It’s forever been a mystery to me that something so delicious could come from what is essentially curdled milk. Whether it adorns a charcuterie platter, it’s sandwiched between slices of freshly baked bread, it’s paired with wine after a decadent meal, or it’s nestled atop a perfectly cooked hamburger patty, cheese is the pièce de résistance of any great dining experience. Despite my lactose intolerance, nothing gets my stomach rumbling and my mouth watering quite like the thought of the melty, gooey, savory milk by-product.
If, like me, your eyes bug out at the thought of fondue and your tastebuds tremble at the sight of pizza dangling by a single thread of cheese, then round up your cheese-loving compadres, gather your Lactaid, and prepare yourself for a night of fromage at the third annual SF CheeseFest. Gracing the historic Social Hall, a renovated 1909 landmark building, on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 6 to 9p.m., the ooey-gooey event is an ode to the craftsmanship and unique character of California cheese.
This year’s theme, “Melting Together,” celebrates the grilled cheeses, the scraped raclettes, and the melty crepes of the world. It seeks to bring together artisanal cheeses with the people who create them and the people who enjoy them. Meet and mingle with 24 California Artisan Cheese Guild member cheesemakers across the state while sampling new and classic California cheeses. Alongside your cheesy nibbles, taste brews from Magnolia Brewing Co., Lagunitas Brewing, and Fort Point Beer, ciders from AppleGarden Farm, Golden State Cider, and Tilted Shed Cider, and wines from more than a dozen wineries including Herb Lamb Vineyards and Belden Barns. While you’re noshing and tasting, enjoy live music by colonial-indigenous-eccentric jazz quartet Rebirth Canal.
Require more sustenance for your $84 ticket than tastings of various cheeses? Lucky for you, the Cheese School of SF/Fishers Cheese and Wine, Mission Cheese/Makers Common, Freestone Artisan Cheese, and Greenleaf will be on hand serving up fromage-focused bites. Event sponsors Creminelli Fine Meats, Dandelion Chocolates, Lemon Bird Preserves, and Mimi’s Confiture will also be concocting tasty morsels for your enjoyment. All attendees will receive a free one-year subscription to Culture cheese magazine. You better brie-leave that this is the cheese event of the year (apologies for the cheesey puns).
SF Cheesefest, Saturday, Sept. 16, 6-9 p.m., at Social Hall SF, 1270 Sutter St., $84, sfcheesefest.com/