Telluride Wine Festival: Max McCalman, Say Cheese!

Telluride Wine Festival: Max McCalman, Say Cheese!

Say cheese!

And if you are clued in, your next words would be “Max McCalman.” The man is a Really Big Cheese in the international world of Food & Beverages.

Max McCalman

Max McCalman

In fact, McCalman and cheese go together like, well, wine and cheese – but which wines rhyme with which cheeses? (And which beer, whiskey, and bourbon?)

Attend the 34th annual Telluride Wine Festival, Thursday,  June 25 – Sunday, June 28 and find out.

A dedicated scholar and world-renowned cheese expert, award-winning author, and highly visible advocate for artisanal cheese production, McCalman travels the world as consultant to the trade, judges at cheese competitions, and is a frequent guest lecturer. America’s first restaurant-based Maître Fromager, McCalman was honored with the title “Maitre Fromager” by France’s Guide des Fromagers. He is also a regular visitor to dairies and farms involved with artisanal cheese-making.

Max McCalman’s cheese and beverage-pairing acumen is unmatched in the Food & Beverages world. At Wine Fest, he offers a “Cheese Pairing Master Class.” (Elks Park seminar tent, Saturday, June 27, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.)

“Just like wine, cheese has unique properties that are important to identify when creating a perfect pairing. Join Maitre Fromager and author Max McCalman as he guides you in this crash course of cheese connoisseurship. He introduces cheese basics, including milk types, textures and flavors, and discusses how to shop for, care for and serve fine cheeses. Max will provide a roadmap for matching various cheese types with the wines that best suit them. You’ll taste these cheeses with both perfect matches and imperfect matches, to illustrate the best pairings.” (Wine Fest program)

Max McCalman traces the beginnings of his one-of-a-kind cheese career to one of his earliest childhood memories. As a two-year-old, he reached for a piece of cheese while sitting on his mother’s kitchen counter. He had a cold that day, so mom was afraid he might “infect” the cheese. She warned him not to touch.

Cheese became McCalman’s forbidden fruit.

It became irresistible.

However, ages six to 12 were spent growing up in Brazil, where his parents were told to avoid dairy products and parboil milk before drinking. That meant an excruciating six cheese-free years. Back home, McCalman felt compelled to make up for lost time, marking the beginning of a lifelong cheesey (in the best sense of the word) odyssey.

In 1995, McCalman joined Picholine Restaurant as Maitre d’Hotel and launched its cheese service. Eventually he spearheaded the installation of the first temperature and humidity controlled cheese cave in North America. His new “office” became the talk of the town. For years, Picholine was the cheese destination in New York.

In 2014, McCalman left the artisanal company he founded in 2002 to focus on the creative endeavors within the cheese industry: educating and training corporate and private clients; writing articles, blogs, and a new book; hosting events; consulting for restaurants, retailers, and cheese-makers; and developing a new cheese app, as well as an educational web-based program.

His most recent book is “Max McCalman’s Swatchbook of Wine and Cheese Pairings,” drawn from years recording successful marriages between cheese and beverages, especially wine, now featured on McCalman’s first phone app. (Purchase on your iPhone or iPad. OS 7.1  or later is required.)

And you can pre-shop the pairings at the Telluride Wine Festival.

To learn more about Max McCalman, click the “play” button and listen to our conversation.

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