Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
Barrie Lynn "The Cheese Impresario"
by Andrea Rademan
Barrie Lynn is to cheese what a sommelier is to wine, an expert who knows more than the average aficionado could ever hope to know, in this case about cheese. She orchestrates Artisanal Cheese & Wine or Spirits Pairing Adventures for corporate events and private parties, featuring handmade cheeses sourced from small farms around the world. Attendees learn how to buy, handle and eat them, and what beverages and garnishes to serve with them.
Formerly an advertising executive, but one with a love of food and wine, she reinvented herself when she took a client to a Slow Food fundraiser. There, meeting cheesemakers and tasting the diversity and nuances of their cheeses, her passion for artisanal cheese was ignited. She made it her mission to educate others about the pleasures of cheese. Given her uninhibited style and engaging personality, she came up with myriad fun and innovative ways to enjoy the complexities of artisanal cheese.
"These days I’m really turned on to the artisan cheesemakers of Wisconsin and their amazing cheeses," Ms. Lynn says. Sid Cook, 4th generation Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker — the most awarded cheesemaker on the planet — is so creative that he’s known as The Jimi Hendrix of Cheese. He is the best and he is my mentor. On my first jump into my new cheesy life as “Barrie Lynn - The Cheese Impresario,” I hosted a Cheese Tasting Adventure Party for the Oscars and he stepped up to work with me.”
This successful outing was followed by tastings for the Emmys and the Golden Globe Awards and private tastings for celebrities like Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia, Jeff Garlin, Actor/Musician Terrence Howard, NFL star Shaun Phillips, musicians Slash, Dee Snyder, and Jason Bonham, as well as the cast and crew of Showtime’s then-hit TV show, WEEDS.
When I attended one of The Cheese Impresario's Artisanal Cheese & Dark Sipping Rum Pairing Adventures, she served: Marieke Penterman (Holland’s Family Cheese), a marvelously creamy Gouda from a traditional Dutch recipe; silky 6-year cheddar with intense flavor from Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Joe Widmer (Widmer’s Cheese Cellars); and a 10-Year Cheddar by Tony & Julie Hook (Hook’s Cheese Company), just one of the small production cheeses that have won them prestigious awards and made them Slow Food delegates to Terra Madre in Italy.
Guests helped themselves to La Brea Bakery breads, walnuts, and dried mission figs from Valley Fig Growers, all served on Porcelain Presentation Plates by Bauscher USA.
Henry Preiss (http://www.anchordistilling.com/) brought and described the individual nuances of Cadenehads Caribbean Rum, which is aged in whisky casks in Scotland; 5, 10, and 25 year old English Harbor Rums from Antigua; 10 year old DAristi Rum from the Yucatan; Toucano Rum from Brazil; Rum St. Paul, Grand Fond Gallon and Mangustan rums from the French West Indies. The pairing was unexpected, elegant and delicious.
The evening ended with an appropriately named Rhapsody chocolate layer cake by favorite Los Angeles baker, Jamaica’s Cakes (www.jamaicascakes.com). This dense chocolate cake is layered with airy chocolate mousse, artfully frosted with chocolate ganache, and crowned with raspberry puree and fresh flowers.
The Cheese Impressario (http://www.thecheeseimpresario.com/) produces and stages cheese events at venues and festivals throughout the country. Her internet show, CHEESE RULES, educates viewers on entertaining, cooking and pairing cheeses with wine, beer, sake, spirits and cocktails. She has been featured in USA TODAY, VARIETY, The Wine Spectator, The Hollywood Reporter, E! Entertainment, Oprah.com, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and on KGO TV, KTLA TV, and KSDK TV. On a recent MORE Magazine TV Special, she was named one of the Top 10 Women in the Country to Re-Invent Herself.