Santa Rosa

Cheese Is the Theme at This Flavorful Festival

The California Artisan Cheese Festival, our state's "premier cheese festival," returns to Santa Rosa in May.

Derek Cooper Photography Inc

THE FOODIE FOCUS: At just about every meal, gourmet gathering, food festival, or cuisine convention, there is a definite focus, a vibe, if you like, the sort of central idea to the event, eating experience, or reason for getting together. Citrus might be a springtime thing at a particular party, while desserts might reign at another affair. But when "cheese" is in the name of your happening, you can make a good guess, or perhaps a Gouda guess, as to the theme: It's going to be all about the delicious dairy delight, that spreadable superstar, that hunk-it-up happiness that so many of us count among our most favorite foods ever.

AND THAT HAPPENING? It's the California Artisan Cheese Festival, "California's premier cheese festival," and it will spend May 7 applauding some of the Golden State's best artisans of American goat cheese, garlicky curds, zesty blues, cheerful cheddars, and some of the bespoke-est bites ever to emerge on the state's snacking scene. And while these acclaimed cheesemakers will certainly occupy the circle of praise, guests at the festival will also be winners, thanks to the fact that trying all sorts of interesting triangles, dippables, melty goodies, and chunks o' joy is the main thrust of this eat-around extravaganza.

TWO-YEAR HIATUS: The festival was canceled in 2020, and took 2021 off due to pandemic considerations, so count on the 2022 return to be especially celebratory. The Grace Pavilion and Shade Park at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa are the festival's hubs, beloved cheesehouses will be in appetizing attendance (think Laura Chenel, Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove, and several other gems), and "over 60 award-winning cheeses, wines, ciders, beers and other artisan products" may be nibbled/sipped at the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace. Tickets? You'll want yours soon.

WELCOME BACK: "The Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace offers a very special opportunity to taste, sip, savor and purchase delectable cheeses, and products that complement cheese, all in one place," said Judy Groverman Walker, Event Producer of the California Artisan Cheese Festival. "We are excited to be back in-person this year and featuring so many local favorites and over a dozen new purveyors." To check out all of the foodie favorites set to attend, visit the festival site now.

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