Springtime with warm picnic weather, graduations and family fun! Yes, bring on the cheese!  

We asked Chrissy, a certified cheese professional at Whole Foods Market (yes, those exist!) to share some of her favorite cheeses along the California Cheese Trail. Here are her top three picks:

San Joaquin Gold 

A farmstead cow’s milk cheese made in Modesto, California, by Fiscalini Farms. It’s a raw-milk cheese that uses microbial rennet, an ideal method for vegetarians. The cheese is reminiscent of parmesan — it’s nutty, salty and slightly sweet with a thin, natural rind. Pair this cheese with Rustic Bakery’s Organic Olive Oil on Sal Gris Flatbreads along with an IPA, and you will have the start of a beautiful picnic.

Chabis

The Laura Chenel Chabis, made in Sonoma County, is a creamy, delicate, flavorful goat-milk cheese with a slightly tart finish. It’s even vegetarian friendly! In 2018, the cheese won a Gold Medal at the California Exposition State Fair in the Fresh Goat Cheese category. For dessert, try pairing it with Charles Chocolates Candied Lemon and Hazelnut Bittersweet Chocolate. Paired together, they’re a perfect to end a meal. Consider your guests impressed.

Nicasio Square

A cow’s milk cheese, Nicasio Square is made by the Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. This cheese is a young version of a Taleggio and is washed in brine that imparts a garlicky bacon flavor. Pair this cheese with charcuterie and a hoppy beer for an extraordinary appetizer or spread generously on a baguette with a slice of Fra’ Mani Salametto. You truly cannot go wrong.

If you weren’t excited about cheese before, just a taste of one of these is likely to change your mind.  All locally sourced from Northern California, all cared for by the team at Whole Foods Market, they’re delicious and completely unique. Oh, and did we mention they’re on sale? Cheese platter dreams, realized.