Artisan Cheese Festival

Written By: Admin
Published: March 29, 2012

The United States premier artisan cheese event, the 6th Annual Californias Artisan Cheese Festival, has announced this years roster of talent leading seminars and workshops slated for Saturday, March 24, 2012. The weekend-long Festival takes place March 23-25, 2012, and brings together artisan cheesemakers, chefs, brewers, master sommeliers, wineries and passionate guests for three days of touring, tasting and learning about American artisan cheese.

Every year tickets to the Saturday seminars and workshops are a hot commodity. Guests have face-to-face access to the experts who work with and create some of the countrys most award-winning artisan cheeses. Joining the speaker lineup for the 2012 event are:
Laura Werlin award-winning author and lecturer, Laura will be leading the Grilled Cheese, Please! seminar as well as Cheese Essentials, Wine Essentials with Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser. An expert in American artisan cheese, Laura received the prestigious James Beard award for her book“The All American Cheese and Wine Book,” which was the first of its kind to focus entirely on cheese and wine pairing. Her “Laura Werlins Cheese Essentials” book won a prestigious James Beard award nomination. Her “Great Grilled Cheese”and “Grilled Cheese, Please!” books are odes to the Worlds favorite heart warming comfort food.

Tim Gaiser master sommelier and internationally-renowned wine expert and lecturer will lead the Cheese Essentials, Wine Essentials Seminar with Laura Werlin. Tim is one of 175 individuals worldwide to ever attain the elite Master Sommelier wine title and is currently the Director of Education for the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. He is also an adjunct professor for the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. Tim has written about wine for a number of publications including Fine Cooking Magazine and Sommelier Journal.

Janet Fletcher author and co-author of more than 20 books on food and wine and San Francisco Chronicle columnist on cheese will be leading theNotable Newbies from the Left Coast Seminar and the California Craft Brews and the Cheeses That Love Them Seminar with Adam Dulye. Some of Janets many books include “Cheese & Wine, The Cheese Course”and “Fresh from the Farmers Market.” She writes a weekly cheese column for the San Francisco Chronicle and is a former staff food writer whose journalism earned three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award. Her writing on wine and food has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Saveur, Bon Apptit, Fine Cookingand Food & Wine.

Mary Karlin cooking teacher, cookbook author and freelance food writer will be leading the Cheese Making Workshop: Simple, Fresh Same-Day Cheeses and Cheese Making Workshop: Fresh Cultured Cheeses Seminars. She was a founding staff member and is currently a visiting chef-instructor at the award-winning Ramekins Culinary School in Sonoma, Calif., where she has taught wood-fired cooking, cheese making, and Mediterranean-themed cooking classes for more than ten years. She has published two books, “Wood-Fired Cooking” and “Artisan Cheese Making at Home.” Mary is also a regular chef-instructor locally at The Fork at Point Reyes, The Cheese School of San Francisco, and Relish Culinary Center in Healdsburg, Calif., as well as prominent culinary venues around the United States.

Jill Silverman Hough cookbook author, food and wine writer, recipe developer and culinary instructor, Jill will be demonstratingGreat Cheese Go-Withs. Jill is the author of “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love” and “100Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love.” Jill is the recipe developer for the New York Times bestseller cookbook “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.” Her freelance articles and recipes have been featured in Bon Apptit, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking and Napa Sonoma magazines.

Peg Smith and Sue Conley the co-founders and genius inspiration behind the award winning Cowgirl Creamery, Peg and Sue will be conducting The Cheesemaker and The Chef: Milks Mysteries Explored from the Creamery and into the Kitchen. Founded 14 years ago in Point Reyes Station, the heart of Californias premier dairy region, Cowgirl Creamery is considered a pioneer in the American artisan cheese movement. Cowgirl Creamery’s retail outlet at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza and their wholesale business Tomales Bay Foods have proven to be important links between small-scale cheesemakers and urban consumers, helping to stabilize fragile rural economies.

