Kent Cheesemonger hosts class for wine lovers on Valentine’s Day

Sarah Lorenz

Kent Cheesemonger, a local chhese shop owned and operated by Tim Sahr, hosted a Valentine’s day wine and cheese class with the help of Sveto Popović Monday night.

After being a civil engineer for 20 years, Sahr needed a change and followed his passion for food; specifically cheese. The Kent Cheesemonger has been in business since September 2015 and specializes in artisan cheeses hand selected by Sahr, the Cheesemonger.

“I want people here to feel comfortable and at home…I encourage all kinds of cheese questions,” Sahr said.

The small class of 20 people was illuminated in the shop with candlelight, soft music and wood planked benches, surrounded with a variety of wine, beer and cheese to buy.

Sahr presented a plate to each guest with five different cheeses: Kunik goat/cow cheese, ossau-irtay or sheep cheese, pleasant ridge reserve or farmers cheese, stag cheddar and caveman blue cheese. A dark-chocolate acorn was also on the plate for dessert, made by Popped!

He explained each wine sampling was purposely paired with an artisan cheese to highlight and enhance the flavor.

“We are all here to enjoy good cheese and wine…lets have some fun!” Sahr said opening the class to Popović.

Popović, a sales rep for Traderman, brought the wine and his expertise to the class. He introduced each wine as the guests sampled while sharing his knowledge of how the grapes are grown and cured.

Tuesday night featured five different wines from Traderman Distributors, a privately owned vineyard that sells wine across that state of Ohio. Tuesday night’s class offered samples of Maryhill riesling, Vina Tempranillo, Queen of Hearts pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and Towny port.

“Wine is a way for people to engage in conversation, develop great relationships and share a passion for the beverage,” Popović said.

Popović has traveled to numerous vineyards around the nation in the last several years. He recently went to Napa, California to learn more about how grapes are grown and preserved for wine.

Guests were encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts on the wine throughout the night.

The best cheese of the night was the stag cheddar, according to Mike Pritt, a Kent local and friend of Sahr’s. Pritt and his wife Kathi, married 25 years, attended the class for Valentine’s Day.

“My wife and I love coming to learn about all the types of cheese,” Mike Pritt said. “Especially when it’s pair with our favorite cabernet sauvignon. The progression from light to dark wine was very nice and well paired with the cheese.”

Mike and Karen Leffler, married 34 years, spent their Valentine’s Day at the class with their daughter and her boyfriend.

“We love going out in the evenings…especially for wine,” Mike Leffler said. “We recently went on a hiking tour in Italy and made many stops for wine and cheese.”

Deanna Juan, Kent State senior psychology and sociology major, was there with her date, senior sociology major, Andrew Morrison, for Valentine’s Day.

“The cheese was my favorite part of the night,” Juan said. “We would definitely come back to buy more for date nights.”

Christina Lusk, an employee of the Cheesemonger for the last two years, was at the event assisting Sahr and guests. Lusk has over 10 years of experience at the cheese counter of West Point Market in Fairlawn, Ohio.

“I love meeting new people at each class,” Lusk said. “This is a great way for people to come in and find out what kind of wine they like, while trying some new and different cheeses.”

Lysa Anderson, Kent State Art History major and employee-in-training for the Cheesemonger, really enjoyed her training during the event. She was instructed by Sahr to sit, take notes and enjoy the wine and cheese.

“Tim is awesome,” Anderson said. The bees knees! The Maryhill Riesling was by far my favorite wine of the night paired with the Kunik goat cheese. I’m a white wine girl.”

Sahr makes cheese plates for customers coming into the Cheesemonger to go along with a bottle of wine based on each guest’s personal pallet and preference.

The next class will be on Friday, March 24 from 7-9 p.m. The class will feature a spring selection of wine and cheese.

Tickets are $25 and available for purchase on, or at the door before maximum occupancy of 20 people.