When the days are short and drear, a person's fancy turns to cheese. At least that might be a reasonable supposition given the cheese-flavored frenzy that early spring produces in these here parts. First up is Sheana Davis' Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference. A three-day affair running Feb. 21&–24 and geared toward producers and mongers, this educational confab focuses on storing, selling and producing artisanal cheeses. For the public, the highlight is the tasting day smack in the middle of things. Davis, a professional chef who runs Sonoma's Epicurean Connection, debuted her own brand of cheese, a cow and goat's milk blend called Delice de la Vallee last month at the Fancy Food Show, will take pros on area dairy tours and out to special dinners. We mere mortals can only meet them on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 1pm to 4pm, and taste the great miracle of dairy and bacteria that gives them their living. Tickets are $20 and include lots of tastings as well as a yummy lovely glass of wine. Sonoma Valley Women's Club, 576 First St, E., Sonoma. www.sheanadavis.com.
Davis' event whets appetites for the California Artisan Cheese Festival, scheduled for March 20&–23 at Petaluma's Sheraton Sonoma County. This fest features a marketplace tent, a chef's dinner on Saturday night and seminars. To get advance tix, go to [ http://www.artisancheesefestival.com/ ]www.artisancheesefestival.com.
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