Cheese Lovers rejoice! Registration is now open for the 23rd annual California Artisan Cheese Festival
. The Festival is a nonprofit organization with the mission of educating people who want to learn more about artisan cheese and support the artisan cheesemaking community and its sustainability. It also promotes celebration and enjoyment of the creations of artisan cheesemakers.
Are you in??
Here is a little more info. The festival starts on Friday, March 23rd 2018 with the Artisan tours. These intimate Friday tours to various local farms, creameries and artisan purveyors are some of the most popular and coveted events of the weekend. They are always the first to sell out. Get an “up close and personal” view into the meaningful and critical role farmers and producers play in the rich northern California agricultural tradition. Meet the people behind the stellar local food and beverage scene. Be prepared for generous tastings and in-depth discussions with industry experts.
Details of each tour can be found on the California Artisan Cheese Guild website
and Tour F - “Tradition and Innovation” will include lunch at McEvoy Ranch where you will tour the beautiful ranch that is home to both award-winning Tuscan-style organic olive oil and estate wines.
Friday night will present "The Best Bite - A Tribute to First Responders". Cheesemakers, Chefs and Cheesemongers share the stage with California’s First Responders. Meet our local heroes who risked their lives during California’s destructive fires as they take on the role of judges during this light- hearted, energetic competition to see who can create the best bite using California artisan cheese.
Saturday brings a day of seminars and pairing and cooking demonstrations presented by some of the industry's most knowledgeable experts, chefs, cheesemakers, cicerones, authors and more. Saturday night ends with the cheese lover’s ultimate cocktail party.
Sunday starts with Bubbles and Brunch followed by the Artisan Marketplace. The Marketplace is truly a banquet for the senses with more than 100 artisan cheese and food producers, winemakers, brewers and chefs who will offer their hand crafted products for tasting. Taste, sip and explore.
Now are you in???
I am a major cheese lover myself and am always excited to celebrate our local producers. I would like to share a simple recipe that celebrates cheese. These cheese straws are delightful served with McEvoy Ranch tapenades
and the little kick of heat allows them to pair beautifully with the Bonfiglio Viognier blend
. The tropical fruit flavors and slightly lower acidity make the flavors sing.
Cheese Straws are always present at a Southern cocktail party. They are a hit at any party for that matter. I ran into this recipe on the Smitten Kitchen website where she sourced it from a Southern cookbook. These nibbles are seriously delicious.
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
- 1 - 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
- 3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half (I used cream, because I had it on hand; suspect milk would work just as well)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.
4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days. They will not last an hour at a party.