Telluride Wine Fest: McCalman Returns, Say Cheese!

Tickets for the Telluride Wine Festival here, including Max McCalman’s seminars.

On opening day of the Telluride Wine Festival, Thursday, June 23, one of the banner events on the robust schedule is the Patron Dinner + Movie, “King Georges,” (6:30 – 9 p.m., Telluride Conference Center, Mountain Village). The evening is all about the fiery French chef and industry legend Georges Perrier of Le Bec-Fin fame, who is preparing a six-course dinner with a little help from some of his new friends, including Max McCalman, whose job is to create course #5, cheese.

For which Max is well qualified.

Truth is the man is a Really Big Cheese in the international world of Food & Beverages. In fact, Max and cheese go together like, well, wine and cheese – but which wines harmonize with which cheeses?

Find out on Friday, June 24, 11 a.m. – noon, at Max’s cheese seminar: Cheese And Wine 101: The Art and Science behind Cheese and Wine Pairings. The event takes place at the Telski Members’ Club, Mountain Village.

Queso de Mano, cow, Colorado

Queso de Mano, cow, Colorado

 

Idiazábal, sheep, Spain

Idiazábal, sheep, Spain

 

Bayley Hazen Blue, cow, Vermont

Bayley Hazen Blue, cow, Vermont

“Cheese and wine have been enjoyed together for millennia. In most cases they marry well yet there are some combinations that are not particularly successful, and some that are even dreadful. In this session you will taste a range of artisanal cheeses and fine wines applying Max’s systematic laboratory approach to ‘discovering your palate’ as you find the pairings that suit you. In the meantime you may taste new cheese favorites and acquire an appreciation for wines you had written off.” 

On Saturday, June 25, Max goes Lolita – in a good sense. He is leading a seminar entitled “Barely Legal,” 2 – 3 p.m., Telski Members’ Club, Mountain Village.

Epoisses, cow, France

Epoisses, cow, France

 

Roquefort, sheep, France

Roquefort, sheep, France

“Raw milk cheeses are getting a raw deal. Why are our favorite cheeses unavailable? Is it not our decision to choose which cheeses we want to eat? Considering the evidence, cheese has a stellar track record for food safety, and is, in fact, one of the safest food groups. So why is our freedom to choose the cheeses we want so challenged? The restrictive U.S. regulations on raw milk cheeses have been in place for decades: cheeses crafted from raw milk must be aged a minimum of 60 days, no colder than 35F. In this session you will taste raw milk cheeses so good they must be… illegal. (They’re not!)

More about Max:

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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 Max’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, Max 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, Max 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 phone app.

 

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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