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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010 Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference

The 8th annual Sonoma Cheese Conference took place over the last few days, and on Monday I was fortunate enough to attend. I would have loved to be there Sunday through Tuesday, but the reality of owning a small cheese shop is that it's often hard to leave the store for more than a day at a time. However I will say this, just getting to spend one day rubbing elbows with some of my most beloved "cheese idols" served to inspire and energize me in a way I haven't felt in awhile. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do and count myself as one of the luckiest girls on the planet. But some days it seems like I'm just struggling to put out one fire after another, and I think to myself "this is a grind. Where's the fun?"

Then suddenly I'm in a room full of people who love cheese as much as I do (if not more), and I'm listening to the likes of Ari Weinzweig (Zingerman's), and Mateo Kehler (Cellars at Jasper Hill) speak passionately about my chosen profession, and that "grind" I referred to just fades into the background. It's times like these when I know my little quest to bring the finest American Farmstead cheeses to the Bay Area Peninsula is the right thing to do. Challenging people to examine their beliefs about what artisan cheese should be (ie; imported), is not an easy task. But who said it would be simple? I carry the cheeses I carry in my store because I am a believer in the American Cheese Movement. I feel each cheese I have in my case (with the exception of a couple imports) is an excellent example of what can happen when traditional cheese-making techniques are combined with American ingenuity.

Thanks to all the hard-working people who put together this wonderful conference (especially Sheana Davis). It was stimulating, educational, fun, and most of all delicious!


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