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How to do the Bay Area cheese trail
Dusted with ground mushrooms, you say?

Wine country? We did that last weekend. Next on our to-do list: cheese country.

Many of the California Cheese Trail’s 30 farmsteads offer tours, tastings and classes. And while you could choose your own adventure with this handy downloadable map or iPhone and Android app, we think you should take our word for it and check out these five spots on the trail.

Start at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, where the Lafranchi family has been making Swiss-style cheeses for five years. Taste their award-winning Foggy Morning, a soft cheese with a subtle tang. Next, head to Cowgirl Creamery for a tour that includes a curd-making demo and tasting. The rich, Brie-like Mt. Tam is to die for.

Hop over to the Giacomini family’s Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, known for its pungent Original Blue. Splurge on an all-day cheese-making class, where you’ll make your own ricotta and mascarpone.

Animal lovers will enjoy the monthly tour at Barinaga Ranch, where you’ll visit baby lambs and watch an afternoon milking. Try the nutty raw-milk Txiki. Finally, wind your way up to Ramini Mozzarella, known for its Italian-style mozzarella from the ranch’s very own water buffalo. Stay for optional playtime at the farm’s “calf town.”

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