A Little Slice of heaven
Marin County Foodie Itinerary
Upon my first visit to Marin County, it was only seconds before I fell in love with the area. The food. The people. The farms. The nature. It is truly the perfect place for a foodie oriented NorCal weekender, and I can promise you will not regret making the trek. Since my first road trip to this beautiful sanctuary, I have had the pleasure of visiting a handful of times, and I believe I have compiled the perfect itinerary for all the MUST see places in this charming area, from Tomales Bay to Fairfax and everywhere in between.
What to Do
This list of recommendations is foodie focused, with lots of cheese tours at the forefront but I think that is truly what this place has to offer. When you go to Napa, you drink wine. When you visit Marin, you buckle down and eat some brie. Thus, here are my favorite places to do so.
Fall in love with Tomales Farmstead Creamery.
I could go on for days about this place and the people. There is an overflowing sense of love and purpose that goes into creating the best cheese in the world, and Tomales Farmstead Creamery has nailed it. The farm has goats, sheep, and chickens roaming wild on the beautiful rolling green hills in remote Tomales Bay, and they have tours and food tastings on certain weekends every month. With private chefs from San Fran who come in to wine and dine you, with short breaks for goat cuddles and sheep kisses, this place is truly a slice of heaven. The owner, Tamra, is an angel with a breadth of knowledge about the area and a deep love for artisan creameries. In few words, she gets it. I highly recommend reserving a tour of the farm, and trying their cheeses — namely Kenne, Atika, and Teleeka, and stocking up on butter to bring home (just trust me) and prepare to have the day of your dreams.Note : Take a stop in the town of Tomales after visiting the farm. Piezza Provisions has a delicious jam, and the local bakery is known for the freshest baguettes, which pairs well with a weekend of cheese eating.
Indulge in a petite breakfast brie at Marin French Cheese Company.
The oldest creamery in the country. That’s right. This is where the legends of American brie came to be. This little cheese shop is the perfect place to pick up all your necessities for a cheeseboard during your trip. They have a wide variety of Petite Bries, with some of my favorites being the Jalapeño Brie, Truffle Brie, and of course Petite Breakfast Brie. They also have all the other things you’ll need to get jamming on the perfect spread, from Rustic Bakery Salty crackers, to jams of all varieties. If you can’t help yourself, you can enjoy the cheeses by the beautiful pond with picnic tables to pair. This spot is a must see, for true cheese lovers.
Drink mead wine and feel the “buzz” at Heidrun Meadery.
Did you know wine doesn’t have to be made from grapes? Introducing Heidrun Meadery… one of the oldest meaderies in the country, where they turn a variety of local honeys into delicious mead wines. Heidrun Meadery is a hidden treasure, where you can enjoy a wine tasting on the property where the magic happens. During the summer, their wildflowers give the property a whole new look, with flowers of every color spanning the fields and bees buzzing happily. I recommend arranging an afternoon tasting and enjoy the floral notes in the different sparkling wines on the picnic tables, where you can soak up the sun, and enjoy local flavors(BYOC: bring your own cheeseboard) if you please.Note: You NEED to try their actual honeys, and trust me, you will fall in love with the California Orange Blossom. It literally tastes like marshmallows.
Get an epic grilled cheese pull at Cowgirl Creamery.
The original Cowgirl Creamery where the beauty of Mt. Tam began many years ago. This spot is nestled into the small but mighty town of Point Reyes Station where you will find few people, but always a line out the door of Cowgirl. This spot is a must see for my cheese lovers, so come hungry. Their small menu has classic items that showcase their variety of cheeses and my absolute favorite is the ooey gooey perfection of a grilled cheese. Pick up some cheeses, namely the must haves are Mt. Tam, Red Hawk (its funky) and Hop Along. Thank me later.
Take a drive to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
This is the iconic drive that you dream of in movies. Open roads with green rolling hills on either side. Cows roaming. No people to be seen. Just you and the road. There is no reception so download your songs for the drive, and have a killer playlist. After about 35 minutes on a beautiful winding road, with unbelievable vistas and photo worthy moments around every corner, you’ll arrive to the lighthouse. Warning: every time I have been here its been beyond windy, so bring a jacket. The photos will be postcard worthy, undoubtedly.Note: The best sandwich of my ENTIRE life was enjoyed at the Inverness Park Market. It is a deadly double decker chicken salad sandwich with bacon, and this delectable sauce. I dream of it on a semi weekly basis. YOU NEED TO COME HERE.Note: You will pass the Cypress Tree Tunnel which is worth the photo and a second to bask in its glory.
Enjoy an epic lunch at Valley Ford Cheese Company.
If you’re looking for a fun stop for lunch, look no further. This spot has a small menu that hits every craving you’re looking for — thick milkshakes, the fanciest sandwiches you’ll ever enjoy, and so much more. The atmosphere is a special place, with a walk up counter and a bar to sit at while you enjoy your food, or a nice area in the back. They have a small cooler where you can try their cheeses — my favorite being Estero Gold, if you like a hard, buttery cheese, that is to die for.
Understand the meaning of artisan cheeses at Bohemian Creamery.
This little spot is a cheese lovers paradise. The owner, Web, has poured his heart and soul into creating some of the most unique cheeses I have ever tried. This spot is worth the trek to Sebastopol, where you can spend an hour or so indulging in a cheese tasting led by Web . I fell in love with Cowabunga, a pseudo burnt Basque cheesecake inspired cheese, as well as Flower Power, which has actual bee pollen on top. Bohemian Creamery epitomizes the word “artisan”, as each cheese is a labor of love. Please, please, please, trust me and stop here.Note: there are a BUNCH of wineries in this area, so it would be easy to pop over to a winery before/after your visit.
Where To Stay
Our trip was spent venturing through a vast range of areas, from farmland visits to slurping oysters in the bay, so we only spent evenings and mornings at our place. I have stayed at a variety of AirBNBs in the area which I think is the best way to go and enjoy the area. Fairfax is a great location to be, with access to a super organic grocery store, Good Earth, (Think Erewhon meets NorCal) and quaint local restaurants with a town square if you don’t want to fully send countryside living.
The Fairfax AirBNB has the cutest kitchen straight out of the 70s, and this quirky cottage was the perfect place for our small group.
My next visit, we stayed at another small AirBNB perfect for two, which was beautifully located and was driving distance to the sweetest chapel in Nicasio Valley. This one was a bit more remote and private, but there is no kitchen, so keep that in mind!
Lastly, the Tomales Farmstead Creamery AirBNB property stole my heart from the moment I set eyes on it. It is an active working farm, with a beautiful expansive farmhouse located right in the middle of all the action, but once you’re inside you feel right at home. This house has room for 10 people, and is so tastefully decorated I truly fell in love with it, from the movie projector scene in the living room, to the pizza oven outside, and the wooden fridge in the kitchen, what is not to love?
I could truly go on for days about how special of a place Marin County is. It’s the birthplace of a lot of greatness for our cheesy community and a breeding ground of creativity for cheesemakers. This place is filled with people who understand food, and appreciate greatness. I believe that cheese tastes better when happy cows are producing it, and that is beyond evident when you step foot on these farms. If you’re looking for a fun place for a weekend away, please consider visiting Marin, and indulging in some foodie goodness, unplugging from your devices, and soaking up every second of this little slice of heaven.
There is immense work being done to help support these artisan creameries, and if you’re interested in learning more about the backbone of good cheese in California, visit CAcheesetrail.org for more information.