From Bellwether Farms in Petaluma bellweathercheese.com
Crescenza: This buttery, soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese is slightly tart and yeasty. We spread it over grilled or toasted bread and feature it in a trio of crostini along with warm chanterelles and Picholine Olive Tapenade.
Fromage Blanc: This fresh, smooth cow’s milk cheese is wonderfully tangy like chèvre but without the goat flavor. We spread it on croutons and spoon it over a peperonata or Greek pizza and spread on grilled bread with a sprinkling of chives.
Pecorino Pepato: Made in the pecorino style with ray sheep’s milk, this lovely soft cheese is studded with hole peppercorns and aged for two to three months.
Ricotta: We feature two different ricottas here–one from sheep’s milk and the other from Jersey cow milk, prized for its rich flavor and golden color. Both are light and sweet but the cow’s milk ricotta is unforgettably buttery and creamy.
From Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station cowgirlcreamery.com
Fromage Blanc: This tangy fresh cheese is made with Straus organic milk in the French style. It makes an incredibly delicious cheese cake and a fantastic open-faced sandwich with juicy heirloom tomatoes and whole leaves of opal basil.
Mt. Tam: Named for beautiful, rugged Mount Tamalpais–which we can see from our dining room windows just across the Bay–this mold-ripened, triple cream cheese can be paired iwth all kinds of flavors.
St. Pats: This mellow, soft whole milk cheese is wrapped in stinging nettle leaves giving it a little kick and hint of artichoke flavor.
Red Hawk: This triple cream cheese is washed in a brine solution as it ages. Its rind has a pale hit of orange color. If left to ripen it becomes slightly runny and all the more delicious.
From Laura Chenel’s Chèvre in Sebastopol
Chef’s Chèvre: This fresh, tangy chèvre is easy to spread so it’s great for sandwiches and crostini.
Chèvre: This exceptional cheese got us hooked on baked goat cheese but it’s also great crumbled over pasta or into a wilted spinach salad.
Cabecou: These little rounds of netty, aged chèvre are packed in extra-virgin olive oil. We serve it with warm almonds, olives and thick slices of spicy piquillo peppers.
From Redwood Hill Farm in Sebastopol redwoodhill.com
California Crottin: These little rounds of goat cheese with the soft rind are intensely flavored. They’re soft and creamy when they’re young and grow firmer as they age.
Bucharet: A little larger than the crottin, this dense, buttery rind-ripened cheese is inspired by the French Bucheron.
Camellia: This small Camembert-style goat cheese with a bloomy rind is named for a favorite, all white do, Camellia, a champion milk producer. Aged six to eight weeks, it grows softer ad riper as it matures.
From Vella Cheese Company in Sonoma
Vella Dry Jack: This exceptional cow’s milk cheese is made just like Monterey jack, then covered with oil, cocoa and black pepper and aged for almost three years. The result is a hard, yellow cheese with a sweet nutty flavor.
Mezzo Secco: A creamy, young version of Dry jack, Mezzo Secco meals half dry; it is aged for six months.
From the Giacomini family in Point Reyes Station: pointreyescheese.com
Original Blue: This tangy, creamy blue cheese is full flavored with clear blue veins throughout. It is perfect crumbled over bitter greens with juicy, ripe pears and toasted pecans.
From the Matos family in Santa Rosa: through cowgirlcreamery.com
Saint George Cheddar: This Luscious aged cheddar is similar to a sharp New York cheddar–balanced and full of rich flavor.
From Mytime Ranch in Eureka capriciouscheese.com
Capricious: This sensational cheddar-like goat cheese is great for shaving over a salad of grilled figs and endive or crumbled into baked pasta or a rich tomato bisque.