What is the California Artisan Cheese Festival?
California Artisan Cheese Festival is a nonprofit organization with the mission to:
- Educate people who want to learn more about artisan cheese
- Support the artisan cheesemaking community and its sustainability
- Celebrate and enjoy the creations of the artisan cheesemakers
We also like to have fun. So, each year we gather a lively and friendly group of experts and presenters that will make the weekend fly by as we learn about and enjoy the wonderful world of artisan cheese.
What does the California Artisan Cheese Festival include?
Starting with the first festival in March 2007, this festival is the first-ever weekend-long celebration and exploration of handcrafted cheeses, foods, wines and beers from California and beyond. In our first eight years more than 20,000 attendees have met more than a dozen international award-winning cheesemakers and learned how to taste, buy, serve and enjoy distinctive artisan cheeses from the experts. The educational seminars and tastings are led by cheese experts, cheesemakers, chefs and fromagiers from across the country, and virtually every session involves tastings and/or pairings of artisan cheeses. The festival features a wide variety of artisan cheeses from California and beyond, together with their artisan bread, food, wine and beer complements.
How is the California Artisan Cheese Festival Supporting the Artisan Cheesemaking Community and Its Sustainability?
The festival’s goal of supporting the artisan cheesemaking community and its sustainability is accomplished in several ways. As the first festival to focus on artisan cheeses, the festival promotes broad awareness of the artisan cheesemaking community and enjoyment of its products. Through its educational offerings the festival also helps consumers better understand artisan cheeses and their advantages over non-artisan cheeses. It also shows the wide variety of artisan cheeses available and the flexibility with which they can be used. The festival’s marketplace event on Sunday gives the cheesemakers an excellent opportunity to showcase and sell their cheeses.
The festival helps the artisan cheesemaking community directly by contributing 10 percent of all ticket proceeds to nonprofit organizations that work to (1) protect and preserve the lands needed by the artisan cheesemakers for their cows, sheep and goats; (2) train and encourage the next generation of milk producers and cheesemakers; and (3) support the artisan cheesemaking community in California. The festival also supports the Redwood Empire Food Bank, which is working to eliminate hunger in Sonoma County. California Artisan Cheese Festival has to date made donations totaling $90,000 to the following:
- Sonoma Land Trust
- Marin Agricultural Land Trust
- Petaluma Future Farmers of America
- California Artisan Cheese Guild
- Redwood Empire Food Bank
The Eleventh Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival is supporting these same five nonprofits, and expects to increase the total amount donated to them to further support the artisan cheesemaking community and its sustainability.