I’ve learned that cheese people always find each other, both in and outside of the specialty industry. We gravitate toward each other and bond over one of the most central focuses in our lives: food. Such is the crowd that gathered for the 16th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival this past weekend, welcoming makers and tasters alike.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to be back in person, especially with our fellow cheesemakers in California,” said Kelley Levin, Marketing Communications Manager for Marin French Cheese, Laura Chenel, and St. Benoit Creamery. “This event means so much to us—we love seeing the community come together and showcase our products. We have a couple of new products that we’re really excited for everyone to taste and we are so happy to see some friendly faces. Our Marin French Golden Gate cheese launched in the second half of last year, and our Laura Chenel new Everything Bagel fresh goat cheese flavor is on display as well.”
Held in the Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, the festival facilitated joyful and informative conversations between suppliers and consumers. All in attendance came together for one common goal: to celebrate cheese.
Over 60 exhibiting participants were present, ranging from cheesemakers to wine producers and specialty suppliers. The Deli Market News team got to mingle with many different specialty operators at the event, who all came armed with delicious samples and ample industry knowledge.
“We’re excited to be back here after two years,” Matt DeLoach, Retail and Hospitality Manager at Cowgirl Creamery, told me (pictured below on the right). “It’s great getting to see all of our consumers face to face and also getting to network and see some of our friends from around the state. Today we’re showcasing some of our flagship cheeses; we have our Mt. Tam, our Devil’s Gulch and Pierce Point which are now available year-round, and then our Red Hawk.”
The event hosted an impressive turnout of attendees, with everyone from cheese newbies to certifiable experts walking the floor and getting to know brands new and old. I, for one, have probably had my fill of cheese for the next week. But, if we’re being honest, this cheese lover is never one to turn it away.
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