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Eat Cheese: Fête des Fromages

Photo courtesy of Fête des Fromages on Facebook

In a city that celebrates every type of food imaginable, this relative newcomer makes perfect sense, considering our French (and Spanish) roots. Plus, who doesn’t like cheese? Evidently, the fest attendees agree, as this year Fête des Fromages has expanded from a one-day event to three days of cheese-eating opportunities, and they’ve been selling out like hotcakes.

So, here’s your chance to taste more than 150 varieties of cheese, meet the cheesemakers from all over the world, watch the chefs attempt to break down a giant slab of cheese in a cheese-wheel cracking competition, and maybe learn a little of the history of cheese from the best of them.

Before the massive cheese event on Saturday, November 16, there will be a seated pairing class for 50 on Wednesday, November 13, led by the international cheese expert and author Liz Thorpe, who will demo how to pair five different cheeses with five cocktails (and share the stories and histories behind each pairing) at the newly opened cocktail museum and micro-distillery, The Sazerac House (101 Magazine St.).

Friday, November 15, brings to the table “Fromage à Trois: Cheese, Chefs & Cocktails” — during which 15 chefs will make their “perfect bite” with a singular cheese of a visiting maker at The Cellar on Saint Louis (2500 St. Louis St.). The attendees will get to vote for their favorite and work off all that cheese on the dance floor. The winner will be announced at the fest the next day.

Then, on Saturday, is what the organizers bill as “the biggest cheese festival in the United States.” It does promise to be massive, with more than 150 cheeses and the cheesemakers from around the world.

The fest will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz Museum (400 Esplanade Ave.). Expect unlimited cheese samples, French wines and craft beers for purchase, and live music throughout the day by the French guitarist and harmonica player HARMONOUCHE, Meschiya Lake, Sunpie & The Louisiana Sunspots, and accordionist David Symons.

Don’t miss the chefs Mason Hereford and Dan Stein battle it out on stage in a race to break down giant wheels of cheese. After the competition, Chef Dan Esses of Three Muses will be tossing fresh pasta into those giant wheels of cheese, and James Beard-winning chef Justin Devillier of La Petit Grocery and Justine will also be on hand doing his thing.

Tickets to Fête des Fromages vary by event ($10-$200). The action will be centered outdoors, but the ticket to the fest includes unlimited festival reentry and admission to the New Orleans Jazz Museum, so this might be a good opportunity to check out the museum’s excellent exhibits and explore the French Quarter.

Fall is a great time to visit the Crescent City, when the weather is perfect and the festival schedule is packed. Book a stay at a historic French Quarter boutique hotel at, right in the epicenter of all of the action, including Fête des Fromages and many other exciting New Orleans fall festivals and celebrations.