American Meltdown 1Last Saturday, June 29th, Durham’s American Meltdown brought the fromagaholics out of the woodwork—hundreds of them—all set on attending the first annual Artisanal Cheese Fest held at The Cookery.

Vendors included Chapel Hill Creamery, Cultured Cow Creamery, Elodie Farms, Hillsborough Cheese Company, Goat Lady Dairy, Holly Grove Cheese, La Farm Bakery, A Southern Season, Weaver Street Market, Whole Foods, and Cookery members Milk and Honey Bakery and This Little Piggie Charcuterie. All provided free samples, demos and more. There was also a bar and the American Meltdown’s food truck.

Paul Inserra, American Meltdown owner, says his idea for the event came from attending the American Cheese Society’s Cheese Show in Raleigh, geared toward professionals in the industry.

Inserra saw room for a public cheese event that was casual, fun and affordable. With free admission and samples, the Artisanal Cheese Fest hit the mark and has gained serious momentum. Inserra estimates that roughly over 600 people attended the event.

He says he knew that with all the buzz around it, the event would be more than what the team expected; but, the line around the block was a surprise.

“The event exceeded my expectations as far as numbers go,” says Inserra. “There are always things to improve on, but it went so well because we had great team members to work with. We met our vision of what we could do.”

Inserra says partnering with The Cookery was excellent. He also credits the many vendors who he says were willing to take a chance on the new event and who brought tons of samples.

“Everyone was so responsive,” says Inserra. “It was great to see people we knew from the food truck and a crowd from diverse locales coming together for a great culinary event.”

The Artisanal Cheese Fest will be an annual event, so expect to see even more next year.

The American Meltdown has been busy getting down to business. In addition to June’s event and its regular food truck, the entire crew traveled to Los Angeles’s Center Studios to compete in the Grilled Cheese Invitational this April. The team competed with over 100 groups and placed third in the event.

What’s next from the American Meltdown? Look for their pop-up restaurant coming to Chapel Hill soon. It’s sure to be another amazing American Meltdown production.