Sunday, March 21, 2010

Say Cheese!

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

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.

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!

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.

Written by Linzi

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dinner at the Source

Farm to Table is a pretty hot topic these days. The term is thrown around quite frequently in the restaurant world. At it's core, it means sourcing locally grown, farm-fresh fare. But there is so much more to it than that. No one quite exemplifies all that Farm to Table implies better than Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding in the Field. His mission is to "re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and artisans who cultivate it." Well said. And just how does he do this? Through roving farm dinners of course!

Outstanding in the Field moves throughout the United States (and soon to be Europe) setting up long tables on farms, ranches and other culinary locations, where amazing meals are served to a group of eager diners. The meals are made from locally grown ingredients and feature celebrated chefs in the region where the meal is hosted.

The 2010 schedule will be posted shortly and there are definitely stops in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. We haven't had a chance to try a dinner out ourselves but we will most definitely be making it a priority when they next come to town.

More information can be found online at