Wisconsin Cheesemaker Anne Topham to headline Oct. 2 event

An Oct. 2 event will explore the many and varied connections between Normandy and Wisconsin, including how the French region has influenced Wisconsin’s artisanal cheeses. Exploring Connections: Normandy-Wisconsin will kick off at 5 p.m. in Room 4151 in Grainger Hall at 975 University Ave. on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The event is free and open to the public and will include a reception with speakers following the presentation. It is sponsored by the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies and UW-Madison.

Keynote speakers include Anne Topham, Fantôme Farm, Ridgeway. Topham will discuss terroir and “significance of place” in farmstead cheesemaking. Topham, considered by many to be the grand dame of artisan goat cheesemaking in Wisconsin, crafts award-winning artisan goat’s milk cheeses and was inspired by a French goat cheese she first tasted 25 years ago.

In addition, two UW-Madison professors: Bill Berg and Keith Busby, will discuss a the Wisconsin-Normandy connection through literature and painting. Berg is a specialist in 19th-century French literature and art, including the work of painters Boudin and Monet and writers Flaubert and Maupassant. Busby will discuss the linguistic and literary consequences of the Norman Invasion and the influence of Norman French on the English language.