last sunday, i got up early to get breakfast with peter in cole valley, then marcela and patrick drove through and picked me up for the artisan cheese festival in petaluma. before showing up, i thought a $45 admission was a little steep but i may have broken even on cheese and assorted beverages within an hour of showing up. five hours later, i'd consumed about 3 pounds of cheese and 6-8 glasses of wine and beer and people distinctly under the influence were swapping cheeses and giving them away to anyone who displayed even a slight interest. the standouts:
golden star's sparkling jasmine tea: i thought this would be unbelievably affected but it was very good. only mildly sweetened with cane sugar, with a gentle scent of jasmine and enough tannin to keep it interesting.
rogue creamery's rogue river blue: powerful, creamy, and spicy at the back of the mouth. at room temperature, it overwhelmed even the glass of consecration (and that's saying something).
tumalo's classico sheep milk gouda: chalk white, dense, with a balanced saltiness. the guy behind the counter was closing down and, seeing me cut another chunk, asked if i wanted to take the entire wedge. i acquiesced with good grace.
russian river brewing company's consecration beer: this is one of the sour beers; i've never enjoyed them before but this is maybe one of my favourite beers. patrick and marcela, not incidentally have introduced me to two of my top beers to date (dogfish's midas touch and, now, consecration)
cici gelato: these people are in mill valley only, which is frustrating. they had a buffalo ricotta gelato made with bubalus bubalis ricotta. i always like the mild-flavoured, cream-based gelatos, but this one was magnificent.
wandering aengus heirloom blend cider: the heirloom blend was crisp, dry, and a little bitter. it's nice to lurk around googlers wearing schwag. the owner had two bottles of their pommeau dessert wine on the counter (a very limited production) but was steadfast in his refusal to open them until patrick looked very unhappy when told that it was available only in oregon. (it was unctuous and autumnal, in case you wonder.)