ARThound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

A Weekend of Cheese—Friday, Saturday and Sunday—7th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival at Petaluma’s Sheraton Hotel, tickets for many events still available

At this weekend’s 7th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival, in Petaluma, buffalo mozzarella, and Old World delicacy, from Craig Ramini’s fabled Tomales farm is served fresh.  At age 51, Ramini heard the call of the cheese and answered, leaving behind a successful career in Silicon Valley to pursue cheese-making in Tomales.

At this weekend’s 7th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival, in Petaluma, buffalo mozzarella, an Old World delicacy, from Craig Ramini’s fabled Tomales farm is served fresh. At age 51, Ramini heard the call of the cheese and answered, leaving behind a successful career in Silicon Valley to pursue cheese-making in Tomales.

Fresh mozzarella.  The innocence of childhood, summer evenings on a swing set flying through air scented with magnolia. New grass, slightly damp, soft against my cheek. A baby’s elbow: velvet, dimpled, full of hope. (Patricia)

There’s something about cheese that inspires people—to know more, eat more, celebrate its diversity, wax poetic, and ultimately go to its source.  This weekend, that means Petaluma and the 7th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival, which runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Sheraton.   

While Friday’s ever popular farm tours sold out months ago, tickets are still available for most other events, and everything is priced individually.

Friday offers an inaugural Meet the Cheesemakers and Their Cheeses event ($35) where you can informally chat with cheesemakers and farmers and sample over 75 cheeses, and artisan wines and beers, to your heart’s content.  Saturday features a Grand Tasting and Cheese Competition ($75), from 6 to 9 p.m.  This popular roaming feast pairs leading restaurant chefs and cheesemakers using artisan cheese in a variety in dishes, from sweet to savory, creating scrumptious things to eat in order to win your vote.

There are 14 seminars, cheesemaking classes, and cooking and pairing demonstrations throughout the day on Saturday.  Cheesemaking classes are $95, all others $65.  Select authors will sign their books.  If a cheesemaking class sounds interesting, book it online NOW, as most of them have less than 4 spots available.

Friday’s farm tours include a visit to Weirauch Farm & Creamery, owned by Joel and Carleen Weirauch, (“why-rock”) who produce a variety of humane, organic, farmstead sheep cheeses and organic cow cheeses in the plush hills of Petaluma.  Pictured here: Tomme Fraiche and Carabiner cow’s milk cheeses.

Friday’s farm tours include a visit to Weirauch Farm & Creamery, owned by Joel and Carleen Weirauch, (“why-rock”) who produce a variety of humane, organic, farmstead sheep cheeses and organic cow cheeses in the plush hills of Petaluma. Pictured here: Tomme Fraiche and Carabiner cow’s milk cheeses.

Sunday begins at 9:30 a.m., with the Stark Reality Brunch prepared by chef Mark Stark ($115)—start the day with a glass of bubbly and an artisan cheese inspired sit-down brunch.  Attendees enjoy VIP access to the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace and can enter one hour early before it opens to the hungry masses.

Sunday’s Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace ($45) celebrates cheese under the big top.  Meet over 70 artisan producers and experience the best of local cheese, beer and other specialty foods.  Attendees receive an insulated bag for carrying purchases and samples of cheese, beer, wine and other artisan foods. 

Details: The 7th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival is March 22-24, 2013, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at Petaluma’s Sheraton, 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma.  Tickets $35 to $135.  Many events are already sold-out, so purchase tickets for all events now.  www.artisancheesefestival.com.

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March 21, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fresh, Local, Fabulous—Taste of Petaluma is this Saturday, August 25, 2012—buy your tickets before Thursday afternoon and save $5

Every year, Taste of Petaluma gets better.  This Saturday, Taste turns 7, and over 60 of Petaluma’s best eateries, food purveyors, breweries and wineries will be sampling their finest at establishments all across town.  Just back from London, ARThound had the pleasure of stepping off the plane and right into a series of preview tastings at 8 participating restaurants–Cordoza’s Deli and Café, Everest Indian Restaurant, Hiro’s Japanese Restuarant, Luma, Social Club, Rosso, Sugo Trattoria, Wild Goat Bistro.

