13th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival

Tickets for Farm & Producer Tours and Seminars, as well as all other festival events, are now available for purchase at www.artisancheesefestival.com

California’s premier cheese event, the California Artisan Cheese Festival, to be held March 23-24, 2019, at various locations in Northern California, brings together cheese enthusiasts for a weekend filled with cheese tastings, pairings, tours, seminars, a culinary competition, and cocktail and wine tastings. While the festival’s larger events like Cheese, Bites, & Booze! (where guests can nosh on amazing bites created by cheesemakers, chefs and cheesemongers’ and sip on regional artisan wines, ciders and spirits) and The Marketplace (where attendees are invited to taste, discover and purchase specialty items from over 100 artisan producers) are sure to appeal, it’s the smaller events like the festival’s Farm & Producer Tours and Seminars that provide festival goers intimate, immersive experiences with some of the most reputable and knowledgeable experts in the industry. 

The Festival’s 2019 Seminar Schedule is as follows:  
 
Seminar 1: Red or White? Best Wines for the Cheeses You Love
Instructor: Janet Fletcher, author and educator
9:30 – 11 a.m.
$75 per person
 
Join the debate as to whether red or white wine is a better match for cheese with Planet Cheese publisher and educator extraordinaire, Janet Fletcher. Attendees will sample five cheeses alongside both a red and white wine while Janet shares some sensory research into wine and cheese pairings. 

Seminar 2: California Cheese: Old School to New School 
Instructor: Juliana Uruburu, cheese expert, Market Hall Foods
9:30 – 11 a.m.
$75 per person

California is truly a unique place with a rich and dynamic history of cheesemaking. Juliana Uruburu leads guests on a tasting journey illuminating the connections between the Golden State’s storied old school and new school cheesemakers.

Seminar 3: Cheese, Beer & Cider
Instructor: Rachel Perez, American Cheese Society (ACS) Certified Cheese Professional®
1:30 – 3 p.m.
$75 per person

Unique beers and ciders are becoming the pairing of choice for many cheesemongers as an alternative to wine. Rachel Perez guides attendees on a tasting journey demystifying the characteristics that make beer and cider so cheese-friendly. Guests will leave this session with a solid foundation of pairing principles and several foolproof beer, cider, and cheese pairings to try at home.

Seminar 4: A Taste of Cheese Science with The Cheese Twins
Instructors: Charlie & Michael Kalish, The Cheese Twins
1:30 – 3 p.m.
$75 per person

Having made cheese on more than a dozen dairy farms across Europe with some of the finest affineurs (professional cheese agers), Cheese Twins Charlie and Michael Kalish bring their savoir-faire home to California. This comparative tasting gives guests a crash course in the science behind cheesemaking and highlight how seemingly subtle shifts in pH, moisture, and aging result in staggeringly different cheeses. 

Seminar 5: Cheese & Cocktails: The Basics of Bitters, Booze & Cheese
Instructors: Vanessa Chang, American Cheese Society (ACS) Certified Cheese Professional® and Lassa Skinner, co-founder of Culture magazine
1:30 – 3 p.m.
$85 per person
 
Cheese mavens Vanessa Chang and Lassa Skinner demonstrate how a well-made cocktail can shake up preconceived notions of what goes with cheese. This dynamic duo will distill the basics of the various spirits, demystify the universe of bitters, and help identify cheeses to round out cocktails like Manhattans, Mai Tais, and more. 
 
The Festival’s 2019 Farm & Producer Tours are as follows: 
 
Tour A: Point Reyes Farmstead & The Fork
9:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
$150 per person
 
Attendees of this tour will spend a day at Giacomini Dairy to discover what makes Point Reyes so special. Visitors will start their day with a tour of the farm, meet the cows and learn about the farm’s history. Following the tour, guests will head to The Fork, Point Reyes Farmstead’s education and culinary center, for a focused cheese tasting and end the day with a three-course lunch and cooking demo with Chef Matthew Accarrino of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred restaurant, SPQR.
 
Tour B: Pennyroyal Farm Tour
10:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
$120 per person
 
Start your day with a guided walking tour at Pennyroyal creamery and vineyard to learn more about the integrative farming methods behind Pennyroyal’s handcrafted cheese and wine. Following the tour, enjoy a seasonal multi-course lunch prepared from the bounty of the kitchen garden as well as farmstead meat and cheese. Pennyroyal Farm cheesemaker Erika McKenzie-Chapter and It’s Not You, It’s Brie Author and Educator Kirstin Jackson will lead a delicious and instructive seminar that poses the question, “If it grows together, does it go together?” while leading a tasting that explores the cheeses, wine, beer, and cider of the Anderson Valley.  
 
Tour C: North Capitol Area Tour
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$150 per person
 
This tour explores the North Sacramento Valley cheesescape beginning with a tour of Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Company, to meet Tim Pedrozo, a third-generation dairy farmer and self-proclaimed “accidental cheesemaker.” After Pedrozo, the tour will head to Orland Farmstead Creamery, followed by lunch and a talk with Rumiano Cheese Company, California’s oldest family-owned cheese company.
 
