California Artisan Cheese Festival attendees will have even more to look forward to, with the announcement of two new events taking place during the thirteenth annual festival. Cheese, Bites & Booze! will take place on March 23 and California Artisan Cheese Week is taking place from March 16-24. New and limited-production artisan cheeses will be incorporated into dishes and bites made by chefs from Sonoma and Marin Counties and the Bay Area—providing attendees with a unique and memorable experience.
Cheese, Bites & Booze!
The event will take place at the Jackson Family Wines Airplane Hangar, a new location for this year’s festival, and will feature a competition along with artisan cheese, wine, beer, cocktail, and spirits tastings. Cheesemakers, cheesemongers, and chefs will be collaborating to create their own “best bites” of the greatest foods that California has to offer. Guests will be able to sample culinary creations while they sip on regional artisan wines, beers, ciders, and spirits at this walk-around event.
After sampling the best of the best, attendees are invited to cast their vote for their favorite bite in the People’s Choice Awards for Cheesemongers and Chefs while a panel of expert judges make their vote from the same categories, according to a press release. Notable past winner, John Ash & Co., is returning to reclaim its titles for Judges’ Choice—Chef, which the restaurant won last year, and the People’s Choice—Chef award, which it won in back in 2017.
Though the voice of the people is important, it is the winners of the Judges’ Choice—Cheesemonger award that will receive a coveted prize that includes a tour for six at two or more Sonoma and Marin County creameries, a personalized meet-and-greet with the cheesemakers and/or owners, and an exclusive cheese tasting and lunch. More prizes are on the table for other winners of the People’s and Judges’ Choice winners, including Santoku knives from Tahoe Kitchen, Boos Board cutting boards, and cash prizes.
Participating cheesemakers and chefs include Beehive Cheese Company, Bellwether Farms, Central Coast Creamery, Chef Jodie Rubin, Cookie…take a bite!, Costeaux French Bakery, Cowgirl Creamery, Crumb Hither, Cypress Grove Cheese Co., Fiscalini Cheese Co., Goose & Gander, Jimtown Store, John Ash & Co., Korbel Delicatessen & Market, Laura Chenel’s, Marin French Cheese Co., Mercato Pasta & Produce, Moonside Creamery, Nicasio Valley Cheese Co., Nick’s Cove, Nicolau Farms, Pacific Market, Peacock Gap Golf Club, Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Co., Pennyroyal Farm, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Railroad Stop Bar & Kitchen, Rumiano Cheese Co., Sally Tomatoes, Sierra Nevada Cheese Co., Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Co., The Gables Wine Country Inn, the girl and the fig, Tips Roadside, Tomales Farmstead Creamery, Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese, Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery, and Wm. Cofield Cheesemakers.
Participating beer, wine, and spirits producers include AppleGarden Farm, Ace Cider, Alley 6 Craft Distillery, Black Kite Cellars, Boochcraft High-Alcohol Kombucha, Gondak Cellars, Gordian Knot Winery, Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery, Joseph Jewell Wines, Kelley & Young Wines, Kokomo Winery, Korbel Champagne Cellars, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Little Apple Treats, Merriam Vineyards, Monarch Bitters, Pampelonne Sparkling Wine Cocktails, Paul Mathew Vineyards, Rabbit’s Food Meadery/Red Branch Cider Company, Russian River Brewing Company, Seismic Brewing Company, Sonoma Coast Spirits, Sonoma Portworks, Spire Collection, Stringer Cellars, Tipp Rambler, and Young & Yonder Spirits.
California Artisan Cheese Week
The cheese week, a first-time event at the festival, will run from March 16-24 and will take place at various restaurants, winery tasting rooms, independent grocers, and businesses throughout the Bay Area. This event takes place in the week leading up to the festival and gives diners and patrons the chance to discover new cheeses or savor old favorites through various means, including special cheese-inspired menus and dishes, cheese plates, tastings, pairings, discounts, and more.
Restaurants and businesses in Sonoma and Marin Counties and the greater Bay Area that are participating in California Artisan Cheese Week include, but are not limited to: Backyard Forestville, Beer Baron Bar & Kitchen, Big John’s Market, Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven, Costeaux French Bakery, Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, Franchettis’, Goose & Gander, Jimtown Store, Joseph Jewell Wines, Kelley & Young Wines, Korbel Delicatessen & Market, Molsberry Market, Nick’s Cove, Oliver’s Market, Palio, Paul Mathew Vineyards, Petaluma Market, Petaluma Pie, Sonoma Portworks, The Gables Wine Country Inn, the girl and the fig, Tips Roadside, Wilibees Wine & Spirits, zazu kitchen + farm, and Zoftig Eatery.
These events lead up to the treasured California Artisan Cheese Festival, taking place over two days, from March 23-24. The festival includes a slew of exciting events including seminars, cheese tastings, pairings, farm and producer tours, and a Bubbles Brunch and Marketplace event, which will all be held at various Northern California locations.
Now that we’re all hooked, it’s comforting to know that tickets for the various events are still available and range from $25 and $150 per person. The events take place rain or shine, so let’s all hope there’s no rain!
To purchase tickets or find out more information about additional festival events, visit www.artisancheesefestival.com.