you will want to rise from your chair to give them a standing ovation. James Norton’s words and Becca Dilley’s pics bring you right into the factory, where you can breathe in the milk-sweet aroma, soak up the tradition and listen to the stories of more than 40 certified master cheesemakers around the state.

From an article in Progressive Grocer about major deli supplier Kretschmar:

To promote its recently introduced line of specialty cheeses made by Wisconsin master cheesemakers, Kretschmar Deli is providing retailers with a wide variety of marketing and promotion collaterals, including floor graphics, easel signs, iron man signs and POP recipe brochures…

‘When we made the decision to extend our deli line with premium cheeses, we knew to look to Wisconsin because of the state’s well-earned reputation for superior products,’ said Erik Waterkotte, Kretschmar’s director of marketing.