Saturday, March 19, 2016

We are planning the 2017 Farm, Creamery and Artisan Tours, seminars, and NEW Cheesemaker Dinners now! Check back soon for details. Tickets for all events go ON SALE on January 1, 2017. 

8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Cheese Country Farm and Creamery Tours + Lunch

NEWLY EXPANDED TO SATURDAY! One of the most popular and coveted of events, the intimate Farm Tours are held at various local farms and creameries, giving visitors a glimpse into the important role of the farmer and where cheese gets its start.  Guests can taste the differences between cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses, tour area farms, watch cheese being made and learn about how an animal’s diet affects a cheese’s flavor. We have included a lunch stop into each of the tours and transportation will be provided to and from the Sheraton Hotel.  **Pack your boots and ice chest! Tours are rain or shine; no refunds will be given.

Farm Tour G: All in the Family – SOLD OUT!
Nicasio Valley Cheese Co, Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co, lunch at The Fork, Sonoma Portworks w/Cypress Grove Chevre

Start your morning with a taste of tradition at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. Since 1919, the Lafranchi family has been dairying on over 1,000 acres in Marin County. At their historic ranch, you’ll learn about the family’s rich history as local dairy farmers and their path to becoming the only organic farmstead cheesemakers in California! Visit the creamery, taste their award-winning farmstead cheeses, and take in a view that most of us can only dream about! Continue on to the coast where you’ll meet the Giacomini family of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Tour the picturesque dairy farm nestled among rolling hills overlooking Tomales Bay and learn about how cheesemaking lured the four Giacomini sisters back to the farm! Enjoy a multi-course lunch at The Fork, the culinary and educational event center on the farm, prepared by guest Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table in San Francisco, featuring cheeses from Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. During lunch, you’ll learn more about cooking with cheese, pairings, and the cheesemaking process. Finish your day on a sweet note at Sonoma Portworks with a tasting of unique California fortified wines paired with Cypress Grove Chevre at their tasting room in downtown Petaluma. (Ticket price is $135 per person)

Farm Tour H: Taste of Place – SOLD OUT!
Cowgirl Creamery, Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co, lunch at The Fork, Sonoma Aperitif

Viva la Revolution! You might think more about bearded men than cowgirls and cultured cream when you think about revolutions. These days, when images of artisan cheese are no stranger to Instagram feeds, it’s almost hard to imagine how radically different the cheese landscape was in 1997 when Cowgirl Creamery opened for business. Kick off your day with a visit and tasting at the original Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station where Peggy Smith and Sue Conley started their own artisan cheese revolution to help a local dairy farmer with a surplus of organic milk. Further up the coast, you’ll meet the Giacomini family of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Tour the picturesque dairy farm nestled among rolling hills overlooking Tomales Bay and learn about how cheesemaking lured the four Giacomini sisters back to the farm! Enjoy a multi-course lunch at The Fork, the culinary and educational event center on the farm, prepared by guest Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table in San Francisco, featuring cheeses from Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. During lunch, you’ll learn more about cooking with cheese, pairings, and the cheesemaking process. Finish your tour, or shall we say start your evening, at Sonoma Aperitif, founded in 2015 by Laura Hagar Rush. Learn about her California take on a centuries-old “Vin Maison” European tradition inspired by the bounty of local produce. Taste and toast these seasonal fruit-infused wines! (Ticket price is $135 per person)

 

Seminars, Education and Pairing Demonstrations

Join local industry experts, authors and cheesemakers for a variety of interactive experiences and tastings throughout the day at the Sheraton Sonoma County – Petaluma and the Cowgirl Creamery Warehouse, next to the Sheraton. Seminars include lunch from Petaluma Market under the big top at the Sheraton. Each Seminar is $75 per person. The seminar schedule is as follows:

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  Morning Session

Seminar 1: Sensory Perception and Understanding Your Palate – Morning Session
Presenters: by Lynne Devereux, Cheese Educator and owner of Butter Communications
Do you have “His” and “Hers” cheese at your house too?!  It’s normal – we promise!  We all taste and enjoy food differently.  Before we can truly understand the flavors in cheese, we need to understand our own palate.  In this unique session, Hanne Siversten, a food and flavor scientist from UC Davis Food Science & Technology department will guide you through a fascinating tasting experiment to identify your personal flavor thresholds for sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.  By sampling a variety of California Cheddars, you’ll learn how your unique thresholds make your favorite cheese taste so good and just how differently we experience flavor. (Ticket price is $75 per person)

