2014 information coming soon.
A new wave of artisan and urban cheesemakers will take the spotlight at the Tenth Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference – a yearly gathering of American artisan cheesemakers, retailers, distributors and food writers, on Feb. 23 – 27 in Sonoma, Calif.
Hosted by Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection, the conference is a premier destination for cheese industry opinion leaders from across the nation. This year, the event will highlight a core group of new cheesemakers representing the next generation. In addition, the bright lights of the big city will take the spotlight with a presentation on urban cheesemaking in Seattle, Milwaukee and New York.
Conference festivities kick off a day early in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 23, with Cheese Plus hosting a public Winter Artisan Cheese Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. The event showcases cheesemakers leading the artisan and farmstead cheese movement, as well as wines and ales from Sonoma County. The conference proper begins Sunday, Feb. 24 at The Mac Arthur Place in Sonoma with an afternoon Winter Artisan Cheese Fair, featuring artisan cow, sheep and goat cheese producers, wines, brews, guest chefs and a Winter Mac & Cheese Cook-off. The next two days feature seminars and networking sessions at the MacArthur Place in Sonoma, and wraps up with a special one-day ZingTrain session led by Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s.
Saturday, Feb. 23: Cheese Plus Winter Artisan Cheese Fair. Cheese Plus in San Francisco invites the public to taste and purchase local cheeses and wines, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24: Sonoma Winter Artisan Cheese Fair. Both the public and conference attendees are invited to an opening reception and mac ‘n cheese cook-off to launch the Tenth Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference. Location: MacArthur Place in Sonoma. Tickets: $40 (complimentary ticket included with full conference registration).
Monday, Feb. 25 – Tuesday, Feb. 26: Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference. Next generation Wisconsin cheesemaker Katie Hedrich, LaClare Farms, will join new wave California cheesemakers Anna Connor, Pug’s Leap Creamery, Alissa Shethar, North Bay Curds & Whey and Carleen Weirauch, Weirauch Creamery to discuss cheemaking in the 21st Century. In addition, Bob Wills, Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee, and Kurt Dammeier, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle and New York City, will talk urban cheesemaking. Other topics include Selecting and Maintaining Cheeses for Distribution, Artisan American Cheese Courses, Social Media, and Establishing a Successful Retail Cheese Department.
On both days, an array of additional topics will be presented. Speakers include: Waldemar Albrecht, New York; Sondra Bernstein, The Girl and the Fig; Dean Biersch & Dan Gordon, Gordon Biersch Brewing; Herb Brosowsky, Bi Rite; Jeanne Carpenter, Wisconsin Cheese Originals; Judy Creighton, California Artisan Cheese Guild; Sid Cook, Carr Valley Cheese; Brad Dube, Food Matters Again; Gordon Edgar, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative; Janet Fletcher, food writer; Rick Hirsch, Word’s Best Cheese; Glenda Humiston, USDA; Mark Inman, Volcafe Specialty Coffee; Shana Ray, Food, Wine & Social Media; Mike Repetto, Tony’s Fine Foods; Chris Roelli, Roelli Cheese; J.B. Rumberg, Other Avenues Food Store; Richard Tarlov, Canyon Market; Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s, Marilyn Wilkinson and Heather Porter Engwall, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; Anna Wolfe, Gourmet Retailer.
Generous time and space are available for talking with other participants during breaks and lunches. The conference offers an invaluable opportunity to learn as well as sharing knowledge, challenges and solutions. Location: MacArthur Place, Sonoma. Tickets: $250, includes all sessions, tastings and lunches.
Wednesday, Feb. 27: ZingTrain Session. Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s will present a dynamic, small-group session guaranteed to get participants thinking about running their organizations in new ways that help increase job satisfaction, reduce the burden on managers, cut back bureaucracy and build better bottom-line results to outperform competitors. Location: MacArthur Place, Sonoma. Cost: $750 per person. Space is limited to 24 persons.
To register, email Sheana Davis at email@example.com or call 707- 935-7960. Visit www.theepicureanconnection.com to learn more.