Tour D: Hop to It! 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
$150 per person
 
Santa Rosa is home to an amazing community of talented brewers and delicious beers. This all-day tour starts at Russian River Brewing Co., crafters of legendary Pliny the Elder, with a cheese pairing from Beehive Cheese Co., followed by a stop at the Barrel Brothers Brewing Co. to taste hops and malts alongside chocolates by neighboring Volo Chocolates. Seismic Brewing Co. is the next stop on the tour to taste brews paired with cheese from a local cheesemaker and concludes with a visit to Old Possum Brewing Co., one of Santa Rosa’s newest breweries. 

 
Tour E: Farm Forward 
8:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
$150 per person
 
This tour travels west of Petaluma to Toluma Farms, home to a herd of goats, a flock of sheep, and Tomales Farmstead Creamery. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the organic pastures, meet the goats and sheep, taste an array of cheeses, and enjoy an incredible brunch spread from Daily Driver SF, California’s newest creamery. The tour will continue with a stop at AppleGarden Farm to meet owner Jan Lee, learn about cider apples, and taste the fruits of their labor! The day will conclude at Marin French Cheese, the country’s oldest continuously operating cheese company to taste their signature cheeses, including Brie and Camembert. 

Tour F: Dairy Divas 
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
$150 per person
 
This tour begins at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station where attendees will taste their way through a flight of Cowgirl Creamery and witness a curd-making demonstration before heading over the hill to DeBernardi Dairy, home to Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese. Attendees will stop for lunch before heading to Achadinha Cheese Company where Jim and Donna Pacheco, with help from their four children, milk goats and make cheese inspired by their family legacy and the Old World traditions of Portugal. 
 
Tour G: Stars of Sebastopol – Sold Out
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$150 per person
 
Start the morning off at Wm. Cofield Cheesemakers, one of California’s newest creameries known for its fresh cheese curds, clothbound cheddar, and Stilton-esque blue cheese. Next, attendees will visit Bohemian Creamery and meet Lisa Gottreich, one of the region’s most creative artisan cheesemakers, followed by a stop at The Barlow where Chef Duskie Estes, a regular guest on the Food Network and self-professed cheese lover, will prepare a delicious multi-course lunch inspired by cheese and locally-sourced ingredients. The tour will conclude with a visit to Spirit Works Distillery for a guided tasting though its local spirits alongside pairings from Cypress Grove Cheese. 
 
Tour H: Local Legends
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$150 per person
 
Rise and shine at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, California’s only organic farmstead creamery with a tour and tasting of its award-winning cheeses followed by a visit to Marin French Cheese, the country’s oldest continuously operating cheese company, which will celebrate its 154-year anniversary in 2019. Guests will continue on to Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery to enjoy a delicious cheese-focused lunch, tour and tasting of Valley Ford cheeses, crafted with milk from the family’s nearby herd of Jersey cows.
 
Tour I: The Milky Whey
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 
$150 per person
 
Attendees will start their morning outside Petaluma at the Pacheco Family Dairy for a tour of the farm while learning why the Pachecos transitioned from a traditional cow dairy to a goat dairy; complete with a tasting of the farmstead cheeses. Next, the tour will head to Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, California’s only organic farmstead creamery, to taste its award-winning cheeses that capture both the essence of this 1,150-acre family ranch and the legacy of the family’s Swiss-Italian heritage. Guests will stop along the way for lunch before heading to Lagunitas Brewing Company just in time for happy hour to taste a selection of their innovative local brews paired with cheeses from Sierra Nevada Cheese Company.
 
 ***Note: Bus transportation is provided by Pure Luxury Transportation for all tours except Tour B and Tour C (Tour B does not include transportation, Tour C transportation is provided by North Valley Shuttle.) Start and end times and tour departure pick-up and drop-off locations vary. All sales are final, and events takes place rain or shine. A more detailed list of the tour descriptions can be found at https://www.artisancheesefestival.com/tours.
 
Following the educational seminars and tours, guests can opt to end their day participating in Cheese, Bites & Booze!, Saturday night’s grand tasting event held inside the Jackson Family Wines Aircraft Hangar at Sonoma Jet Center. This delicious competition features cheesemakers, chefs and cheesemongers’ creating their “best bites” of California artisan cheesy goodness. Guests sample the amazing creations while sipping on regional artisan wines, ciders, spirits, and beers at this light-hearted walk-around tasting event. Tickets for Cheese, Bites & Booze! are $80 per person (21 and over only, no children will be admitted). 
 

About California Artisan Cheese Festival

A 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, the California Artisan Cheese Festival strives to increase cheese appreciation, educate consumers about artisan cheeses, support the cheesemaking community and its sustainability and celebrate the creations of California’s many farmers and cheesemakers. The festival began in March 2007 as the first-ever, weekend-long celebration and exploration of handcrafted cheeses, foods, wines and beers from California and beyond. In keeping with its dedication to the community, the Artisan Cheese Festival has donated more than $120,000 in grants to local nonprofit partners that support local sustainable agriculture including the California Artisan Cheese Guild, Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Petaluma Chapter of the Future Farmers of America. For more information about the California Artisan Cheese Festival, visit www.artisancheesefestival.com or follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.