It’s that time of the year again! Dig through your drawers to find your fondue forks and try to remember which closet you put your cheese hat in, because the 10th Annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival is just around the corner! The event—put on by the California Artisan Cheese Guild—will run from the 18–20 of March at the Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma in… Petaluma! If you’re already in the Bay Area, you have no excuse to miss this extravaganza, and if you live somewhere else but you’ve just gotten your tax return back, you know you really should treat yo’ self.
To celebrate a decade of dairy delicacies, the Festival is going all out this year with a full three-day schedule of tastings and goings on. You can spend Friday in the hills and dales of NorCal, touring the farms and creameries responsible for the milk that goes into your favorite Californian cheeses. You can unwind at night watching The Cheesemonger’s Duel, which pits cheesemongers against one another in an effort to create the best local cheese bite, all for your gratification!
To celebrate its anniversary, the farm tours have been extended for the first time and will continue throughout the day Saturday, along with seminars and tastings featuring a cadre of cheese greats. Instructors will include Peggy Smith and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery, food writer extraordinaire Janet Fletcher, and the founding president of the California Artisan Cheese Guild, Lynne Devereux, among others. After a full day of cheese-ventures, eat, drink, and be merry with some of the Bay Area’s best chefs. who’ll be cooking up dishes inspired by Golden State cheeses for you (and everyone else there) at the California Cheesin’ grand tasting event.
Sunday will begin with a brunch hosted by none other than world-famous Chef John Ash, widely considered to be the father of Wine Country Cuisine. Not only will he cook the brunch, he’ll demonstrate how to incorporate artisan cheese into any great meal. And as a last huzzah, the festival will culminate with a giant cheese tasting/market, featuring over 90 artisan cheesemakers.
If all this cheese action somehow still isn’t quite doing it for you, we here at culture feel so strongly you should go that we’re partnering with the fest to give away two tickets for Sunday’s grand finale cheese market. Yeah, that’s $80 worth of artisan cheese experiences offered to you for the low, low price of free. All you have to do is visit our Facebook page and make the case for your favorite California cheese for your chance to win!
Photo courtesy California’s Artisan Cheese Festival