Monday, March 26, 2012

Cheese, Wine, and Crackers at the Petaluma Cheese Fest

By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov

With the rapid advance and appreciation of the artisan cheese production, there was no wonder that the 6th Annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival last weekend attracted eager crowds of cheese (but also wine, beer, and chocolate) lovers.
The Friday-Sunday celebration of handcrafted cheeses and supporting foods and beverages closed with the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace in a grand tent at Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma.

Before the Marketplace, Sunday brunch with cooking demos for cheesemakers and their fans was organized and prepared by the Relish Culinary Adventures and Zazu Restaurant and Farm’s chef Duskie Estes with the kitchen preparations by Executive Chef Danny Mai and his team of Sheraton Sonoma County.

On the menu, aptly called, “Bacon, Bubbles and Brunch” sponsored by Clover Stornetta Farms, there were 2007 Iron Horse Vineyards Wedding Cuvee for bubbles, and for bacon – Black Pig bacon in corn bread and also in soufflĂ© and asparagus dish, made with Bellwether Farms cheese. For dessert, baked turnovers were made with Laura Chenel’s chevre. Other artisans whose products were introduced at the brunch, included Beehive Cheese Co., Redwood Hill Farm and Creamery, and

At the Marketplace that immediately followed brunch, all these and other producers were showing off their wares.

The festival guests were meeting face to face with dozens of cheese producers and vendors, restaurant chefs, winemakers, brewers, and tasting their multiple offerings.
The event showcased the amazing range of cheese-centric opportunities.
Pairing cheese with wine is nothing new, but now there are some cheese and beer pairings, as well as cheese and olive oils, and cheese and artisan breads, pastries, and crackers.

Cheese is also excellent with all kinds of jams and sauces. A special selection of wine jellies was introduced by Les Vignobles to be used for hors d’oeuvres and desserts alike.
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