California Cheese Trail: A tasty journey through artisan cheese


While many people head to California for impeccable wine, California Cheese Trail is a tasty journey through the beauty that is artisan cheese.

Have you traveled the California Cheese Trail? While food travel has grown tremendously, this cheese trail will make a turophile say eureka. Any foodie needs to put this tasty adventure on their food bucket list. Are you ready for this delicious journey?

Cheesemaking has a long history in California. Going back to the 1750s, Spanish Missionary Father Junipero Serra introduced both dairy cows and cheesemaking to the region. Now, California dairy farmers produce more than 2 billion pounds of cheese each year, according to the California Milk Advisory Board.

Although many people travel to Northern California to sip and savor the wine in the area, the cheesemakers deserve their time to shine. Throughout the area, some of the local cheesemakers open their doors to foodie adventurers who want to sample and relish the delicacies of these artisans.

While the California Cheese Trail offers 42 cheesemakers on this exploration through California cheese, a few locations offer some fascinating cheeses that foodies will want to discover.

Marin French Cheese Company

For 150 years, Marin French Cheese Company has been making soft-ripened cheeses. Using milk sourced “within 20 miles from the creamery,” these cheeses have won numerous awards over the years.

Marin French Cheese Company showcases that simplicity can and does produce impeccable flavors in its cheeses. As the “longest, continually operating cheese company in the United States,” that tradition and attention to craft proves that this cheese deserves its accolades.

A stop on the California Cheese Trail deserves a leisurely, quite afternoon enjoying a Marin French Cheese brie. With so many delicious options, it can be difficult to choose just one. Luckily, the on-site store has everything to complete your tasty adventure.

Whether you enjoy a freshly made sandwich, a variety of cheeses or just a little sampling of the many offerings. This stop should definitely be on the top of the list.

Marin French Cheese Company is located in Petaluma, California. The cheese shop and café are open 7 days a week

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company

While the small sign might go unnoticed driving down the road, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company is one of California cheese gems. This farmstead cheese uses milk sourced from its family owned, 100% organic farm.

Nicasio Valley Cheese creates cheese in the Swiss style of cheesemaking. The recipes are authentic to that tradition and the family prides itself on its attention to every little detail.

The family’s most well known and honored cheese is Foggy Morning, a Fromage Blanc style cheese. A Fromage Blanc style cheese is generally a fresh, creamy cheese.

If you prefer a more robust, rich flavored cheese, the Nicasio Reserve is a Swiss-Italian mountain cheese that is aged for five months. This cheese definitely deserves a spot on your next cheese plate.

Nicasio Valley Cheese company is located in Nicasio, California. Their retail shop is open Monday through Sunday.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese

Like how the California coast nurtures wine, the same can be said for California cheeses. At Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, happy cows and a focus on sustainability helps to create one of the best blue cheeses in the nation.

While blue cheese can be an acquired taste for some, many people adore the pungent aroma and flavor of this cheese. Point Reyes is known for award winning blue cheese. Whether eating as a stand alone, crumbled on top of salads or incorporated into recipes, this blue cheese could even convert the most ardent skeptic.

In addition to the blues, Point Reyes creates many Toma cheeses. This semi-hard cheese is quite versatile. While the cheesemaker offers a classic variety, the new flavored versions are quite tasty. From an Asian inspired offering to even a truffle infused option, these cheeses should always be in your home.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese is located in Point Reyes, California. Farm tours and culinary classes can be booked online or by appointment.

Hilmar Cheese Company

Considered one of the larger cheesemakers, this company “produces more than 2.4 million pounds of cheese each day.” While different than some of the farmstead cheese offerings, this self-guided tour and café shows the depth and breath of the California cheese industry.

Sometimes people lose sight of the how and why food arrives at the table. It takes craft, precision and a desire to produce some of the best quality products. A visit to Hilmar Cheese Company can have everyone remember that it takes effort to bring that tasty goodness to your home.

Hilmar Cheese Company is located in Hilmar, California. A self guided tour is available and other special events can be held periodically.

Vintage Cheese Co

While cheesemaking has been around for 4,000 years, there is nothing dated about Vintage Cheese Co. Using European-Old World recipes, these artisan cheeses have a vibrant quality that highlights such attention to detail. In some ways, each bite brings a little bit of happiness.

This California cheese maker offers cow, sheep and goat cheeses. For someone who is just starting to explore cheese, this location is a perfect stop to learn more about variety. From exploring textures to taste, you might discover a whole new cheese to love.

Vintage Cheese Co is located in Traver, California. The retail shop is open 7 days a week.

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Next time you visit California remember a wine tour isn’t the only foodie adventure. A trip along the California Cheese Trail will definitely have the foodie shouting eureka for more cheese.