California Artisan Cheese Festival: Time for Tickets

Tickets for the 2018 cheese-tacular went on sale on Monday, Jan. 1. Derrick Story

WHAT'S THE CHEESIEST DAY OF THE YEAR? We're not talking in terms of corniness or of overly sentimental moments, though such occurrences do happen in every life. Nor are we talking about official food holidays, like National Cheese Pizza Day (Sept. 5) or National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5). We're talking about times when people straight up gobble a lot of creamy triangles and tangy dips and bowls of cheddar-type nibbles. Christmas is probably a good candidate for this, given all of the snacks and appetizers that often proceed the big meal, and New Year's Eve, with its fancy appetizers and frequently seen fondue, also qualifies. Which means this: Come the end-of-the-year holidays, a lot of people are in a highly cheesy mood, having consumed a variety of dairy products in recent days. So the fact that tickets for the California Artisan Cheese Festival will go on sale on New Year's Day makes tangy, creamy, and beautiful sense, as an air of cheeseness is already pervading many lives. If the annual springtime meet-up of California's craft-major cheese pros tempts you, best land on a ticket beginning on...

MONDAY, JAN. 1: That was the on-sale date for the 2018 affair, which sets out the crackers and toothpick'd cubes from Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The Santa Rosa spectacular draws about 2,500 people ready to find their next favorite cheesemaker or author or brewer or all of the above. Ah, yes, libations make an appearance, so plan on sipping a chard as you try a host of gooey goat cheesery or a slice of something that's both peppery and jacky, simultaneously. There are also separately ticketed farm and creamery tours to consider, and demonstrations, too, in addition to the popular Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace. For all of the events, and what you can expect to find over the first spring weekend in Santa Rosa, unhand that cheese spreader and breadstick and take a quick look. Maybe New Year's Day is one of the cheesiest days of the year, but we'll call the fourth weekend in March a flavorful contender.