The cheeses of Bern's Winefest: Four days of wine and cheese delights

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Saturday April 9th

SideBern’s will again host the Saturday Soiree with an homage to the ‘80s. To throw this rocking party the focus is on wine, spirits, dancing, décor and food from one of our most colorful decades. Totally awesome music by the band Rubix Cubed will rock the patio and the culinary team put together a gnarly menu to entertain guests with a section devoted to charcuterie (prepared meats) and artisanal cheese. You can bet you will find me there handing out the following cheeses so I can answer any questions you might have – like, fer shur.


  • Délice de Bourgogne cow’s milk

  • Saint-Paulin cow’s milk

  • Chaumes cow’s milk

  • Gabriel Coulet’s Roquefort blue sheep’s milk


  • Reypenaer 1 year Gouda cow’s milk

  • Reypenaer 2-year Gouda cow’s milk



  • Piave Vecchio cow’s milk

  • Montasio cow’s milk


  • Dubliner Irish Cheddar cow’s milk


  • Cambazola Black blue cow’s milk

Great Britain

  • Stichelton Blue cow’s milk


  • Idiazábal sheep’s milk

United States

  • St. George cow’s milk / Matos Cheese Factory, CA

  • Cabot Clothbound Cheddar cow’s milk / Cabot Creamery & Jasper Hill’s Cellars, VT

  • Bayley Hazen Blue cow’s milk / Jasper Hill, VT

  • Fresh Chèvre goat’s milk / Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT

Tickets for this event are still available. To purchase, please click here.

Sunday April 10th

The company comes together to host The Grand Tasting - and grand it is. Featuring a silent auction to benefit the Vincent Lecavalier Foundation for pediatric cancer research and James Beard Foundation scholarships for the culinary arts, the day’s entertainment includes educational seminars, more than 200 top-rated wines, cocktails, culinary treasures and artisanal cheeses. Arranged by country of origin, each cheese rests patiently at a corresponding food booth near the wines that best compliment it. Both Saturday’s and Sunday’s events have some donated cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, Tomales Bay Foods, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, Roth Käse and Atlanta Foods, and we thank the cheese heavens for their gifts to help us raise money for the two charities above.


Southern Hemisphere

  • Tarago River Triple Cream cow’s milk / Australia

  • Windsor Blue cow’s milk / New Zealand


  • San Tumas goat’s milk

  • Trugole cow’s milk



  • Caña de Cabra goat’s milk

  • Manchego sheep’s milk


  • Morbier cow’s milk

  • Ossau-Iraty sheep’s milk

North America

  • Sole GranQueso cow’s milk / Roth Käse, WI

  • Rogue Oregon Blue cow’s milk / Rogue Creamery, OR

  • Buckaroo cow’s milk / Cowgirl Creamery, CA

Monday April 11th

The legendary Bern’s Steak House closes the weekend with a dazzling 5-course dinner designed to pay tribute to the wines of Maison Louis Jadot. Chef de Cuisine Habteab Hamde’s spectacular menu does of course include a cheese course. In the traditional steak house manner, Chef Hamde will offer a plate of artisan cheeses. He plans to include Délice de Bourgogne triple-crème along with Comté. Both cow’s milk cheeses hail from France. Délice is luxurious in every way with an interior like whipped cream full of both crème fraiche sweetness and sour cream tartness. Equally appealing, Comté has flavors of nuts, fudge, toffee and hazelnut. The long salty finish of both will only lengthen the pleasure of the line-up of Maison Louis Jadot wines.

Clearly the amount of cheese available at this year’s Winefest is staggering. Make you plan your attack with the above lists so you do not miss any of the outstanding selections in attendance!

All photographs are by Dean Hurst.


Editor's Note: Kira Jefferson is the resident "cheese guru" at SideBern's in South Tampa.

Having helped many talented co-workers organize and execute Bern’s Annual Winefest for the last seven years I feel privileged to let you in on the secret that this event has so much more than just wine. Of course, wine brings it all together and the culinary treats that span the globe in origin perfectly complement the equally diverse wines, but please, do not forget the cheese! To guide you through this weekend’s events making sure you savor every cheese pairing, here's a list of all the wonderful cheeses of the world available at Bern’s 14th Annual Winefest and for sale at Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirits.

Friday April 8th

SideBern’s plans to kick-off this weekend with a six-course Gala Winemaker Dinner featuring the wines of Plumpjack and CADE. Chef Chad Johnson has created a menu around these spectacular wines and winemaker Anthony Biagi will attend as guest speaker. Laced with items like velvety goat cheese panna cotta and rich ravioli stuffed with duck and truffle ricotta cheese, the entire menu oozes cheese. With all this decadence do not get distracted, make sure you pay close attention to the composed cheese course paired with the 2007 CADE Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain. Chef Chad and Pastry Chef Asbel Reyes collaborated to create this piece endearingly titled, “The S’more”. After much discussion (and several experimental tastings) we decided that the dish should consist of Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, a scorched espresso marshmallow, black cherry compote and bitter cocoa nibs.

Beecher’s cloth-bound artisan cheddar made with Holstein and Jersey cow’s milk won the American Cheese Society award of Best American Cheddar during the 24th Annual Competition. This cheese has a creamy, clean flavor with a fruity finish. The warm toasted marshmallow with its espresso nuances adds depth and richness to the cheddar while the black cherry compote highlights the fruity essence. The delicate cocoa nibs give a nice textural contrast and all the flavors pair perfectly with the black currant and violet profile of CADE Cabernet.

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