.Food & Drink: Wine and cheese, if you please

Vintage vino and artisan cheeses abound at tasting tour and festival

by Tanya Henry

It was on a trip to Vermont in the early 1990s when I fell madly and deeply in love with cheese. Visits to dairies, meeting cheesemakers and discovering flavors and textures that bore zero resemblance to the yellow, tasteless blocks sold on supermarket shelves had me convinced that I should never leave the Green Mountain State, and instead become a cheesemaker on a Vermont dairy farm. But alas I did return to California, and much to my relief, producers like Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station and Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata, along with enthusiastic and knowledgeable cheesemongers, have only deepened my appreciation and yes, love for all things cheese.

SAY CHEESE Now is your chance! No need to fly to Vermont or France—California’s Artisan Cheese Festival is coming to us! Cheesemakers, cheesemongers, teachers, chefs and industry experts will converge from March 20-22 for farm tours, seminars, tastings and more. With more than two dozen cheesemakers participating, you will have the unique opportunity to sample a multitude of different styles and flavors of artisan cheeses all in one place. Don’t miss this experience—it just might change your life! The event will be hosted by the Sheraton Sonoma County Hotel in Petaluma. For more tickets and information, visit www.artisancheesefestival.com.

SAVOR SONOMA Say yes to the grape! Are you overdue for a wine-tasting trip to our famous nearby wine country? Join the fun at Savor Sonoma Valley on Saturday, March 21 through Sunday, March 22, from 11am to 4pm. Here’s how it works: You need to select one of the more than 20 participating wineries (members of the Heart of the Sonoma Valley Winery Association) as a “Check-In” winery. Once you select your proposed visits, you are on your way. Wineries will be showcasing 2014 vintage wines straight from the barrels, sampling new releases and offering award-winning wines paired with culinary creations prepared by local chefs and restaurants. Meet winemakers, go behind the scenes and enjoy creations from local artists while you listen to live music. Advance ticket sales and a $5 discount end on Friday, March 20 at 3pm. Tickets will also be available at the door of all participating wineries. For more information, visit www.heartofsonomavalley.com.

FAIRFAX IN THE FALL For as long as I can remember, the awkward strip at 2001 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. that was once a gas station has been boarded up and surrounded by a metal fence. But if things go as planned, Fairfax residents Brian Back and his wife Elizabeth hope to open The Station, a full-service, family-friendly cafè, in the fall of this year. They still need approval from the planning commission, but once they get a green light, plans for construction should begin in July. “We plan to cater to cyclists,” explains Brian, who says that the menu will include good coffee, healthy options and barbeque. The Backs’ plan to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with plenty of outdoor seating in what he refers to as the “meadow,” sounds ambitious. But if it all pans out, The Station could become an oasis of calm amidst this busy intersection of traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. For more information, visit www.stationmarin.com.

Share your hunger pains with Tanya at [email protected]

Pacific Sun
The Pacific Sun publishes every Wednesday, delivering 21,000 copies to 520 locations throughout Marin County.


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