Adam Dulye owner and executive chef of San Franciscos hottest gastro-pub, The Monks Kettle, Adam will be co-leading California Craft Brews and the Cheeses That Love Them with Janet Fletcher. Prior to moving to the Bay Area last January, Adam was a Culinary Arts Instructor at the Culinary School of the Rockiesin Boulder, Colorado and was the executive chef of Manor Vail Resort. Adam is a passionate supporter of locally and organically farmed produce, free-range meats, sustainable seafood, and artisan breads and cheeses. Preserving our local farms and businesses is vitally important to Adam.

Bob Peak partner at family owned and operated retail and mail-order store, The Beverage People, will be leading the hands on workshop Cheesemaking: Two Italian-Style Cheeses Mozzarella and Ricotta. Bob began working with the Beverage People in 2003 after serving as General Manager at Vinquiry, a well-known Sonoma County wine laboratory for three and a half years. In addition to wine, he expanded his hobbies to brewing and, later, cheesemaking. Bob enjoys making the quick and fresh cheeses like mozzarella, paneer and fromage blanc, and is especially proud of his own recipe for a cheese he calls Petaluma Blue.

Clark Wolf author, hospitality consultant and cheese educator, Clark will be moderating the panel discussion Northern California Growing a Cheese Region for the Future. The panel is comprised of representatives from award-winning cheesemakers – Jennifer Bice (Redwood Hill Farm), Jill Giacomini Basch (Pt. Reyes Farmstead), Charles Willard (Laura Chenels Chevre) and Mary Keehn (Cypress Grove Chevre). In 1976 Clark opened a cheese and wine shop at the base of Nob Hill in San Francisco then went on to become the Cheese Department Manager at the legendary Oakville Grocery. There he introduced such industry leaders as Laura Chenel Chevre. Since that time he has helped to launch the American Cheese Society, serving as a judge at their annual conferences twice, and founded the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Clark also authored the much-loved guide to the US cheese scene, “American Cheeses.” Clark is the president of his own restaurant and food business consulting firm, Clark Wolf Company, and appears on radio and television and writes for numerous publications.
Michael D. Landis cheese educator, writer and merchandising manager of ANCO Fine Cheese, Michael will lead The Hows and Whys of Fermented Foods.Michael has more than 25 years of experience as an educator conducting wine, beer, food and cheese pairing classes at cooking schools, vineyards, breweries and distributors throughout the world. He participated as a World Cheese Judge for the 2010 and 2011 World Cheese Awards in Birmingham, England, and at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, England. In July 2011, Michael was inducted into the prestigious Guilde of Fromagers, one of the highest recognitions of cheese knowledge and dedication to teaching cheese.

All seminars will take place at the Festivals host hotel, Sheraton Sonoma County (745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma, CA 94954). Seminar times are 9:30 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. The ticket price for the seminars and workshops includes a catered lunch by Petaluma Market. Tickets are $65 per person, per seminar.

Tickets to the Festivals other weekend-long events are also available, including the From Dirt to Dinner Farm Tour and Feast with Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, Artisan Cheese Loves Craft Beer Lagunitas Brewery Tour and Cheese-inspired Dinner, the Grand Tasting & Best in Cheese Competition, the Bacon, Bubbles & Brunch + More Great Cheeses with Chef Duskie Estes, and the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace. Tickets for all events can be purchased at

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Californias Artisan Cheese Festival strives to increase cheese appreciation, educate consumers about artisan cheeses, support the cheesemaking community and its sustainability and celebrate the creations of Californias many farmers and cheesemakers. The festival began in March 2007 as the first-ever weekend-long celebration and exploration of handcrafted cheeses, foods, wines and beers from California and beyond. In keeping with its dedication to the community, the Artisan Cheese Festival will donate 10% of all ticket proceeds to Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Petaluma Future Farmers of America, California Artisan Cheese Guild and Redwood Empire Food Bank.To date the Artisan Cheese Festival has contributed more than $35,000 to these non-profit organizations that work to support the artisan cheesemaking community and its infrastructure in California. For more information, visit

Related Articles

Premium Members

To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.