Seminars, Cheesemaking Classes, Cooking and Pairing Demonstrations
Join local industry experts, chefs and cheesemakers for a variety of interactive seminars and demos throughout the day at the Sheraton Sonoma County, Petaluma. Seminars include lunch. Cheesemaking classes are $95, all others are $65. The seminar schedule is as follows:
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Morning Session
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Session
MORNING SESSION – 9:30am to 11:30am
Seminar No. 1: What’s Up with That Rind?
Presenter: Janet Fletcher, Food Writer & Educator
Cheese rinds tell a story—a tale of local microflora, culture, cellar handling and cheesemaker vision. In this seminar, San Francisco Chronicle cheese columnist Janet Fletcher will lead you on a guided tour of the rind kingdom. You will taste cheeses with a wide variety of rinds, learn how the rinds developed and what they tell you. The seminar will explore the difficult decisions cheese makers face when transforming milk into cheese; one of the key decisions being the type of rind they choose for their cheese. The presence or absence of a rind, and the type of rind, has a major influence on how the cheese will develop. This class includes Sampling. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 2: MELT!
Presenter: Laura Werlin, Author & Educator
When you think of the words gooey, messy, and delicious, the words “melted cheese” can’t be far behind. In this seminar, these words will be front and center as melted cheese aficionado and author Laura Werlin takes you on a gustatory journey of cheesy goodness and wine pairing. You’ll taste grilled cheese, mac & cheese, and of course, cheese all on its own, along with specially selected wines chosen by Laura to go with each cheesy bite. As fun as this is, it’s also a great opportunity to learn about new cheeses and taste some new recipes for old-fashioned favorites. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 3: Terroir de Sonoma: Exploring the Unique Flavors and Attitudes of Sonoma Beer and Cheese
Presenters: Rich Higgins, Master Cicerone, Brewmaster and Consultant a la Biere.
Terroir is the French term for how a food or beverage expresses a sense of place. Often used in reference to wine, terroir can be expressed by craft beer as well. Sonoma County is rich in agriculture, micro climates, and character, and its breweries and dairies embrace Sonoma’s local flavors, ingredients, and attitudes. Join Master Cicerone Rich Higgins and Certified Cheese Professional Michael Landis as they delve into delicious beer and cheese pairings that illustrate the concept of terroir. Together you will taste and celebrate the flavors and uniqueness of Sonoma County. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 4: **SOLD OUT** Cheese Making – Italian Style
Presenter: Bob Peak, Co-Owner, The Beverage People
In this hands-on session learn how to make mozzarella at home. If you’ve experienced the refined taste and texture of freshly made mozzarella, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to recreate in your own kitchen. Presented by avid home cheese makers from The Beverage People in Santa Rosa – a retailer of cultures, molds, tools and all supplies for home cheese making – the class will begin with whole milk, show production and stretching of mozzarella curds, and finish with cheese for sampling. You will learn about milk, curd formation, separating curds from whey, and finishing the cheese. After class, you will have the know-how to wow your family and friends with this subtle, elegant and iconic Italian cheese! $95.00 per person.
Seminar No. 5: Historic Cider and Honest Cheese
Presenter: Sheana Davis, Chef, Cheese Maker, Educator, Owner, The Epicurean Connection
Sonoma County’s long history of apple and dairy farming inspired this fun and enlightening seminar and tasting. Sheana will introduce your palate to a wide range of regional craft cider styles that pair perfectly with our superlative artisan cheese. The same rolling green hills that are home to our cows, sheep and goats are crowned with regional iconic apple orchards – proving once again that “what grows together, goes together”! $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 6: Spicing it Up
Presenters: Gianaclis Caldwell, Author and Owner of Pholia Farm
For many, cheese is a blank canvas for expressing a more colorful palette, one that also pleases the epicurean palate. Through the thoughtful introduction of other ingredients and treatments, cheese’s natural flavor can be expanded upon and enhanced. In this session you’ll learn the secrets of adding flavors to cheese including infusions, smoking, marinating, and adding seeds and herbs. The class will include a tasting of several examples of delicious flavor-added cheeses. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 7: A Cheese History of the World
Presenter: Judy Creighton, American Cheese Society, Certified Cheese Professional
Deepen your appreciation of today’s artisan cheeses by learning the history that led up to them! Take a tour through time by tasting a selection of bloomy, washed-rind, tome, alpine, grana, and blue cheeses specially chosen from a selection of milks and terroirs. We’ll explore how cheeses developed and became specialized through historical events by tasting eight cheeses from past ages to today’s extraordinary artisans. We’ll also learn how cheese adapted to and created cultural diversity while developing enormous varieties of styles and flavors. This session is presented by a Certified Cheese Professional who loves both cheese and history! $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 16: A Tale of Two Milksheds: Tasting the Cheeses of Tomales Bay and Driftless with the Cowgirls Presenters: Peggy Smith and Sue Conley
The standard definition of milkshed is “a region producing milk for a specific community.” When cheesemakers operate in a cluster, collaborating with each other, and with other producers in the area who make on-farm goods, they might consolidate shipping or share a table at a farmers’ market, reducing costs and improving efficiencies. This cooperation significantly increases the individual producer’s chance of success. It can also call attention to the region as an important agricultural area, with a personality, geography and flavor unique in the world. In the world of artisan cheese makers, the concept of milkshed is this and so much more. Join Peggy Smith and Sue Conley, co-owners of Cowgirl Creamery as they explore this concept with a tasting of cheeses from two milksheds – Tomales Bay (California) and the Driftless (Wisconsin).
AFTERNOON SESSION – 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Seminar No. 8: California’s Artisan Foods Throw-down – Counties Battle for Bragging Rights!
