What’s Cheese Rolling? For over 200 years at Cooper’s Hill, near the Gloucester village of Brockworth, the annual Cheese Rolling has been held. And so … what’s a cheese rolling you may ask? It’s an event at which otherwise perfectly normal appearing people line up at the top of an extraordinarily steep hill and hazarding severe injury, chase a 3.5 kilo wheel of Double Gloucester cheese downhill. To what end you may ask? They get to keep the now muddy and often crumbled wheel of cheese. No one knows exactly how long it has been going on. Some say for over 200 years, other’s think it may have ancient pagan roots.
This year you didn’t have to travel to Gloucester, England, or suffer the hazards of Cooprer’s Hill to witness cheese rolling. You could do it from the comfort of the windows of the main room of Mac Arthur Place in Sonoma while enjoying a glass of superlative wine or beer and nibbling on excellent locally made artisan cheeses.
The event was cheese, wine and beer tasting, just one of the events taking place at the tenth annual Artisan Cheese Festival. In addition to the excellent wines, brews and cheeses available for guests to sample, there was a Mac ‘n’ Cheese cook off. I had never thought of Mac ‘n’ Cheese as an upscale gourmet dish before but have you ever thought of this traditional comfort food being made with artisan goat cheeses, or containing artichoke hearts? One superlative entry employed truffles. It was the creation of executive chef Carlo-Alessandro Cavallo of the Martini Oyster Bar & Grille in Sonoma. It was truly a party in the mouth!
Although Sonoma, in fact Northern California in general, is usually thought of for fine wines, we can also be proud of our micro breweries and brew pubs. Those participating in yesterday’s event were truly outstanding.
The excellent participating local artisan cheese makers, boutique breweries and wineries were too numerous to mention here, however this is a list of the participants. All are worthy of your attention.
And just in case you needed entertainment beyond partaking of the taste treats being offered, you could watch Sonoma’s much tamer version of cheese rolling, far, far tamer than the traditional Gloucester Cheese Rolling.
For more information and cheese recipes you may enjoy reading these articles:
A Firelight Fondue Supper,
February is National Fondue Month, and
Winter Artisan Cheese Conference.