Choose Your Side – Blue Cheese or Red Cheese

The Park Hyatt Washington in Georgetown is currently offering a special presidential election themed dining experience, the Presidential Cheese Program, at its 60-seat Lounge adjacent to the Blue Duck Tavern.

They’re one of the many high profile local restaurants offering some variation of a blue plate vs. red plate special for the 2012 selection, and this is one you won’t want to pass on if a cheese and charcuterie plate is your likely last meal request.

Diners will be able to order from a collection of blue and red themed cheeses, and will place their votes as to which one is the favorite. On election day, a special Presidential Cheese – a 35-pound wheel of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont – will be honored with the name of the winning side.

For the Blue Party, you’ll be able to sample Ewe’s Blue, a sheep’s milk cheese from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in New York, and as intense and authentic of a blue cheese as you’ll find, and Barick Obama, a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Lazy Lady Farm in Vermont. For the Red Party, check out the Red Hawk, a creamy cow’s milk cheese from Cowgirl Creamery in California and Lincoln Log, a goat’s milk cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery in Michigan.

The program is run by onsite cheese specialist and connoisseur Lisa Hviding, and she selected all of the artisan cheeses for inclusion. After you take a seat and make a few selections, Hviding toils over her red Berkel circular slicing machine, the “Ferrari of slicers”, preparing stacked plates of cheese and thinly sliced meats, all served on a wood cheeseboard along with fresh bread and extras such as the equally unique and delicious pinot noir jelly and Vidalia onion jam.

Not only can you pair a glass of wine or a cocktail with your cheese, but you can also receive a few helpful tips about matching a beer with your plate. For example, Hviding recommends a bitter IPA to stand up to the powerful Cabot cheddar.

All of the cheeses are priced at $6 per ounce, meats such as prosciutto and sopressta are available for $11.

As of my visit, the Blue Party held a slight 172-160 lead over the Red Party. A small blackboard and scale is left atop the cheese counter displaying the up to date results.

Luckily, I cast my vote for the same side as my political leanings. If it came down towards choosing a preference in pungency or policy, things could have gotten tricky.

This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo Voices, September 30, 2012