It’s three days of everything you ever wanted to know about cheese. The 7th annual California Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma is the place to be, March 22-24, for people who love cheese.
On Friday night the festival hosts a Meet the Cheesemakers event ($35) with unlimited (yes!) cheese sampling, plus micro-brew beers and wine from local vintners to try along with it. Cheesemakers mingle to discuss their cheeses and the cheesemaking life. Casual, cozy, informative. Fun.
Saturday Seminars - drill down on your interests: learn how to create a spectacular cheese plate, take cheesemaking classes, preview new cheeses, attend seminars on cooking with cheeses or pairing cheese with food, wine and beer – and more. Book yourself into a morning seminar (9:30 a.m. start), an afternoon seminar (1:30 p.m.) or both. Lunch is included.
Saturday evening: Grand Cheese Tasting and Best in Cheese Competition – cheese makers and restaurants pair up to create unique expressions of their art – appetizers and soups, entrees, salads, desserts and more – local breweries and vineyards pour alongside to make a perfect match. It’s a bountiful evening of food and wine. Guests vote for their favorite dish, and name a “people’s choice” winner for the evening. Cost: $75.
Sunday: “Let the Cheese Shine” Stark Reality Brunch (9:30 a.m.) a three-course champagne brunch and cooking demonstration (recipes to take home) elegantly presented and served includes early (11:00 a.m.) VIP admission to the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace event. Cost: $115.
Also Sunday: Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace - noon to 4:00 p.m. If you’re going to just one Festival event, this is it. You’ll be able to experience everything the Festival has to offer all at once, in one glorious day. More than two dozen cheese makers will be on hand sampling and selling their cheeses – a terrific opportunity to discover a new cheese or purchase special releases not available in retail stores. Breweries and wineries will be pouring – and selling -- their wares. All sorts of foods and condiments, books (authors on hand for signings), cheese making equipment, snacks, olive oil, bread products and more will be available for sample and for sale. Also included: three cooking demonstrations – at 1:00, Duskie Estes of Zazu; Condra Easley of Patisserie Angelica at 2:00; and Austin Perkins of Nick’s Cove Restaurant at 3:00. It’s huge, and with unlimited everything, it’s a bargain at just $45.
Details (all links in the story are live) and tickets are available online at the California Artisan Cheese Festival website. Many of the events sell out, so don’t think about it for too long.