Cheese lovers, mark your calendars.
The California Artisan Cheese Festival arrives March 26, 2023. Sonoma County Fairgrounds will host, and tickets are now on sale.
As always expect all things cheese including seminars, demonstrations, pairings, and a cheese crawl (The Barlow in Sebastopol), farm and cheese producer tours. See below for more details and the full schedule.
Organizers say that this edition marks the first time since 2019 that the Festival will host three whole days of cheese tasing.
“We are incredibly fortunate to be able to offer support and recognition for our amazing local cheesemaking community with the return of the California Artisan Cheese Festival, which has become one of the country’s most anticipated annual events for cheese lovers and foodies,” said Judy Groverman Walker, Event Producer for the California Artisan Cheese Festival. “And because of the tough circumstances over the last few years, we are extremely grateful that we can come back and give folks the opportunity to safely attend three days of beloved events while supporting California farmers and cheesemakers who have had a tough go of it throughout the pandemic.”
WHAT’S HAPPENING // FOOD & WINE
California Artisan Cheese Festival
March 24-26, 2023
Sonoma County Fairgrounds
Social Media: @CAArtisanCheeseFestival
California Artisan Cheese Week
March 18-26, 2023
Various locations throughout Sonoma and Marin Counties
In the week leading up to the California Artisan Cheese Festival, cheese aficionados can expect to find special cheese-focused dishes and menus at some of their favorite local restaurants, tasting rooms, and businesses around the state for the second annual California Artisan Cheese Week. These businesses will be showing support for their favorite cheesemakers and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite standbys and discover new artisan cheeses in creative dishes, impressive cheese plates, special discounts, unique pairings and more.
Producer & Farm Tours
Friday, March 24, 2023
Various Locations around Marin and Sonoma Counties and beyond
These fan-favorite intimate tours to various farms, creameries and artisan producers are some of the most popular events of the weekend, giving visitors a glimpse into the important role of the farmer and where cheese gets it start. Guests will be guided on behind-the-scenes walking tours where they can learn how cheese and other artisan products are made, meet the producers, farmers, animals and cheesemakers behind their favorite local products and, of course, taste the fruits of their labor.
Seminars and Pairing Demos
Saturday, March 25, 2023
11a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1 to 2:15 p.m.
Various Locations around Santa Rosa and Windsor]
Through a variety of interactive seminars and demos, cheese lovers have the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s most knowledgeable experts, chefs and cheesemakers. Seminars will all take place at wineries, and will touch on topics including cheese and wine pairings, building cheese and charcuterie cones, and tasting cheese with chocolates. Each seminar location also features a special add on for guests who want to stay a little longer and enjoy their wines or participate in other tasting experiences.
Cheese Crawl at The Barlow
Saturday, March 25, 2023
4 to 6 p.m.
The Barlow in Sebastopol
Guests 21 and over only; rain or shine
Cheesemakers, restaurants, breweries and distilleries will come together for this light-hearted yet energetic night of discovery featuring California artisan cheese at different businesses throughout The Barlow. Each stop will host a cheesemaker offering samples to be paired with their partner food or beverage purveyor including regional artisan wine, cider, spirits and beer. This interactive and lively night of great cheesy nibbles culminates in a raffle where two lucky guests will win tickets to the 2024 Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace. Everyone is encouraged to bring their appetites to this not-to-be-missed event.
Bubbles + Bites + Early Entry to the Marketplace
Sunday, March 26, 2023
9:45 to 10:45 a.m.
Showcase Café, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
Bubbles + Bites is the perfect way to start a Sunday full of tasting. Enjoy light breakfast bites featuring local sparkling wine and some insider tips from local radio personality and cheese enthusiast Clark Wolf. Clark and a special surprise guest chef will discuss tips and techniques on how to shop the Marketplace, and also how to use, pair and enjoy all of the fabulous products that complement the amazing cheeses and beverages that can be found at the Marketplace. Tickets include a festival logo glass and early entry into the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace at 11 a.m. before it opens to the public at 12 p.m.
Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace
Sunday, March 26, 2023
12 to 4 p.m.
Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds
1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa
The California Artisan Cheese Festival is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Its first event was held in 2007. Per the email announcement, since that time the organization has donated “more than $165,000 in grants to non-profit partners that support local sustainable agriculture including the California Artisan Cheese Guild.”
Look for the 47th annual California Artisan Cheese Festival across Sonoma County from March 24-26, 2023.