Where's the cheese? As long as you've got an iPhone, you never need wonder again. A new free app called the California Cheese Trail lists the locations of more than 50 artisanal cheesemakers, grouping them by distance from your current location (right now, Sierra Cheese in Compton is only 11.41 miles from my desk; back in a minute).
There's an alphabetical listing of 150 important California cheeses that includes a brief description and some serving and pairing notes. Cypress Grove's Purple Haze is an "unexpected marriage of lavender and wild fennel pollen. Great stuffed in medjool dates, with honey, fresh fruit, a light wheat beer or your favorite Sauvignon Blanc."
The app also includes a section on driving tours that will allow you to visit cheesemakers on the Central Coast, in the Central Valley, Marin County, Sonoma County and the North Coast, and gives information for which dairies hold regular tours and tastings.
There's a calendar that tips you to cheese-related events (frustrating for Southern California -- the closest over the next couple weeks are classes at the Cheese School of San Francisco, 349.43 miles away.)
The app was developed by Vivien Straus, whose family runs Straus Family Creamery, with the assistance of the California Artisan Cheese Guild, the California Milk Advisory Board and the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail.
And fear not Android users, a version for you has been promised later this month.