When internationally recognized cheese educator and expert Daphne Zepos passed away last July, many of her friends and colleagues across the country saw fit to memorialize her. One such compatriot was Vermont cookbook author Molly Stevens.
A visit to Zepos’ home in San Francisco catalyzed the idea of a memorial event in the Green Mountains. “There are a lot of cheese makers here, and Daphne came to Vermont a lot,” Stevens remembers thinking. “She had a number of friends and mentees here … We should do something here and raise some money for the [Daphne Zepos Teaching Award].”
Though Stevens says her original idea was “to sit around someone’s living room and pass the hat,” the event soon grew. Ahead of the Curd: A Celebration of Cheese, Food and Flavor will take place on Sunday, March 24, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center in Burlington.
Advance tickets are required for the event, which will kick off with an address from cheese “rock star” Ari Weinzweig, cofounder and CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, Mich. After his talk, guests will partake of tastings that pair local cheeses with fare from Vermont restaurants and producers. For example, chef Max Mackinnon of Pistou will prepare a dish using cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm, while Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps will pair with Jasper Hill Farm. Zepos’ own product, Essex St. Cheese, will be available for tasting, too.
If cheese lovers are so inspired, they are welcome to praise the curds with a sonnet or haiku to be displayed on the “cheese poetry wall,” Stevens says. An apt elegy for Zepos.