Presenter: California’s Rock Star Artisan Cheesemakers
California’s best cheese making regions are also home to stellar, award winning, non-dairy artisan products. Wine, beer, cider, premium proteins, condiments created from vibrant local artisan producers…the list is unending, the quality, legend. Get up close and personal with your favorite cheese makers as they introduce you to the tastes and stories behind their own nominees – their culinary compadres who make THEIR region dominate. Of course, you will be tasting their cheese alongside these artisan foods and beverages, so expect a delicious, passionate clash. You get to vote for the region that will be crowned Ultimate Culinary Throw-down Champion! $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 9: Explore Pinots and Their Cheese Companions
Presenter: Laura Werlin, Author & Educator; Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier
In wine-speak, when you see the word “pinot,” you probably think of Pinot Noir. But there’s more to the pinot world than that. Join Cheese Author and Enthusiast Laura Werlin and extraordinary Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser as they take you on a cheese and pinot pairing journey. You’ll taste pinots in the form of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir, and all will be matched up with mind-blowing cheese companions. After this, you’ll likely never look at the word “pinot” the same way again. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 10: Cheese & Beer: Strategies for Harmony
Presenter: Janet Fletcher, Food Writer & Educator
You can take a random walk down the beer aisle to find brews for your favorite cheeses, or you can boost your success rate with a strategy. Join Janet Fletcher, author of Cheese & Beer, in this guided tasting of seven styles of cheese with the beers that love them. You’ll learn what cheeses to pair with malty stouts, hoppy ales, strong Belgian-style beers, trendy sour ales and more. With these insights into the harmony of curds and suds, you’re primed for a lifetime of pleasure. This is a skill-building session. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the affinities between beer and cheese and how to make pleasing matches. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 11: Make Moldy Cheese with The San Francisco Milk Maid
Presenter: Louella Hill, The San Francisco Milk Maid
Ready to prove your cheese infatuation? On the brink of a family cow? Want to jump past the usual, more introductory cheesemaking lessons for ricotta and quick mozzarella? If so, this ‘cheese-lovers’ cheesemaking class is for you. In it, we’ll make our own truly moldy, truly delicious wheels of Stilton-style blue cheese. Under the guidance of cheesemaker Louella Hill (SF Milk Maid), learn which cultures to use, why blue cheeses differ from one another and finally, how to transform fresh milk into something aged and complex. All participants will take home a mini wheel of cheese for several weeks of ‘home affiange. Participants will be encouraged to post their aging adventures via The CA Artisan Cheese Festival Facebook page, allowing others to follow and comment on the process as well. $95.00 per person
Seminar No. 12: The Perfect Bite – Food and Beer Pairing
Presenters: Sarah Dvorak, Founder/Co-Owner, Mission Cheese (San Francisco) and Cheese Missionary; Oliver Dameron, Co-Owner, Mission Cheese and Certified Cicerone
Beer and cheese have a long and illustrious past. Belgium monks found the two to be a natural pair, and we couldn’t agree more. The artisan productions of both cheese and beer are experiencing and inspiring renaissance in the United States – and lucky for us, California is at the forefront of the movement crafting remarkable examples of both. Join Mission Cheese founders, Oliver Dameron and Sarah Dvorak for a dynamic session of beer and cheese pairing philosophies. Then put your palate to work. We will pair four beers and four California cheeses and layer on some accoutrement for the perfect bite. Experience the synergism and magic of the dynamic duo – the beer and the cheese, the Sarah and the Oliver! $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 13: Beautiful Bubbles and Artisan Jewels
Presenter: Colette Hatch, Madame de Fromage, Oliver’s Markets
What is more indulgent and elegant that the pairing of a California sparkling wine and a brilliant artisan cheese? This seminar is more that just hedonistic imbibing. Respected food and wine expert Colette Hatch, aka Madame de Fromage, will discuss each cheese’s cultivation, history and flavor characteristics as well as make suggestions for pairing with the best of California’s bubblies and give you the opportunity to try those pairings for yourself. $65.00 per person.
Seminar No. 14: Basics and Classics, Always the Best
Presenter: Gianaclis Caldwell, Author and Owner of Pholia Farm
Some of the easiest cheeses to make are also the most versatile and delicious. In thishands-on session you will learn how to quickly whip up ricotta, Paneer, and mascarpone. While these classics may seem very different, they are all in the same family and can be mastered easily and ready to use quickly. You will also learn how to use some novel ingredients to make the ricotta, how to fry and freeze paneer, and why mascarpone might just be “the new butter.” $95.00 per person.
Seminar No. 15: Cheese All Ways, (Fondue Too!)
Presenter: Leah McFadden, ACS Certified Cheese Professional and Whole Foods Markets Cheese Specialist
Leah McFadden, ACS Certified Cheese Professional and Whole Foods Markets cheese specialist, will show you, wedge by wedge, how to expand your cheese repertoire beyond the usual cheese course or appetizer platter. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, cheese, glorious cheese, can be the centerpiece of any meal with the right recipes, attitude and accompaniments. Leah will even demonstrate two fun fondue recipes that will get you dusting off those forgotten fondue pots – “retro” has never been so delicious! $65.00 per person.
EVENING SESSION – 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Grand Cheese Tasting and Best in Cheese Competition
This popular roaming feast showcases top local Bay Area chefs using artisan cheeses in a variety of dishes from sweet to savory. More than 20 top restaurants, caterers, wineries and breweries and will vie for your affection to will cast your vote for them at this lighthearted competition of all things cheese. From soufflés to sandwiches, guests can expect to experience artisan cheese in ways they’ve never had before at this gastronomic showdown. $75 per person.