Food & Wine

California's Artisan Cheese Festival

Cheese from the Sunday Marketplace event Photo by: Derrick Story
Cheese from the Sunday Marketplace event
Photo by: Derrick Story


March 20 – 22, 2015

Sonoma County’s bounty is no mystery, but wouldn’t an insider’s tour be great? Last April, I eagerly attended the 8th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival. I was new to the bay area and love cheese. My co-pilot husband — not a cheese person — was a bit weary of our venture. To my husband’s delight, the festival incorporates a diverse collection of the best artisan’s in Sonoma and neighboring areas, not just for cheeseheads. Be sure to register for the 2015 festival and enjoy a weekend adventure in Sonoma you have never experienced; farm tours, seminars, tastings, pairings, competitions, and markets mesmerize you at the Sonoma Cheese Festival!

Sonoma purveyors of artisanal products are committed to placing value in each aspect of their artful trade. These talented craftspeople open their doors and hearts to share what makes their life enviable. You will leave wanting to cash in your city loft for a plot of hilly land. As the artisans impart valuable cocktail party knowledge on affinage, terroirs, and pinotage, you’ll find yourself with a strong desire for the simple life. Take a break and live life Sonoma style for the weekend!

Farm Tours Photo by: Derrick Story
Farm Tours
Photo by: Derrick Story

Be quick to reserve your farm excursions, last year these intimate visits filled up quickly. Also, be experimental and go outside your comfort zone at the Grand Tasting and Best in Cheese Competition, Saturday evening. As the live band serenaded, I sampled superb cider from Devoto Orchards, robust vintages from Black Kite Cellars, and almost twenty paired chef and artisan teams’ dishes, highlighting…. you guessed it, cheese! The dishes ranged from exotic to comfort food. I specifically enjoyed the Petaluma Pie Company’s “Cuban Sandwich Pie” with Central Coast Creamery Holey Cow, Slow Roast Pork, Ham, Pickles & Mustard, and The Duck Club Restaurant’s Raclette with Valley Ford Highway One, Local Dungeness Crab, Pickled Shallots, Fingerling Potatoes and Chives.

If you are unable to attend the upcoming event, be sure to check out and create a tour through the gorgeous Sonoma landscape to a selection of over twenty artisanal cheese makers.

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