Archive for December, 2008
Great Post-Holiday Road Trip

Happy Holidays everyone!

With the exception of the New Year, the holiday season is quickly passing by, and I will now have some time to write all the cheese blogs I have been meaning to write. On top of that, I have a new toy… uh, tool, to help with this; an Acer Aspire One. During my entire time at my last job I had to haul around a massive laptop computer with me just in case I had to do some remote work for work. Although having the laptop was convenient, it was a real hassle to carry around. My new Aspire One weighs all of 2.78 pounds, and is no larger than a hardback book. It runs XP instead of Vista (XP is a much better operating system) and can do everything I need it to for blogging.

Acer Aspire One As small as a hardback book.

Yeah, yeah Bryce, you’re a tech-geek. What about cheese?

Sorry, ”Inner-Cheese Voice”, …I am excited about this computer though. Wanted to write a little bit about the Artisan cheeses of Marin French Cheese today. Traveling just a short way out of Petaluma, California, a trip to Marin French Cheese offers the chance to journey through some scenic hills. Much of the area is used for grazing pastures, and you get a real sense of how the land surrounding Petaluma is used for dairy. The creamery’s location is a favorite of touring cyclists, and an excellent destination for anyone who enjoys cheese. Beyond wanting you to enjoy their cheeses, Marin French Cheese’s location makes its self very inviting with a store, complete with sandwich counter, a picnic area and a duck pond. Tours are offered (call or check their website for the tour schedule), and they are also often offering excellent discounts on their fantastic cheeses.

Duck Pond at Marin French Store at Marin French Cheese

THE CHEESE: it is what it sounds like it might be; French-style soft-ripened cheeses made locally and packed by hand. Their cheeses can be found far and wide; and I have even seen them carried in San Francisco’s Costco (a chain of wholesale-like membership stores). It’s no wonder; their cheeses are excellently crafted and made with the care you’d expect of an artisan cheese. Their  brie, & camembert are very much in league with their French cousins, but local (to California), and at non-import prices, affordable for more frequent enjoyment. Also, unlike their French counterparts, Marin French offers many of their cheeses in a “Petite” 4oz size, which allows individuals to not have to overload on having too much of a good thing at one time.

One of my favorite types of Breakfasts includes; A) not having to get up early, B) hard crusted, soft interior, French-style loaf breads, C) fresh butter, D) soft French cheeses, and E) excellent hot coffee. Sure, you can throw in some jams and thinly sliced cured meats too if you’d like, but as long as I am enjoying cheeses like that of Marin French Cheese, I should be set.

Breakfast Almost Gone a>

If your local cheese shop doesn’t offer Marin French’s Cheese, you can also get it online.

Great; now I’m hungry. I’ve got one “Petite” round  of their “Breakfast Cheese” (original to their creamery and to California dating back to Lincoln’s presidency) at home. That’ll be tomorrow’s breakfast.

What are YOUR favorite cheeses for breakfast? Use the comment section to let me/everyone know. Thanks.

Where you been? Eating Cheese?

Yes, yes, I have been eating cheese, but just not writing about it as often as I like to.
A quick recap of what has been keeping me busy:

  • My daytime job (IT work) laid me off after over three years, but I accepted a new job (different company) on the same day as my last day at work (big relief).
  • I’ve been doing some contract work for California’s Artisan Cheese Festival (March 20th -23rd, 2009 in Petaluma) as an assistant Coordinator.
  • My sister and nephew visited for 10 days from New Zealand.
  • My sister-in-law flew in from New York and visited for an day before traveling to her and Kathy’s parent’s house up north.

- Umm, and I’ve been eating cheese and not telling you about it.

Yeah, so what gives?

Well, “Inner-Cheese Voice”, let me set it all straight as best as I can. I’ll start by telling you a little about the upcoming festival…

The one in March? That’s not for awhile!

