Food indulgences are a good thing, as long as they are kept in check. My food indulgence is cheese. And it’s not always so easy to keep it in check. I love nothing more than saddling up to the cheese counter at my local grocery store and picking out a good sized portion of some exotic and smelly cheese “just to munch on” while I’m making dinner. Although my husband will indulge in a few bites, it’s usually me that takes down the entire hunk of cheese before my meal.
So of course, I love living in Northern California where we are blessed to have many great local cheese makers coming up with wonderful creations in our backyard. From the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness of Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam triple-cream to the mild and creamy Point Reyes blue cheese, there is something for everyone.
This week, the 4th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival kicks off in Petaluma. The event includes educational seminars and tastings and a Sunday marketplace where you can purchase cheese directly from the makers. Local wineries and artisan food companies will also be showcasing their products. It should be a great event. You can buy tickets online at www.artisancheesefestival.com.
Some Favorite Local Cheese Producers
Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes Station) – since 1997, Cowgirl Creamery has been making delicious organic cheese from their coastal creamery. Co-founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith focused on making delicious, artisan cheese in an environmentally friendly way from the start and they have continued to do so as they have grown their business. My favorite is the Mt. Tam triple-cream made with organic milk from Straus Family Dairy. www.cowgirlcreamery.com
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company (Point Reyes) – The Giacomini family has a history of artisan cheese making that began in Italy over 100 years ago. Since 2000, the family has been making their Original Blue™ from their Point Reyes dairy. It’s mild, creamy and delicious! www.pointreyescheese.com
Bellwether Farms (Sonoma) – this family-owned artisan cheese producer makes several mouthwatering cheeses from their Sonoma farm. If you are looking for something soft, creamy and perfect for spreading on a cracker, go with the Crescenza. For something with a little more bite, go with Pepato, a semi-soft cheese made with whole peppercorns. www.bellwethercheese.com
Written by Linzi