Last weekend marked the 8th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival. Pure Luxury was a proud sponsor of this delicious event hosted by the Sheraton Sonoma County – Petaluma. On Friday, March 21st, the festival began with the popular Behind-the-Scenes Cheese Country Farm Tours. Each tour was sold out in advance! Friday evening’s Meet the Cheesemakers and Their Cheeses provided an incredible assortment of cheeses to sample, the opportunity to meet and chat with cheesemakers, and a selection of wine, beer, and cider to create your own pairings. The variety of cheeses was astounding and included something for everyone. There were spicy cheeses, creamy cheeses, hard cheeses, curds, spreads, and strong-smelling cheeses that could be smelled as guests approached the table.
Saturday morning and afternoon continued with a feast of seminars all about cheese and included topics such as cheese rinds, best cheeses to melt, beer and cheese pairings, cheese making, cider and cheese pairings, pairing cheese with Pinot Noir and sparkling wines, and much more. Saturday evening, local chefs demonstrated their creativity with cheese in the Grand Cheese Tasting and Best in Cheese Competition. Also featured was plenty of wine, beer, and cider to pair with each amazing entry. Creative cheese bites included John Ash & Co./Vintners Inn Ham and Cheese Croissant with Point Reyes Farmstead Toma and Bay Blue and Blueberry Balsamic Jam, Nick’s Cove Sweet Potato and Cypress Grove Chevre Gnocchi with Rosemary Brown Butter, Tolay at the Sheraton Sonoma County’s House Smoked Achiote Brisket with Willapa Hills Pluvius Cheddar and Willapa Hills White and Natural Cream Cheese Hush Puppies, and Petaluma Pie Company’s Cubano Empanada Cuban Sandwich Pie with Central Coast Creamery Holey Cow with Slow Roast Pork, Ham, Pickles, and Mustard.
After the Bubbles and Brunch with Executive Chef Percy Whatley on Sunday morning, it was time for the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace to begin! Along with watching cooking demonstrations from renowned chefs, guests sampled the goods from over 75 artisan cheese and food producers, superb chefs, and outstanding winemakers and brewers. Along with bites of cheeses from California cheese companies such as Valley Ford Cheese Co., Achadinha Cheese Company, Redwood Hill Farm, and Cowgirl Creamery, there were tasty samples of other gourmet foods such as sea salts, balsamics and olive oils, different flavors of homemade caramel popcorn, and crackers to enjoy alone or with a bite of cheese.
The Festival was a delightful success! Mark your calendar for next year and make sure to purchase your tickets as soon as they are available.