Imagine my delight when my pal Cheesemaker Sheana Davis invited Alan and me to the Winter Artisan Cheese Fair here in Sonoma. Did I want to go?? Hay-yell yeah I did!
Sheana Davis is the chef/owner of the Epicurean Connection and the maker and creator of Delice de la Vallee cheese. She is also a very good friend and my main cheese connection.
So there I was on a rainy drizzly Sunday in Sonoma heading for Mac Arthur Place and more cheese than I could shake a bread stick at.
I actually was wearing a skirt and heels to be more cheese presentable. I rummaged through my bureau before leaving the house search for a pair of panty hose to really look like a "lady" (which turned out to be another adventure altogether). Let me be clear. I have one skirt. I'm always in jeans and boots because I live in the country now. All my Stuart Weitzman and Casa Dei heels are packed in the closet to be looked at and admired occasionally, but I'm not in LA anymore Dorothy. Boots are the thing here. But there I was. I dutifully dressed up in my hose and heels to go to cheese-fest out of respect for the cheese-makers and mongers, vintners and brewers who had converged on my tiny town from all over the country to bring the delicious!
Once inside Mac Arthur Place's Saddles Restaurant I looked around. Cheese, as far as the eye could see!!
There were also tables of wine from some of the best wineries, Porter, Stout and Ale including one manned by this guy from Uncommon Brewers..
from Santa Cruz California, made with Bacon!!!
And of course Saddles galore! Cause it's called Saddles' ...get it???
And what would be Cheese Fest without a life size model plastic horse surveying the surroundings??!
"Wiiiiiillllllbur, where is my Cheese?"
There were Cheese makers as far as the eye could see and they were all more than willing to have us sample their tasty wares.
Black Pig Bacon from chefs Duskie Estes and Jon Stewart of Zazu Restaurant off the Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa, and Bovolo Restaurant in Healdsburg. I'd actually seen these guys on The TV and here they were, (at least one of them) up close and personal.
They incorporated it into a delightful warm salad involving brussels sprouts and what else? Cheese.
Even the kids got into the act.
posed for cheese groupies (people like me)
and sat down for a radio chat with their hostess .
Now in the middle of all this cheesy frivolity I had my own cheesy moment. I had a panty hose malfunction. In short, they began to slowly set in the West. Even I, who so rarely have a need for panty hose knew that I was in big big trouble.
It was in the middle of the afternoon, I still had a cheese-makers reception and cheese-makers dinner to go to that evening, and here I was about to drop my drawers in the middle of the Winter Artisan Cheese Fair. Not cool.
Slowly and carefully I scrabbled my way to the car and hurried over to the nearest pharmacy for a new pair of L'eggs.
While there, I got to chat with another Sheana, artisanal cheese-maker Seana Doughty of Bleating Heart Cheese, who we like to call "Seana 10 Sheep" since that is what she has in her back yard and since we know a lot of Sheanas and happen to like the sound of that name, it's gangsta.
Seana had brought along some of her excellent Fat Bottom Girl sheep milk cheese. Between that and Sheana Davis' delicate creamy Delice de la Vallee cheese and some of the most brilliant artisanal cheeses in the whole US of A, we were in hog (or cheese) heaven.
My sister- in- law who got me started on Indian food 20 years ago and who we call the Queen of Cheese because of her love of all things rennety, would have been out of her blooming mind over all the goodies we got to eat in this one day. You see Elizabeth, that is what you get for living in New York City!
My thanks to Sheana Davis who invited us to step through the looking glass and see what's on the other side of the udder.