The holiday season is fast approaching, and this year, Northern Californians have even more cause to anticipate the season’s gift giving and revelry. Starting this week, tickets for the 13th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival will be on sale, offering merrymakers the opportunity to ring in the new year by scoring tickets to one of the state’s premier specialty food events.
I spoke with Judy Groverman Walker, Executive Director of the festival, to learn more about the festival’s new two-day format and what showgoers can expect come this spring.
“We have made some changes to help accommodate our cheesemakers schedules. We will take the festival to two days—more compact days of cheesy bliss,” Judy told me. “Artisan Producer and Farm tours will only be on Saturday this year, as well as educational sessions. Our Friday and Saturday night events have merged into Cheese, Bites and Booze and will be at a new location in Santa Rosa. Sunday will still be our Bubbles Brunch and our ever-popular Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace.
Now in its second year in Santa Rosa, the 2019 California Artisan Cheese Festival will take place March 23-24. Judy noted that the festival is still finalizing its list of Marketplace vendors, participating restaurants, caterers, cheesemongers, cheesemakers, wineries, breweries, distilleries, cider makers, and other sponsors. Tickets to the marketplace, however, are already available.
“In addition to changing up the timing of the Artisan Producer and Farm tours, and combining the two evening events, we are also working with local restaurants and businesses to feature California artisan cheese the week leading up to the festival, March 16-24, 2019,” Judy said.
One of the highlights of the 2018 festival was The Best Bite Competition—a contest pitting local chefs against each other to create a perfectly-paired mouthful of cheese and others. This year the contest will return with a new format and a new name, Judy let me know.
“The Best Bite is returning, but will now be called Cheese, Bites and Booze and will be on Saturday night, March 23.”
Tickets to the 13th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival are now on sale. Mark your calendar, and the Deli Market News team will see you there.