Old Speck, a washed-rind fontina from Kennebec Cheesery at Koons Farm in Sidney won Best in Show at last weekend’s Maine Cheese Awards. Photo courtesy of Kennebec Cheesery

A cow’s-milk fontina from Kennebec Cheesery at Koons Farm in Sidney took Best in Show at last weekend’s Maine Cheese Awards.

This was the second year for the awards program, held as part of the Maine Cheese Guild’s annual festival in Pittsfield. Judges named more than 30 award winners in eight categories, including cheddar, soft-ripened cheese and fresh cheese.

Kennebec Cheesery won the event’s top honor – as well as the washed-rind cheese category – with Old Speck, a washed-rind cheese made with organic Jersey cow’s milk. The Sidney cheesery is a farmstead goat dairy, but sometimes makes cow’s milk cheeses and yogurt.

Kennebec head cheesemaker Joan Koons said she made the Old Speck batch in March, before her farm’s goat cheesemaking started for the season. “I was surprised to win,” Koons said. “Competition is strong, and washed rinds are complex cheeses with many challenges.”

The goat’s-milk chevre from Kennebec Cheesery also took first place in the competition’s fresh cheese category. Other champs this year include Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Whitefield, which won the fresh flavored cheese category with their Chevre in Oil; Three Charm Farm of Alfred, which won best feta; and Spring Day Creamery in Durham, which took best soft-ripened cheese with Out & About.

Balfour Farm in Pittsfield won first place in the aged natural-rind cheese division with Pine Tree, and also the cheddar category with its Cotswold. Durham’s Spring Day Creamery took best blue cheese in the competition.


The awards were held Sunday at Broken Arrow restaurant on Congress Street in Portland. In the run-up to the awards, judges had evaluated 116 cheeses submitted from 22 creameries, according to Maine Cheese Guild president Holly Aker.


Allagash Brewing Company has announced plans to build a new tasting room on nearly 8 acres in Scarborough in 2024.

The new facility will be located within The Downs, a new mixed-use, live-work-play community being developed at the former racetrack off Interstate 95 in Scarborough. Allagash will be an anchor hospitality tenant at The Downs, company officials said.

Allagash will keep its brewing and packaging operations at its Portland brewery at 50 Industrial Way, and its current tasting room will remain open until the space at The Downs is complete, company officials said. The new tasting room will allow Allagash to dedicate more of its current space to brewing beer.

Allagash Director of Sales Naomi Neville said the new tasting room will accommodate more customers than the current facility’s maximum capacity of about 240 people. The Scarborough property also will provide plenty of parking.


Allagash’s plans for the 8-acre parcel have not yet been finalized, Neville said.


Harvest on the Harbor returns to Portland for the 14th year with a three-day October festival celebrating Maine’s food and drink makers.

Set for Oct. 27-29, Harvest on the Harbor’s main attractions include a spirits tasting event and an oyster tasting, as well as the popular Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition. All these main events will be held at O’Maine Studios, 54 Danforth St.

The Meet Your Maker spirits tasting on Friday, Oct. 28, features gin, vodka, bourbon, rum and other artisanal booze from at least five Maine distilleries. Food pairings will be provided by Pemberton’s Gourmet Foods of Gray, and Hadacol Bouncers will play live music.

The Maine OysterFest event takes place Saturday, Oct. 29, showcasing Maine oysters paired with local beer, wine, spirits and other beverages. Oyster farmers will be on hand to field questions.


The festival’s Maine Lobster Chef of the Year grazing-style event includes nine Maine chefs competing for people’s choice and judges’ panel awards. The competition is set for opening night, Thursday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available online and run $39 to $100 depending on the event. Organizers said event tickets are advance-sale only, and will not be sold at the door.


Maine chef and seafood sustainability guru Barton Seaver visits Kennebunk’s White Barn Inn next month for a culinary weekend highlighting the flavors of coastal Maine. Photo courtesy of White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection

Maine chef and sustainable seafood expert Barton Seaver will be on hand for an immersive culinary weekend celebrating the flavors of the Maine coast next month at Kennebunk’s White Barn Inn.

Scheduled for Oct. 28-30, the weekend begins with cocktails and a rustic seafood dinner ($95 per person), and offers a chance to chat with Seaver and White Barn Inn executive chef Mathew  Woolf.

Events for Saturday, Oct. 29, include a Maine oyster and beer tasting ($95) followed by Seaver and Woolf joining forces for a Land & Sea Dinner ($185), spotlighting such dishes as buttery Maine lobster salad and succulent celery root tortellini with truffle.


To make a reservation, or to get more information, visit the White Barn Inn website.


The second annual Taste Of Kittery is set for later this month and is serving this year as a grand finale for the town’s 375th anniversary celebration.

The event will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, from 1-4 p.m. at Post Office Square on Shapleigh Road. The tasting features food and beverage samples from Kittery restaurants along with live music.

Presale tickets are $35 and $40, available online. Tickets purchased the day of the event cost $45 and $50.

Kittery’s 375th Birthday Bash celebration takes place the day before the Taste of Kittery, on Sept. 23 at the Kittery Community Center and Star Theater.

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