Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival


We spent last weekend at one of the coolest events we’ve ever attended. Pastoral, Chicago’s premier fromagerie and sandwich shop, gathered over thirty of the country’s best artisan producers to come sample their wares at the Chicago French Market. The event was free, and over 5500 foodies showed up to sample everything from honey to crackers to salumi to, of course, cheese.

We were tasting out the custom flavor we sell exclusively at Pastoral, Apples in Sparkling Wine, which is the quintessential cheese-pairing preserve. We recommend it over creamy brie or a firm alpine-style cheese, and it works with a lot of stuff in between. We were actually situated right next to a woman representing Oma, an original cheese created by the Von Trapp family. For real! And it turned out to be a great pairing.

My personal favorite story came from Ames Farm, who brought their bees to display during the festival. Apparently, bees will die if they’re cooped up at night. So they needed a place to roam – somebody’s backyard. The bees go out and do their bee thing, then return to the hive in the morning. How awesome is that!

We met a ton of people at the festival – some new artisan faves: Sour Puss Pickles, out of Brooklyn, Whimsical Candies, from right in Chicago, Rich Chocolates, Half-Acre Beer…I could go on. All I’m saying is, life is pretty good when work involves meeting and greeting all the people who make the country’s most delicious food.