We love cheese! Who will drive us around to eat a lot of it?
June 24, 2013 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Mrs. Arbac and I will be up in the Bay Area this coming weekend. We had hoped to take a Cheese/Wine tour through West Marin Food and Farm Tours after reading about them in a recent newspaper article. But sadly, they're all booked up for Sunday June 30th and their tour starts a little too early on Saturday to make it up to Marin from SFO Saturday morning. Does anyone have recommendations for an alternative tour operator?
posted by Arbac to Travel & Transportation around Petaluma, CA (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Can you contact those cheese creameries directly about visiting? Then rent a car and take a self-tour in Napa and/or Sonoma? Should be ways to do this, although obviously it's different than a backstage-pass/red-carpet ensemble. I greatly enjoyed my own wineries tour, and found cheese enough along the way, but if your priorities are the reverse, try to line up some creameries and then end at some fab restaurant with a good wine list...
posted by acm at 10:52 AM on June 24, 2013

As an alternative to touring, I'd recommend coming to the Cheese Board in Berkeley. Big selection, knowledgeable staff, and a Berkeley institution.
posted by zippy at 1:24 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Napa is easy to navigate. Agree with the recommendation to rent a car and tool around the countryside at your leisure. I'd suggest stopping by Oxbow Market in Napa. If you want more Bay Area options, drop by the Farmers Market & Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building in SF, Mission Cheese in SF, and the Cheese Board in Berkeley.
posted by hampanda at 6:07 PM on June 24, 2013

Just a traffic warning: Pride is Sunday, and Market street will be closed for hours, so getting across the city may be even more challenging than usual, depending on your route. The Dyke March is Saturday evening, so steer clear of the Mission (around Dolores Park/Valencia/18th to Market and Castro) if you're driving.
posted by rtha at 7:22 PM on June 24, 2013

Best answer: You need the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail. It's self-guided, so you don't need to worry about meeting up with a group at a specific time, though obviously you will miss out on some of the inside info the guide could provide. I've seen maps at the Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station.

West Marin is a special, beautiful place -- I can't recommend heading out there enough. While you may taste the same cheese at a shop in San Francisco or Berkeley, it's just wouldn't be the same experience. Meandering through the cow-dotted hills is such a happy thing. If you do have a couple extra hours, try to check out a bit of Point Reyes National Seashore. The drive to Drake's Beach is about 40 minutes from the park entrance, but the scenery is spectacular and well worth it (though it can get quite foggy this time of year).

It's too bad you can't do the West Marin Farm Tour -- I did it when she was just starting it up and it was wonderful. One non-cheese place we visited was Marin Sun Farms, which is a butcher shop/restaurant. Their lamb burger is awesome. Also, definitely try to hit Point Reyes Farmstead if they're open -- their blue cheese is famous around here, and the Toma is excellent as well.

If you are not totally stuffed and like ice cream, hit up Fairfax Scoop on your way back to San Francisco. It's just off of Sir Francis Drake and so, so worth waiting in line.

Don't forget a coat! It's chilly out there.
posted by imalaowai at 10:15 PM on June 24, 2013

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