I should have known that when my ultimate food friend, Melanie, invited me to her house in Cloverdale this weekend that the days would be filled with chowing my way through Sonoma County. When not hanging out at her house chatting by the fire and drinking delicious wine, we were cruising the county having nibbles and bites in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Cloverdale and the surrounding areas.
"Can you leave work at 2:30," she asked via email late last week, "I'd like to get to the Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg by 4:30pm for the half-price markdown."
On the way to Healdsburg, we exited Highway 101 to avoid traffic and came to our first stop: Joe Matos Cheese Factory. The Matos family sells their St. George's cheese to many cheese stores and restaurants in the Bay Area and their unassuming "retail store" (consisting of a wheel of cheese and a loud bell announcing customers) is located in Santa Rosa. The cheese is a bargain at $7 per pound, and I bought a large $10 slice for our weekend. This is a delicious cheese. Cowgirl Creamery's Library of Cheese describes the St. George as a "full-flavored cow milk cheese with a cheddary depth and a rich texture."