road trip: stemple creek, ramini mozzarella & boccalone


Our guides are experts on all things food. In the spirit of discovery (and eating!), we recently road tripped to explore our region’s deliciousness: including grass-fed meats, delectable cheese and out-of-this-world cured meats.


The journey started at Stemple Creek, a West Marin ranch run by the Poncia family for over a century. Their Angus cattle eat 100% grass, and they also raise lamb. We learned that the fresh ocean air means that the steer can happily munch on organic clover and grass while staying cool—delighted animals in turn means better flavor.

Did you know that there is a California Cheese Trail? Ramini Mozzarella, in Tomales, is worth a visit for cheese and pizza fans. Ramini makes mozzarella the Italian way, from buffalo’s milk, which has nearly two times the fat of cows. Each (beautiful) buffalo weighs around 1,500 pounds, and their diet of hay leads to a sweet and creamy cheese that is a true labor of love!

Our “behind the scenes” stop at the Boccalone production facility in Oakland was a rare treat. Mark Pastore along with plant manager Terry Curley showed our hungry group how they make pork salumi and sausages. One big difference here? Boccalone uses less salt and more time during the curing process, which leads to porky bites that are lighter and even a bit heavenly–yes, you can eat another slice or three!

Lisa Rogovin