I love cheese. Not your typical monterey jack and sharp cheddar (although i do love those too). I love brie and camembert and blue and goat oh my.
Lately, b and i have been up to our eye balls in cheese. we literally make a cheese plate 4 times a week. We are enjoying learning about the art of pairing each cheese.
When i mean pair i mean deciding which fruit spread tastes best with each cheese, drizzling honey on our blue cheese and narrowing down the perfect olives to get that creamy and salty combo. oh my goodness i could go on and on. b gave me this book for my birthday. It has taught us about the different types of cheese and what to look for when selecting cheeses. So basically we are becoming a little obsessed…
But it’s good to have hobbies, right?
A couple weeks ago, b decided we had to go on a cheese tour so we could apply our new found knowledge. and when you live a hour or so south of sonoma county why not? it is not only wine country, it is cheese country! b researched all the local factories and read reviews. We narrowed it down to three based on location, variety, how well known it is and which cheeses we were most interested in tasting (believe it or not you can have too much cheese in one day).
Marin french cheese (Petaluma)
This was our first stop on our self guided tour. marin french cheese is a great little spot located in the rolling hills of petaluma. their factory is basically in the middle of nowhere (and there is no gps available so plan ahead — we got lost for a little bit ha) but that may be the beauty of it. it is secluded, large and there is a lake out front where you can enjoy your cheese. marin french cheese specializes in brie. there were different flavors as well as creaminess available. we sampled them all but decided to purchase the original. Marin french cheese did not provide samples of a triple creme brie or we would have been swayed to go the creamier route. the shop also provides over priced baguettes ($5/baguette–what a joke) and scrumptious chocolates. I had to try the chocolate and peanut butter bar (my favorite combo) and it was fabulous. next time, we will bring our own baguette and drinks so we can enjoy our cheese by the lake.
Cowgirl creamery (Point Reyes)
We have been to the cowgirl creamery shop before at the ferry building in sf and loved it, so we knew we had to make a stop at the mothership. the cowgirl creamery factory in point reyes is where they make all their famous red hawk cheese (love red hawk). you could actually see the cheese ripening in their kitchen when you entered the factory. we tried nearly every cheese available. the ones that stood out and we purchased were a wasabi goat cheese, shepherdista bleeding california and goat gouda. We also tasted (and purchased) some of the best blue cheese of our life. it was called bay blue. Bay blue has the perfect amount of flavor and is extremely soft for blue (with softness comes heartache though. We were told the blue would only last a week so we better eat it quickly). The thing i love most about cowgirl creamery is they not only produce wonderful cheeses but they also have a variety of other high end cheeses that are both locally and internationally made. Their sales associates are also extremely knowledgeable and taught us the proper way to store our cheese once we have cut into it (give you a hint, it is not in a plastic baggy).
Nicasio valley cheese company (Point Reyes)
Nicasio valley cheese company was the last stop on our tour so maybe we were too full of cheese or maybe we had too high of expectations but i would not return (luckily it was a short 10 min drive from cowgirl creamery and on our way home). They offered 5 different kinds of cheese varying in milk and firmness. Nothing really jumped out at me. The store owners were lovely though and described to us the process of creating their signature cheeses. We did end up buying a jar of olives but no cheese. Maybe we are getting to be cheese snobs? B thinks so. He says he can’t even buy cheese at trader joes anymore because the selection is awful ha. Insert crying emoji. #firstworldproblems.
This cheese tour was fabulous. I hope we are able to head up north again soon to discover more local cheese factories. for now we will continue to savor all the delectable cheese we purchased that day.
What is your favorite cheese? What is a hobby you are getting into these days?