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Cheese, bread and wine—a ménage trois like no other. Man has had a very long and fermented love affair with these simple creations dating back more than 10,000 years ago. It’s no surprise that this connection is still very strong and passionate today. I’d like to think it’s a natural human craving to celebrate life, and that’s usually the experience we get when we come together to enjoy these delectable staples—no matter where in the world you may roam.

Pastoral's Artisan Producer Festival

Hi! It’s Atorina Z from Billy Dec’s office inviting you to join me at another epic event this weekend. My mission this Saturday will be to roam the aisles of the Chicago French Market and meet talented culinary artisans from around the globe, taste their products and celebrate with batch food, beer, spirits and wine. Obviously, this experience wouldn’t be complete if it wasn’t shared with someone, so I’m inviting my good mate Hanna to join me on this tasty trek.

Why all the excitement?! Well, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, is coming together with Chicago French Market and the presenting sponsor, Goose Island Beer Company, to host the fourth annual Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival. You can take a whirl around the world in four hours without leaving our beautiful city. And according to Tom Skilling, we can expect considerable sunshine and warmer temps this weekend. I digress, but I’m certain you can understand my eagerness to break out the shorts and sandals.

Nonetheless, this year’s Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival lineup is quite amazing!

rhine hallHere are some highlights:

  • Nearly 100 culinary producers with award-winning cheese makers from across the country
  • National and international artisans who produce Pastoral’s distinctive savory and sweet accompaniments
  • Small batch wines from Napa Valley’s Forlorn Hope Winery and Ohio’s family-owned Firelands Winery among others
  • Farmstead goat’s milk caramels to satisfy your sweet tooth
  • Beers from small batch producers in Germany, Belgium, England and the Netherlands
  • Local breweries to showcase some of the best beers and spirits available
  • More than 20 of Chicago French Market’s acclaimed and award-winning vendors with special tastings and offerings
  • Scheduled stage events and cooking demonstrations with Chicago French Market vendors

In addition, they will have Pinot producers from Oregon to gin distillers in Illinois, to mustard makers in France, to potato chip producers in Virginia. And the list goes on. This year’s festival is truly going to be one of the region’s most extensive events featuring culinary specialties from coast to coast and overseas that you just can’t miss. (Insert my cheesy smile here.)

The festival’s goal is to make shopping for and consuming delicious food and drink enlightening, approachable, fun and delicious for you. Many of the products featured at Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival are sold in the Midwest exclusively at Pastoral.

CTH Pastoral Festival_crowds.jpg



And if that’s not enough to bring you in; the event is entirely free and open to the public! Another reason why I think Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival is distinctive from most national and international culinary events of its kind. So, if you’re free, stop by and kick off your day the right way–the way our ancient ancestors would want us to–with cheese, bread and wine of course! After all, it’s our responsibility to carry on this tradition and make sure it’s preserved for future generations to enjoy. 🙂

Don’t be shy, find me and say hello or just revel in the deliciousness on your own. The festival is this Saturday, April 12th from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Make sure to check out the entire list of producers here and the schedule of events here. For more information, visit

In good health,
Atorina Z.

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