If the concentration patterns of food blogs indicates anything, it's that the Bay Area generates as many (or more!) verbose, opinionated eaters as NYC...and for good reason! Wine, olive oil, and endless vegetal bounty pops up out of the very ground; Kumamoto and Hama Hama oysters KILL Blue Points and Malpeques (I'm sorry! I heart NY, but the Pacific Ocean just plain TASTES BETTER)...and then there's the cheese.
This Effing Foodie was trying to keep things relatively local (or at least on the Eastern seaboard), but:
A) Readers from the sunnier coast need cheese, too!
B) Surely it wouldn't be a Very Queso Christmas without a Cowgirl (or two).
Enter Sue Conley and Peggy Smith: founders of the Cowgirl Creamery, both of these ladies did serious time as successful chefs in the Bay Area restaurant circuit before zooming in on their mutual distraction with the magic of curd. In the last ten years, they've won multiple awards with their babies: the buttery MT. TAM (alas, currently sold out!); the intriguing, washed-rind funk of superstar Red Hawk; and their wintertime specialty, Pierce Pt., adorned in spices and bathed in muscat wine.
All of the above are made with local, organic, pasteurized cow's milk--score another one for the impregnated, immune-suppressed or otherwise squeamish who refuse to skimp on taste.
There's oodles of other regional AND international cheeses, goodies and baskets to choose from; a cheese club with varying degrees of commitment and global-queso-coverage; and a handy-dandy online cheesecylopedia for all of your quick-click reference needs.
If you're lucky enough to be in the area, take a tour of the glassed-in creamery at Point Reyes before loading down with cheese--the Cowgirls like nothing better than to educate the curious.
As for poky, desk-bound, East Coast quesophiles? Take a virtual tour, and allow yourself to get giddy about the mailman coming.