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Kathleen Hill: SIFF food and wine films

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This year’s Sonoma International Film festival will feature at least 12 food and wine related films, all of which this writer will have the honor and privilege to “present” to audiences. This is the greatest number of food and beverage related movies to be shown at SIFF. Having begged for a venue for these films for a good 20 years, we find this is a very exciting trend. Everyone eats and many of us seem to fantasize and learn about food, wine and other beverage processes and stories.

Those of us who are food and wine fans will enjoy a food and wine film orgy at the upcoming Sonoma International Film Festival, Wednesday, March 21 through Sunday, March 25.

The opening night film on Wednesday was “Back to Burgundy” about three siblings trying to save the family vineyard, and the closing film, and the closing night film on Sunday is “Chef,” an Indian remake of a 2014 film of the same title, about a chef who attempts to mend his relationship with his son by opening a restaurant.

Delicious Shorts to be yummy

There actually is a film package called “Delicious Shorts,” a collection of short films about food and wine to be shown together on Thursday, March 22 at 2 p.m. at Burlingame Hall, sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, and again on Friday, March 23 at the House of Docs & Shorts at the Veterans Building.

To accompany the Delicious Shorts, Sonoma caterers Wild Thyme will prepare bacon, greens and goat cheese tarts to go with the Irish film, “Bacon & Onions”;, smoked trout and Chioggia beets with sour cream sorrel sauce with “The Chef in the Palace,” from Poland; Spanish Chorizo on crusty white bread with roast pepper garnish with the Spanish film, “Excellence,” and Persian saffron rice pudding with “Saffron: The Search for the Red Gold,” from Germany.

Chef Deborah Dal Fovo, who will talk briefly about the tours she leads to Trentino, will bring polenta carbonera (polenta with sausage and Fontina cheese) from Trentino-Alto Adige, the subject of one of the shorts, “The Miracle of Alto Adige,” an Italian film about a remote part of Italy that produces unusually good wine that hardly anyone has heard of.

Feature-length food films at this year’s SIFF will include “Grand Cru, in which winemaker Pascal Marchand faces France’s horrible 2018 season; “The Quest of Alain Ducasse,” a tasty tour of Ducasse’s best restaurants; “Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft,” the renowned chef’s story from Howard Johnson’s to changing the course of American food (along with Julia Child and James Beard), “Patisserie Coin de Rue,” a film about how cake can heal; “Food on the Go,” which features adaptations of Italian food to American tastes; “Jimami Tofu,” in which a Singaporean chef and Japanese food critic bond and heal over ancient cuisine; and “Off the Menu,” in which a spunky female chef falls for arrogant chain fast food heir. sonomafilmfest.org.

Other food-centric movies this year include “Atlantic Salmon – Lost at Sea,” about the plight of Atlantic salmon on the west coast of Britain and the east coast of Canada; and “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” which tells how chefs improve the world climate to create a more secure food system.

And the ultimate wine film, “Andre – the Voice of Wine,” on the ultimate wine mentor and guide, Andre Tchelistcheff, will be screened only once, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Sebastiani Theatre.

Artisan Cheese Festival this weekend

The California Artisan Cheese Festival has moved from a hotel on the river in Petaluma to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, with the Bubbles & Brunch and the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace on Sunday, March 25. The whole festival runs Friday through Sunday, March 23 through 25.

The multi-course brunch features a cheese-centric cooking demonstration by Chef Sergio Monleón of La Marcha, a Spanish tapas bar in Berkeley, bubbles by Sonoma’s Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, and early admission into the main event of the day, the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace.

Both events will take place at the festival’s new, bigger location, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Santa Rosa. The weekend festival features an array of seminars, tours and tastings. Tickets are now available at www.artisancheesefestival.com.

All of the artisanal tours are sold out, but there is plenty of room in most of the seminars.

The only seminar sold out features cheese expert and columnist Janet Fletcher (Planetcheese.com), paired with Arnaud Weyrich, winemaker and vice president of production for Roederer Estate. Our loss.

The Sunday brunch, created by Chef Sergio Monleón of the popular La Marcha Spanish tapas bar in Berkeley will include piquillo peppers filled with Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog cheese and a salad, followed by an open-faced Croque Madame with pork confit, Nicasio Valley Reserve cheese, a fried egg with Mornay sauce made with Cowgirl Creamery cheese, and a Bellwether Farms cheesecake with fruit compote. $125. 9:30 to 11 a.m., Saralee & Richard’s Barn at Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

The Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace on Sunday afternoon will feature more than 100 artisan cheese and specialty food producers, winemakers, and brewers of beer and cider.

Some of the cheesemakers offering tastes will be Achadinha, Beehive, Bellwether Farms, Chevoo, Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove, Fiscalini, Laura Chenel’s and Marin French Cheese, Nicasio Valley, Pennyroyal, Point Reyes Farmstead, Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese, and Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery.

Watch for several chocolate and olive oil makers, cookbooks, Culture magazine, Jimtown Store, Rustic Bakery, and many more. All info and tickets at artisancheesefestival.com.