CHEESING AROUND? It can be such an ambrosial affair, one that sends you to flavorful realms. Cheese tastings, after all, not only feature many of the classics, from cheddars to goudas to various soft cheeses, but they can introduce even the most advanced cheese-o-logist to new ingredient combos and fresh textures. Alas?
SAMPLE-PACKED TASTINGS... have a way of ending too soon, and they very often only occur over a single afternoon or evening hour. There are notable exceptions, like the weekend-long California Artisan Cheese Festival, which includes pairing demos, farm tours, and lots more, in addition to all of that sublime cheesiness you get to try. But even a two-day to-do is too short, if you're really super-duper into spreadable, hunkable dairy bliss. What to do? There's an answer, and it is called...
CALIFORNIA ARTISAN CHEESE WEEK: It's new, new, new, and while it won't be centered solely around Santa Rosa, where the festival is located, it will cover a wide swath over a wide swath of days: March 16 through the 24th. That means it starts about a week earlier than the festival, which begins on March 23. Where to go? Winery tasting rooms, independent grocers, and a whole bunch of eateries found through Sonoma and Marin Counties. Discounts on interesting pairings, cheese-themed menus, and more dairy-riffic doings will pop up at area businesses.
WHERE TO FIND THOSE BUSINESSES? Starting here is a plan that's as solid as blue cheese is piquant. Also solid? Stretching out the delicious joy that is the festival weekend to a week-plus, all around Sonoma and Marin Counties. Hooray to that, a new plan that feels like a forever plan.