Celebrating our roots comes naturally to New Orleans residents, but always with that multi-cultural twist, made up of spices from various locations. After all, not everyone is descended from Europe. We party every day and every year, working hard and hardly working at it, reveling in the present while remembering the past. This, for me, is where the ghost stories truly come alive, in the form of legend and memory, passed on and on. We do this with costume, with drink, with music, and food.
And what better food to remember the past with, than cheese?
The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast, hosts Fete Des Fromages, a most aromatic and savory celebration of over 100 artisan cheeses from around the world. Held at the U.S. Mint’s Jazz Museum on 11/17, this Fete aims to bridge tastebuds with communities, international and locals alike. While I may be a novice and a philistine with cheese, I can say that my limited experience with high-end products filled me with nostalgia for times gone by, imagined and virtually felt only, but connective none the less.
From festival director Holly Barrett:
“The Fete des Fromages has something for everyone – taste over 100 cheeses from all over the world and when you fall in love with one, you can purchase it at St. James Cheese Company’s onsite shop! Dance to great Louisiana bands, join in a talk on the history of cheese led by Chef Alex Miles of Dijon, France with cheese and wine pairing, cheer on Chefs Michael Gulotta and Isaac Toups as they compete to crack a 65 lb. wheel of cheese!”
This year’s festivities boast some yesteryear performances – like Anais St. John doing Earth Kitt – and helpful lessons on enjoying and experiencing the food with wine – like Michele Buster’s “Sheep is Chic” seminar – all at the service of making one and all trained time travelers of sorts, cheese being the mode of mental transportation.
Silly sounding? Well, maybe you’ve never had good cheese…
Fete Des Fromages happens Saturday, 11/17 at the U.S. Mint Jazz Museum from 11 AM to 5 PM. Tickets are on sale now.
Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved. Be sure to check out his film reviews and other articles here.