Seminar 2: New CA Cheese and Wine: The Modern Movement – Morning Session – SOLD OUT
Presenters: Kirstin Jackson, Author of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese”
Dan Petroski, Winemaker, Massican and Larkmead Vineyards
California’s wine and cheese scene is at the height of deliciousness and sophistication, but things have changed dramatically since the founding dairy families cut their first curd and the grand families of California wine made their names with rich Cabernets. Oak no longer dominates the nose of a fine Chardonnay, and these days, recovering lawyers and dairy farmers are both starting up creameries. It’s an exciting time of adventure and exploration, but also a return to classic methods and ideas. Join “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese” author Kirstin Jackson and Massican and Larkmead winemaker Dan Petroski as they talk, taste, and pair today’s movers and shakers of the cheese and wine movement.  (Ticket price is $75 per person)

Seminar 3: Growing Flavor – Morning Session *Seminar Held at Cowgirl Creamery Warehouse in Petaluma (2080 Lakeville Highway in Petaluma) – SOLD OUT
Presenter: Peggy Smith and Sue Conley with members from Team Cowgirl
Why does cheese taste so good? You’ve probably asked yourself that question before (we know we have). Join Cowgirl Creamery co-founders, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, and members of their team at Cowgirl Creamery to discover how mild young cheese redolent of fresh milk is transformed into something deep and complex. The Cowgirls will demystify this seemingly magical flavor development and explain some of the most important factors responsible for this transformation, including milk characteristics, cultures, acidity levels, and rind development. You’ll taste cheeses at various ages, from brand spankin’ new to perfectly ripe, to see how and why flavors change dramatically throughout the life of a cheese. (Ticket price is $75 per person)

1:30 p.m. –  3:00 p.m.  Afternoon Session

Seminar 4: Farm to Table, Bean to Bar – Afternoon Session
Presenter: Laura Werlin, Author and Educator
Cheese and chocolate are unquestionably two of life’s greatest pleasures – but do they go together? James Beard award-winning author Laura Werlin will guide you through this mouth-watering philosophical question. Like the farm to table movement, the bean to bar movement has gained traction in recent years as more chocolatiers create their delectable treats from cocoa beans they’ve processed themselves from start to finish. Learn about the philosophy behind the budding bean to bar movement and its parallels with the American artisan cheese movement. Taste local examples from Tcho and Dandelion Chocolate and explore the principles behind pairing cheese and chocolate. You’ll never feel the need to choose between sweet and savory again! (Ticket price is $75 per person)

Seminar 5: Dubbel Down: Belgian-style Beer and Cheese – Afternoon Session
Presenter: Janet Fletcher, Author and Educator
Belgium might fly under the radar for cheese lovers, but it’s definitely at the center of the map for beer aficionados. Belgium celebrates an incredible diversity of beer styles and is a source of inspiration for many American craft brewers. Don’t speak Flemish (or French or German)? Don’t worry – Planet Cheese publisher Janet Fletcher will provide a primer on several Belgian styles, from fruity pale ales to trendy sours to potent, spicecake-scented quads, introducing you to the best Belgian-style beers made stateside. Taste each style alongside its perfect American cheesy partner and you’ll find out why Belgian-style beers are the best friends a cheese plate ever had! (Ticket price is $75 per person)

Seminar 6 – East Meets West: Pairing Sake and California Cheese – Afternoon Session *Held at Cowgirl Creamery Warehouse in Petaluma (2080 Lakeville Highway in Petaluma) -
Presenters: Emily Shartin, Cowgirl Creamery, ACS CCP, Chef Ken Tominaga, Chef/Owner Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pabu Izakaya, and Ramen Bar, Robert Bath, Master Sommelier
Cheese and sake are both traditional foods with rich cultural legacies. Surprised to see them matched up? Sweet or savory, earthy or floral, pasteurized or unpasteurized, sake and cheese have more in common than you might think. Both owe a great deal to lactic bacteria and fermentation and showcase a stunningly diverse range of flavors, which play together beautifully. Join Ken Tominaga, chef-owner of three acclaimed Bay Area restaurants, Master Sommelier Robert Bath, and Emily Shartin, of Cowgirl Creamery, as they break down the secrets of pairing products from both sides of the Pacific. They’ll delight you with the unexpected marrying of California cheeses and hand-selected Japanese sake in this not-to-be-missed session. (Tickets price is $75 per person)

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

California Cheesin’ — We Do It Our Whey! (Under the Big Top – Sheraton Sonoma County – Petaluma)
In celebration of a decade of California’s Artisan Cheese Festival, guests are invited to taste their way around this evening celebration of California cheese, sampling dishes from some of the Bay Area’s best chefs and caterers. Each chef will incorporate their favorite locally made cheese into an impressive dish for attendees who will then cast their vote for their favorite dish. The winner will be announced on-site during this lively and festive competition and there will also be a special tribute to some of the icons of California’s artisan cheese industry. Artisan wines, beers and ciders will be on hand to complement each dish, and live music and a photo booth will add to the jovial atmosphere. (Ticket price is $75 per person)