The California Artisan Cheese Festival may be in our rearview mirrors, but the excitement continues to build on retail shelves. Innovations and revelations abounded, and Marin French Cheese Co. and had plenty to offer. I got in touch with Kelley Levin, Marketing Communications Manager for Laura Chenel, Marin French, and St. Benoit Creamery, to learn more about the cheesemaker’s experience at the festival’s revival.
“The event was a success! Our plans going in were to reconnect with the enthusiastic cheese lovers in our community, as well as our fellow cheesemakers and producers,” Kelley informs me. “We wanted to give both first-timers and long-time fans a chance to try some of our products in-person with the opportunity to ask questions and chat with our team—as well as offer some select items for purchase to enjoy at home.”
Amazing conversations were had, along with genuine reactions to the cheesemaker’s lineup of products on display. As many in our industry can attest to, tasting truly is believing.
“Watching the face of a customer trying our cheeses for the first time is one of the absolute best parts of doing live sampling,” Kelley continues, detailing the attendees’ reaction to the cheesemaker’s Golden Gate offering. “We are so excited about our Golden Gate. It is named after the orange hue of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, and is the gateway to Marin County, the home of our historic creamery.”
Sold under the Marin French Cheese Co. brand, this hand-crafted artisan product was launched in the second half of 2021. It is a washed-rind cheese that gets hand washed in brine four times as it is aging, which helps invigorate the cultures and emphasize the coastal air around the company’s creamery. This process also helps lock in moisture for a rich and savory cheese that represents the area.
Another major hit was from Marin French’s sister brand, Laura Chenel. The newest flavor, Everything Bagel Fresh Goat Cheese (Chabis) drew much excitement at the show. The high moisture content makes the little pillows of creamy goodness perfect for spreading, turning into dips, or elevating recipes. And, from what I hear, it was also a smashing success.
“Everything Bagel has the classic seasoning blend of sesame, garlic, poppy seed, and onion while still having a delicate flavor that lets the creamy, bright goat cheese flavor come through,” explains Kelley. “This was a favorite at the festival, which made our team so very happy. And, with our New Product sofi™ Award, we hope for great success for our latest flavor.”
California Artisan Cheese Festival came back to the cheesemaking scene to thundering appreciation. After a two-year hiatus, the festival came back for its 16th iteration and to the immense support from the local California makers.
“I want to say thank you to the California Artisan Cheese Guild for hosting the event and also providing ample volunteers to help with set-up and clean-up,” Kelley concludes. “It’s not an easy time for any small producers, so seeing the amount of community support is great motivation to keep making delicious cheeses!”
Hear, hear to more delicious cheeses! For more industry news in all things dairy, specialty, and deli, keep checking back to Deli Market News.