Scenes from the Cheese Ball


Last Sunday’s Cheese Ball was unearthly, a gorgeous outpouring of joy and generosity complete with disco balls, sweeping cheese boards, and guests dressed as their favorite wheels and wedges. You can read all about it in this week’s Philadelphia Inquirerwhere writer Samantha Melamed chronicles Philadelphia’s dairy geeks so beautifully (note the great headline). But here, let me give you a tour of the Ball via the photos of Stephen Lyford

Pretend you’ve just stepped onto the red carpet leading up to Ruba Club on a leafy back street of Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. You’ll be welcomed by these two smiling volunteers, sharing the Cheese Ball’s golden symbol (thank you Kelly White and Victoria Dinaro!).


Once you hang up your coat and fill out your French name tag (bien sur!), head to the city’s largest cheese board, where guests are invited to share their favorite hunk or condiment. The beautiful breads you see were donated by three local bakeries, High Street, La Colombe, and Philly Bread Co. You’ll meet them in a minute — they’re probably upstairs dancing.

Don’t mind Chuck and Jim (costumed below) who are squeezing each other’s Milk Duds on their way to the cash bar.


Upstairs, the Sampling Salon is the night’s real spectacle, a dairy fantasia where 17 area cheesemakers (listed at bottom) set up displays on locally milled boards specially designed by John Luttman of Artifaqt Design.

In just a moment, the disco band will play and tuba beats will shake the house.


And you’ll dance with 17 cheesemakers from around the region and hundreds of cheese-loving fans. (Not pictured: Peter Dixon swinging around the room with a pair of Suffolk Punches dangling from his arms.)

Thank you to everyone who made Cheese Ball 2016 a roaring success! And to our new Pennsylvania Cheese Guild…may this party be the cream on top of this year’s hard work.

This holiday season, please consider sharing some of the great cheeses you tasted at the Ball. Many of them are available online.



For more glimpses of great cheese from the Philadelphia region, check out food critic Craig Laban’s Top 15 Local Cheeses.

Many thanks to the local chefs and companies who contributed to our silent auction and to our condiment table. And to the cascade of volunteers that pitched in throughout the night, thank you thank you! The Cheese Ball is a group effort, and I feel honored to know you all. –Madame Fromage

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