Perhaps, but it’s the third annual one, and the Sunday Marketplace of California’s Artisan Cheese Festival has sold out each year. Actually, ALL of the events of the festival sell out. The point, however, is if you love cheese, are interested in trying some of the best artisan Cheeses that California has to offer (plus a few from out of state), AND local wines and beers and other artisan foods that often accompany cheese, then Sunday, March 22nd’s Marketplace is for you. Yeah, there’s a cost to get in, but with entry you get a wine glass for tastings, a tasting visit at the Festival’s “Cheese Cafe”, and a portable insulated bag already equipped with frozen ice packs so that any cheese you buy at the Marketplace you don’t have to worry about before getting them home. Once you’re in the Marketplace, just about everyone is giving out samples of cheese, beer, wine, and foods. There’s chef demonstrations and you also get, included as part of your ticket, a visit to the Cheese Cafe where you’ll be given a sample plate of some Artisan cheeses. The event draws everything from cheese enthusiasts to cheese experts, chefs, distributors, other cheesemakers, and foodies too. If you feel you are anything along the lines of any of those, or just plain love cheese and want to see what’s out there, then I highly recommend getting tickets to the marketplace NOW. No, I’m not joking. This has, and will, sell out before the event happens in March.

Yeah, yeah, Bryce; it’s a great thing AND you’re working for it, so of course you’re promoting it.

Yes, “Inner-Cheese Voice”, but the distinction is that this is JUST the very kind of event which I live for. Think of it; dozens upon dozens of artisan cheeses to try and buy in one place? And centric to California? This is another don’t miss cheese event. Great holiday present too. Buy someone tickets for it.

“The new cheese publication is here! The new cheese publication is here!”

OK, so my really not obvious reference to the movie “The Jerk” (with Steve Martin, 1979) in today’s blog title bears explanation. Steve Martin’s character, who has been living in a automobile service station’s bathroom, exclaims the following in a bit of dialog:

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!
Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.
Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 – Johnson, Navin R.! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity – your name in print – that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

Well, today I received my mailed copy of the premiere quarterly issue of “Culture”, a new magazine dedicated to cheese and all things cheese related. Their website currently provides a sneak peak, and even a glimpse of the cheese centerfold. Sure, it might not be quite as titillating (or offensive, depending on your point of view) as the centerfold of a risqué magazine, but it does give a satisfying glimpse into our nation’s cheeses and cheesemakers… and yes, I will take it to bed with me tonight. FOR THE ARTICLES. Get your head out of the whey.

No review for the moment of the magazine its self; I’m just happy that it has finally arrived. Also, don’t get the wrong impression. Canyon of Cheese is not in “Culture” and neither is Navin R. Johnson, but with the cover story about blue cheeses by Janet Fletchermakes me just excited as “The Jerk” had been. Look for the magazine, ask for it where you buy magazines, or go to the “Culture” website to get a subscription. Meanwhile I’m finding time to choose photos from out Thanksgiving Seattle visit so that I can write about some cheeses we tried there. Stay tuned.

Great news for Canyon of Cheese…

Greetings once again. If it seems as if I have not had the chance to write recently, it is true, I haven’t. I do have fantastic news, however… Although my day-job work in Information Technology is ending shortly (and yes, I’m still very much on a job hunt at the moment), I am helping with California’s Artisan Cheese Festival as an Assistant Coordinator. The Festival will take place in March of 2009, Friday – Monday, March 20th – 23rd in Petaluma, California at the Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma Hotel.

Now you can expect that I’ll be making many mentions about the Festival leading up to it, and I’ll do what I can to also feature some information about the various Artisan cheeses which will be featured there. I hesitate applying a link to to the festival’s webpage until the details about the festival are “live” so watch for that shortly… In the meantime, as soon as I can find some time, I hope to tell you about some cheeses that I tried while visiting Seattle over Thanksgiving. My sister and her son are visiting us from New Zealand, so please give me just a little leeway until I get get some meaningful posts up. 

Yours in the love of cheese,

-Bryce