Omnivore - For cheese lovers, first Atlanta Cheese Festival is the place to be


  • Courtesy Gourmet Foods International
  • Here's to hoping you'll be able to name-drop these cheeses post-fest

Cheese lovers, rejoice. The First Annual Atlanta Cheese Festival is coming to Park Tavern on Friday night from 5-11 pm. The uber-indulgent event features more than 50 cheeses that run the gamut of European imports, Midwest-made classics, and Southern faves.

Georgia-based cheese makers include Blue Moon Creamery's flavored goat cheese from Loganville, raw milk cheese from Elberton's Nature's Harmony, and camembert-style Way Point from CalyRoad Creamery, which holds classes and gives tours at its Sandy Springs location.

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You'll also find less cheesy additions like Doux South's pickles (seen at Morningside, East Atlanta, and Peachtree Road farmers markets), honey from the Savannah Bee Company, and King of Pops.

Sit back and fill up on all this while getting serenaded by bluegrass sounds from Athens-founded Packway Handle Band and blues rock from Kansas's Moreland & Arbuckle - all amply bearded and mustachioed, of course.

For gourmet gooey goodness, check out the Grilled Cheese Meltdown, featuring sandwiches from area favorites. The General Muir, Homegrown, Muss & Turner's, Seven Lamps, KR SteakBar, Argosy, and Miller Union will offer tastes to attendees, who will then vote for the best of the best.

If you're one of those Francophiles who washes down cheese with wine, be warned - you'll get your cheese served alongside healthy servings of beer. VIP entry gets you a professional beer and cheese pairing sure to put your late night PBR and Cheetos combo to shame.

Tickets are $35 for general admission, which gets you in for samples, a voice in the grilled cheese vote of the century, and two beer tickets; spring for $50 VIP for a swag bag, four beer tickets, and that aforementioned beer-cheese pairing.

The event is sponsored by Gourmet Foods International and proceeds help support the Giving Kitchen, local chef Ryan Hidinger's organization that helps out restaurant industry employees going through hardship. Parking at Park Tavern is $5, if you can snag a spot.

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