Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma this weekend


PETALUMA (BCN) More than 90 of California's artisan cheese makers, food vendors, breweries and wineries can be found this weekend at the 11th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival at the Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma Hotel.

The 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization strives to increase cheese appreciation and educate consumers about artisan cheese and the state's farmers and cheese makers.

Today and throughout the weekend, guests will sample popular and new limited-production rare artisan cheeses while supporting the state's farmers and cheese makers.

Saturday's events include educational seminars, a Cheese & Cocktails celebration and a Wine and Dine with the cheese maker dinners on Saturday night.

The walk-around, which takes place in a 20,000-square-foot Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace in two tents in the hotel parking lot on Sunday, is one of the weekend's most popular events. Guests taste and purchase artisan cheese while interacting with cheese makers, brewers and winemakers.

Cooking and pairing demonstrations feature the some of the Bay Area's best chefs.

Charlie and Michael Kalish, also known as "The Cheese Twins," will give a cooking demonstration of one of America's favorite comfort foods, the grilled cheese.

Chef demonstrations take place inside the hotel, and chefs will sign their books inside the tents throughout the day. The book signings and chefs' demonstrations are included with admission to the Marketplace.

A four-course "Bubbles and Brunch" is scheduled for Sunday morning inside the hotel at 745 Baywood Drive.

Tickets are $115 and include VIP access into the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace and hour before the public at 11 a.m.

Adult tickets to the Marketplace, open noon-4 p.m., are $45. There also are $20 tickets for children 12 and under.

Adult tickets include an insulated tote, a wine glass with the festival logo and unlimited sampling of cheese, beer, cider, wine and other artisan products.

Tickets for all events are available at