The lowdown:  Great cooking is no mystery.  When you use the best, locally-sourced, fresh ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary.  After having been there and done that, great chefs are establishing themselves in Petaluma because our relaxed town values great food that is connected to the community and there’s no better place to access to fresh ingedients.  Taste of Petaluma is the best way to sample all the delicacies Petlauma has to offer.  A set of tickets covers 10 tastes and portions are generous.   All of the purveyors generously donate their food to Taste, knowing that a sample is the best advertising that money can buy.  And because all the proceeds go directly to Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater, a 501 (c)(3) California non-profit, now celebrating its 40th anniversary in our community, the entire event has a feel-good vibe to it.  Bring your friends and families and spend the day!

Stay-tuned to ARThound for a more detailed article tomorrow.  For now, read about Rosso, the new Mozzarella latteria in Theatre Square that knocked me flat…co-owner Kevin Cronin’s passion about fresh food, craftsmanship at the level of an artisan, and interacting with the local community he is connected to exemplify the values that make Petaluma truly special.  I didn’t realize it but I had long been an admirer.  A founding partner of St. Helena’s legendary Tra Vigne (back in the day when it was really GOOD), Cronin’s long been committed to disarmingly simple Italian food that tastes great.   Cronin co-owns Rosso, which has another restaurant in Santa Rosa, with chef John Franchetti, who has two decades of cheese-making experience, and Gesine Franchetti.

Rosso Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar co-owner Kevin Cronin talks cheese with ARThound

Rosso uses locally-sourced curd to hand-craft small batches of their own cheeses on site at their restaurant—mozzarella, ricotta and chévre.  Their creamy, buttery, delectable, hand-pulled mozzarella is made with locally-sourced buffalo milk from Craig Ramini’s Buffalo farm. (Ramini is trending…read the 6.22.2012 Wall Street Journal profile here.)  Rosso’s signature burratas (stuffed mozzarellas) are to swoon for—a thin layer of mozzarella wrapped around a creamy mix of mozzarella and goat cheese finished with mint and drizzled with lemon and olive oil from Sicily or stracciatella (chopped mozzarella with cream folded in) or traditional style (curd of mozarella with cream folded in).  The texture in each of the three is silky.  The tastes are divinely sweet and earthy, inspiring all the adjectives applied to fine wine.  Most people just let out a sigh, on the order reserved for great sex.

For Taste, Rosso will serve their signature Burrata on Bruschetta with Prosciutto and Olive Pesto, with house-made Spaghetti and Meatball.

Details:  Taste of Petaluma is Saturday, August 25, 2012, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at over 60 participating Petaluma restaurants, shops and galleries.

Advance purchase discount tickets:  $35 for 10 tickets (1 ticket = 1 tasting) through 3 p.m. Thursday, August 23.  Purchase by phoning Cinnabar Theatre at 707 763-8920 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) OR buy in person at Gallery One, 209 Western Ave., Petaluma, or I Leoni, 120 Kentucky Street, Petaluma. OR click here to purchase tickets directly online ($3.50 service charge).

Advance purchase tickets can be picked up at WILL CALL at Helen Putnam Plaza (139 Petaluma Blvd. North) after 10:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

Tickets on the day of the event:  $40 for 10 tickets at 10:30 a.m. at Putnam Plaza (139 Petaluma Blvd. N.) and at Theater Square (C. St.).  Additional tickets may be purchased throughout the day for $4 each.

Each package of 10 tickets includes a street map of sampling locations, a food and beverage menu, and a schedule for special events.  First 500 guests receive a Taste of Petaluma tote bag.  Participants may bring their own wine or beer tasting glass.

To view the menu, visit www.tasteofpetaluma.org.

August 21, 2012 Posted by | Food | , , , , , | Leave a comment