17th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival
March 24-26, 2023
The festival offers many ways to enjoy local cheese including farm tours, pairing and tasting seminars with world-class cheese experts, a cheese crawl and the ever-popular Marketplace
California’s premier cheese festival, taking place March 24-26, will host the Marketplace at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, seminars at various wineries, a cheese crawl at The Barlow in Sebastopol, farm and cheese producer tours throughout Sonoma and Marin Counties, and beyond. For the first time since 2019, the beloved Festival is back for three full days of cheese tasting, education and celebration, bringing together artisan cheesemakers, farmers, chefs, brewers, winemakers, distillers and cheese enthusiasts. Throughout the weekend, guests will have the opportunity to experience new, limited-production, and rare artisan cheeses, and learn about the art of making cheese — all while supporting California farmers and cheesemakers. These public events include farm and producer tours, cheese tastings, pairings, educational seminars and demonstrations, a cheese crawl, and the Sunday Marketplace. Tickets are now on sale and are expected to sell out quickly.
“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.”
This three-day cheese extravaganza starts with Friday’s Farm Tours, and several of the tours will visit areas outside of the immediate Bay Area, including North Sacramento, Central Valley and Mendocino County. Tour G which travels to the Spenker Family Farm in Lodi even includes goat yoga!
Saturday will feature seminars and demos in some gorgeous wine country locations including Balletto Vineyards, Kendall Jackson Wine Center and Sugarloaf Wine Company. Since the seminars all take place at wineries, each one has a unique wine pairing experience available as an add-on for those who’d like to stay and enjoy the site a little longer.
Saturday night features a brand new event, a Cheese Crawl at The Barlow! This walk-around tasting event will be similar to a bar crawl, but focused on cheese pairings with local sips and nibbles from restaurants, distilleries, breweries and more.
Sunday’s Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace will take place at the vast Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. For those who’d like to get the inside track and early entry into the Marketplace, the Bubbles + Bites is a pre-marketplace light breakfast with author and radio personality Clark Wolf. Wolf will be giving tips on how to best experience everything the Marketplace has to offer as attendees enjoy breakfast bites and local bubbles.
The Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace has always been considered the “grand finale” of the Festival because it gives cheese enthusiasts the opportunity to experience new, limited-production, and rare artisan cheeses as well as meet and sample the products from many Bay Area farmers, chefs, brewers, winemakers, distillers and artisan food purveyors.