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Local cheese producers spread it on in Petaluma

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We've said it before: we live in the golden age of cheese. The last 15 years have given rise to a curd-based mecca in all three North Bay counties, where dairy cows have long roamed the grassy, coastal hills—and the California Artisan Cheese Festival celebrates this delicious boom.

Hosted by the Petaluma Sheraton on March 22–24, the sixth annual nosh-fest features North Bay dairy tours and tastings and a variety of panels by the likes of Oxbow Cheese Market founder Lassa Skinner. Topics covered over the weekend include cheese and beer pairings, macaroni and cheese and, of course, that saucy temptress known as Brie.

And while talk is great, what is a cheese festival without the creamy goodness inspiring so much chatter? Plenty of local cheese makers will be onsite offering their wares—Cowgirl Creamery, Bellwether Farms, Redwood Hill Farm—as well as reps from North Coast Brewery, Acorn Winery, Lagunitas and many others. Area chefs will whip up dairy-licious concoctions as well, from Rocker Oysterfeller's, the Girl and the Fig and Nick's Cove, among many others.

The California Artisan Cheese Festival runs Friday–Sunday, March 22–24, at the Petaluma Sheraton. 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma. A variety of ticket packages are available at www.artisancheesefestival.com.—Rachel Dovey

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