In a scenario where we were asked at gunpoint to choose whether we'd give up cheese or chocolate for the rest of our life (you know, threatened by hardened criminals who are discerning about such matters), we'd be hard-pressed to come up with a decision. Thankfully we can celebrate both this weekend, which is bringing both the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon and the 7th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival.
When: Sun., March 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Festival Pavilion in Fort Mason Center
Cost: Adults $25 advance, $30 at the door; children 6-12 $10
The rundown: Sample the goods from more than 40 local, national and international chocolatiers, confectioners, and artisan food-makers, including hometown favorites like Jade Chocolates, Nosh This, Kika's Treats, and Charles Chocolates (plus a whole bunch more). There will be demos on things like pairing wine and chocolate, presentations on subjects like "Essences and Aromas for Chocolate Lovers," and a panel on what goes into making fine chocolate featuring representatives from Amano and Guittard, but honestly it seems like the value lies in eating all the chocolate you can get away with.
When: Fri., March 22 - Sun., March 24
Where: Sheraton Sonoma County, Petaluma
Cost: Varies by event
The rundown: Cheesemaking classes, farm tours, cheesemaker meet-and-greets, and more will go down this weekend at the 7th annual California Artisan Cheese Festival in Sonoma. Nearly 30 cheesemakers will participate in the festivities, along with other food vendors and a handful of wineries (this is Sonoma, after all). Classes are in the $65-$95 range, but unless you're really into the nitty gritty of cheese-making, the best bang for your buck seems to be the artisan marketplace on Sunday from noon-4 p.m., where you can taste all the cheese your heard desires. Hit it and the chocolate salon if you're feeling especially ambitious, and max out on your calorie-filled, artisanal deliciousness for the week.