Jolly Pumpkin Café and Brewery, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) and R. Hirt Specialty Distributors, hosted the first annual Wisconsin Cheese Throw Down on August 10.

The event challenged eastern Michigan’s best chefs to create a signature dish featuring Wisconsin Cheese paired with Jolly Pumpkin Beer. A panel of judges awarded Chef Thad Gilles of Logan restaurant with the evening’s top spot. Gilles created a ginger snap cookie featuring BelGioioso Mascarpone and fresh raspberries paired with Jolly Pumpkin’s Madrugada beer. Chef Alan Merhar, from Evans Street Station, and Chef Maggie Long, from the Jolly Pumpkin, finished second and third, respectively.

The people’s choice award, as voted by attendees, went to Chef Jim Leonardo from Vinology. Leonardo used Great Midwest Morel and Leek Jack cheese to create a crispy chicken and jack spring roll paired with Jolly Pumpkin’s Weizan Bam beer.

All proceeds from the event benefitted Avalon Housing Inc., a community-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and managing permanent supportive rental housing for people with extremely low incomes in Washtenaw County. Avalon board member, Dennis Deschaine, was the event’s official judge.

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