Artisan Cheese Festival

Artisan cheese festival 2009

cheesy.jpgAging like a fine cheddar, Petaluma’s Artisan Cheese Festival turns three this year, adding even more depth and flavor to the four-day festival of dairy deliciousness.

The annual gathering draws artisan fromagers Northern California and Oregon and their fans for a weekend of non-stop chatting and chewing about the wonders hand-crafted cheese. Which is actually pretty fascinating (and reaaaally fragrant), considering that the North Coast is where some of the country’s best cheese is being made these days.

Tickets are all but sold out, though a handful remain if you’re just dying to get your slice on. You can also participate a la carte, heading to one of several area restaurants hosting cheesemaker dinners on Friday night or mingling around Sunday’s Artisan Cheese Marketplace (advance tickets are recommended, or you can just take your chances and show up).

BiteClub will be there for the duration, first cut to final slice, so stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, if you’re inclined to participate, here’s how the weekend rolls. Get your knife and crackers ready…

– Friday Night Dine Around: Zazu, Syrah, Zin, Restaurant Eloise, Della Fattoria, Cucina Paradiso and Central Market will all host special cheese-centric dinners in honor of the festival on Friday night only. Click here for the list, as well as how to make a reservation.

Saturday: Seminar central. Some top picks include; Strong Cheese and Stout Brews with cheese gal Sheana Davis; Traveling the Oregon Cheese Trail with David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery;  the New Artisan Food Landscape with Steve Sando (Rancho Gordo), Taylor Boetticher of Fatted Calf and a host of others. More info on the seminars.

Artisan Gala dinner with John Ash, Duskie Estes (Zazu), Josh Silvers (Syrah) and others. Buy Tickets ($170).

Sunday: Artisan Cheese Marketplace. Eat. Drink. Eat. A wonderland for food lovers.

Monday: Creamery Field Trips. Head out to meet up with the folks who make cheese.

When: March 20-23 2009
Where: Sheraton Sonoma County Petaluma, 745 Baywood Drive, (707) 283-2888  

Need to do a little pre-cheese homework?
Culture Magazine is the skin mag for cheese-philes: Informative articles and glossy close-ups that’ll have you licking the pages. Alone. At night. More info:

Clark Wolf’s American Cheeses
I’ve been woefully behind in talking about this amazing book by SoCo’s own Clark Wolf. A funny and fascinating storyteller who’s got the chops to know what he’s talking about, Wolf weaves together stories of his own life along with vignettes about the cheesemakers from coast to coast. Definite required reading. Can I grow up to be you, Clark? Find out more.

Press Democrat Newsroom from Santa Rosa, CA:
BiteClub gets knee-deep in cheese; artisan cheese festival; biteclub; Petaluma; It isn’t what you think it is – true ‘schmaltz’ is a key ingredient in the Jewish kitchen. ; Jewish cooking; Making fried chicken and dumplings at the duck club; cooking fried chicken; Videos on food, wine, lifestyle and the restaurant round-up in Wine Country