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Posts Tagged ‘Janet Fletcher’

Last summer while visiting family back east, I got a little push-back from my nearest and dearest when I mentioned having recently interviewed a famous cheese writer. Apparently famous, cheese, and writer just aren’t words you hear right in a row like that—at least not in any state outside of California and, possibly, Wisconsin.

But here in the Bay Area, we actually have so many famous cheese writers that there’s now a hugely popular annual festival showcasing their talents. Theirs, along with the talents of those who inspire them: local cheesemakers, chefs, and winemakers.

The 5th annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival runs Friday, March 25, through Monday, March 28, at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma. It once again features seminars, cheesemaking workshops, chef demonstrations, and samples of new cheeses, wines, and brews under the Sunday Marketplace tent. And yes, that famous cheese writer I interviewed last summer, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Janet Fletcher, will be there—although sadly Fletcher’s seminar, “You Be the Judge: Learning to Evaluate Cheese Like a Pro,” is already sold out.

There are still opportunities to educate yourself on other cheesy topics, however; these range from how to become a cheesemaker and discovering California’s hidden cheeses to the use of mold in cheesemaking and the art of cheese and wine pairing.

Saturday night’s main event is a dinner featuring cheesemakers, chefs, and vintners called “Curds, Cooks, and Cuvees.” Wineries in attendance will include Fortress Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Keller Estate WineryKokomo Winery, Paul Matthew Vineyards, and Sonoma Portworks.

To buy tickets and view a full schedule of the weekend’s events, visit www.artisancheesefestival.com.

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Last week I interviewed Doug and Janet Fletcher about the role that food and wine have played in their relationship. The short answer is “a big one”—no surprise given that Doug is a vice president at Terlato Wine Group, overseeing winemaking at Terlato’s wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara, and Janet is a prominent food writer who pens the cheese column for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written award-winning cookbooks.

I’ll save the juiciest bits from the interview for my upcoming Marin Magazine article featuring the Fletchers, but let me share this: the couple has invented a Friday night cocktail. It’s called a Rosebud, made with four ounces white wine to one ounce Campari—shaken and served up, with an orange peel twist. “It’s fresh and a little bitter, which Janet and I both like,” says Doug. Sounds delicious, and I can’t wait to sub it for my usual Friday night cocktail, a traditional gin martini (Bombay Sapphire, shaken, served up with three olives if I make it, two if my husband does).

I must have had aperitifs on the brain after this interview, because while eating at the Front Porch in Bernal Heights on Saturday, I scanned the “bevies” menu and was immediately drawn to something called Tha Dirty South: amontillado sherry shaken with ice and served up, with an olive. Oh wait, does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s basically a sherry martini, but drinking it I somehow felt a little more… genteel, I guess you could say. Goes great with crab fritters.

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