Cheese Journeys co-host, Author & Educator
Cheese Journeys are built around cheese and food travel, creating a shared adventure and experience completely unlike any other. As trips are planned, there are a wide array of local personalities and food superstars to visit, but there is also the wonderful and fascinating group dynamic that emerges, making each trip that much more memorable.
The social component of shared meals and drives between producers encourages vast opportunities to foster new friendships with others on the tour. As an added bonus, Cheese Journeys travels with a cheese expert versed in the local cheeses and, often, boasting other talents that they are eager to share.
Tenaya Darlington, an author, educator and social media expert is just such a person. Based in Philadelphia, Tenaya is the author of “DiBruno Bros. House of Cheese” and the fabulous new release “The New Cocktail Hour,” written with her brother Andre. Tenaya is a whirling dervish of creativity, adventure and cheese & cocktail love.
We had a chance to sit down with her to talk a little about her experiences travelling with us to England.
CJ: Tell our readers a bit about your background and your work, both in and out of cheese.
TD: By day, I teach writing to college students (at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia); by night, I lead tastings, run the blog Madame Fromage, and work on cookbooks.
One of my great pleasures is sharing knowledge not just about cheese but also about photography and writing. Digital storytelling is hugely important to the success of artisan foods, especially cheese, and it’s a great way for travelers to chronicle their tastings and experiences.
On Anna's British Cheese Tour (fall 2015), participants were eager to improve their food photography skills. We spent part of an afternoon working with Chef Sylvain, styling a beautiful cheese board and photographing it using a variety of props, angles, and light sources. (see photos)
I teach a lot of social media skills at work, so I'm always happy to share that with guests who are eager to expand their understanding of Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, etc.
CJ: We just love the people who join us on our adventures – it’s really about the friendships forged and experiences shared. Can you tell us a bit about the type of community you’ve encountered traveling with us?
TD: Cheese Journeys attracts a lot of passionate foodies and food producers, which makes for great connection and conversation.
On the British tour last fall, two experienced cheesemakers on the trip mentored a young cheesemonger who was just beginning to develop his knowledge of European cheeses. The three of them developed a lifelong bond, and the young cheesemonger now has an interest in learning to make cheese. He also broadened his food vocabulary and learned about land stewardship, two things he now shares with his customers.
One thing I love about Anna's trips is that participants learn from one another. Also, Anna has a knack for befriending food producers along the way and inviting them to join us for dinner.
In England last fall, we had a spontaneous dinner party with a maker of grappa, a rising chef with a stunning new line of preserves, as well as a renowned Cheddar maker. Anna knows how to bring people together in exciting environments where education and appreciation happen naturally.
CJ: Care to share a few of your favorite memories of our travels on the great cheddar adventure?
· Playing golf with Cheddar maker Jamie Montgomery at his family's estate, North Cadbury Court
· Sitting in the kitchen with Hill Farm's Will Atkinson and tasting his new natural-rinded goat cheese
· Drinking cocktails overlooking the ocean with Mary Quicke of Quicke's Cheddar
· Receiving a cooking lesson from Chef Sylvain on how to make a proper pie crust
· Watching Pennsylvania cheesemaker Sue Miller learn to play snooker
· Visiting Plymouth Distillery, where we had a really informative gin tasting (followed by great gin & tonics)
Want to experience these English Cheese adventures yourself? Travel with us on our 2017 English Cheddar Odyssey – we just released our itinerary and you won’t want to miss it!
Tenaya will also be co-hosting our upcoming SOLD OUT trip to France this fall. A second tour with cheese rock star Max McCalman has just a few spots remaining. Learn More
Want to travel with Tenaya? She has signed on as co-host of our brand new 2017 Chester County, PA tour over Memorial Day 2017! Stay tuned for more info!