“The only reason I work out is to live longer so I can eat more cheese and drink more wine.” ~ Ricky Gervais
A turophile can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You probably already know that it can be produced using the milk from cows, goats, and sheep, but did you know it can be made from the milk from buffalo, horses, and camels? Ah yes, that magic ingredient that you can add to just about anything – CHEESE.
With over 2,000 varieties of cheese, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like at least one. To show our love of cheese, the most popular recipe in the United States is one that unveils the most delicious way to make macaroni and cheese.
In Sonoma County, one annual, weekend long event dedicated to all things cheese, is the California Artisan Cheese Festival. This year the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary hosted by Sheraton Sonoma County – Petaluma. The festival is a non profit organization. To date, the festival has donated a percentage of ticket proceeds and presented $80,000 to other non profit organizations dedicated to preserving the lands used to create artisan cheese, to train and encourage the next generation of milk producers and cheesemakers, and to support the artisan cheese community in California. Recipients include Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Petaluma Future Farmers of America, California Artisan Cheese Guild, and Redwood Empire Food Bank.
This year’s festival begins Friday, March 18 with the popular Farm & Creamery Tours, and the Cheesemonger’s Duel. Some of the Farm Tours are already sold out, so don’t waste any time signing up for the tour of your choice! The behind-the-scenes Tours take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. leaving time to relax before heading to the Duel. The Duel challenges master cheesemakers to create The Best Bite using just a block, wedge, or bowl of artisan cheese.
For the first time, due to the demand for the Farm & Creamery Tours, Tours will be offered on Saturday, March 19. However, there will be plenty of Seminars and Pairing Demos to choose from. Saturday evening, don’t miss California Cheesin – We Do It Our Way! where guests will be invited to taste specially created bites prepared by the best Bay Area chefs and caterers all featuring the ingredient of the weekend – cheese. Guests will vote on their favorite and will also be able to sample artisan wines, beers, and ciders.
Sunday morning, rise and shine for the Bubbles Brunch featuring celebrity Chef, John Ash. Then, make your way to the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace where over 90 artisan producers will offer samples of delicious cheeses, gourmet specialty foods, beers, wines, and ciders to taste and to purchase.