Sunset highlights Epicurean Connection; Vintage Festival begins tonight
Fashion in the Vineyards; Brown signs food bill; Heirloom Expo reflections
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The October issue of Sunset magazine honors Sheana Davis’ Epicurean Connection, along with Berkeley’s Cheese Board, under Northern California cheesemongers in its top 50 food shops in the west. As a result of her appearance at Kendall-Jackson’s tomato festival a couple of weeks ago, Mario Batali will now serve Davis’ Delice de la Vallee and Le Trois de Fromage at his Eataly restaurant in New York. Thomas Keller already serves them at The French Laundry in Yountville.
Also featured in Sunset with a large photo on page one and two other photos is Proof bakery of Los Angeles, owned by our son Mack Hill’s girlfriend, Na Young Ma. Ma is having to limit the number of croissants you can buy, with along hundreds of creative sandwiches baked and made daily and sold out early. Congratulations to all.
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival opens tonight, Sept. 28, with its “Full Moon Magic Opening Night Gala,” formerly known as “Patron’s Night,” at the Barracks on Spain Street. Among the groups benefiting from all Vintage Festival events this year will be our school garden project.
This year, food tastings will come from Sonoma’s former Artisan Bakers, Basque Boulangerie, Cold Stone Creamery, Homegrown Bagels, HopMonk Sonoma, Mary’s Pizza Shack, Maya Restaurant, Olde Sonoma Public House, Rancho Viejo, Saddles Steakhouse, Sonoma Cheese Factory, Sonoma Cake Creations, Sweet Rose Desserts, The Epicurean Connection, the girl & the fig, The Red Grape, Vella Cheese and Wild Bill’s BBQ Catering.
Wineries pouring way outweigh food vendors, so pace yourself. Nearly 50 wineries will share their best, ranging from large corporate owned wineries to some of our tiniest sought-after cult wine producers. All this plus rocking music from Wonderbread 5. $65. 6 p.m. 996-2109 or sonomavinfest.org.
Community Café’s Annex Wine Bar hosts a bargain winemaker dinner tonight, Sept. 28, featuring Peter Possert and a menu of roasted heirloom beet salad with spinach, chèvre and toasted pecans; rosemary crusted rack of lamb with potatoes and fresh veggie bundles; and dark chocolate ganache and shortbread tart with cherry wine sauce, all served with Buccio and Gain Bay wines. $49.95 or $44.95 wine club “pardners.” 6:30 to 9 p.m. RSVP quickly to 938-7779.
Michael Ghilarducci (Depot Hotel Restaurant), Steve Mailho and Mark Birch will release their Ghilarducci reserve cabernet sauvignon and fumé blanc Saturday, Sept. 29, with wine and a grand buffet of pork roast, penne pasta with wild mushrooms, Tuscan roast chicken, sausages with pepper and polenta, calamari salad, tuna with red onions and white beans, tomato and mozzarella salad, potato salad with green beans, focaccia, cheeses and Gia’s Tuscan olive oil cake. Prizes and wine discounts. Another bargain. $38. 6 p.m. 241 First St. W., Sonoma Call 938-2980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Television chef Tyler Florence has already closed his shop on Main Street in downtown Napa, leaving one in Mill Valley, where he lives.
Our Boys & Girls Club supporters will stage its annual “Fashion in the Vineyards,” tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 29, this year a sumptuous brunch and fashion show at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.
Local designers participating include Sonoma Old School with kids’ fashions and Julie Schindler, with the main show produced and sponsored by designers Helen Lyall and her son, Scott Lyall of Napa, with tuxedos from Eraldi’s Menswear and eyewear from the new Rika Optique on Broadway.
The fun begins with ramos fizzes, champagne and bloody Marys and canapés served from 11 a.m. to noon. The “family-style” brunch includes mini sticky pecan buns, almond and chocolate croissants, mini blueberry and raspberry scones, lemon poppy seed muffins, Myers dark rum brioche French toast; smoked salmon, cream cheese and lox with bagels; sun dried tomato frittata, bacon, country potatoes, grilled half grapefruits, coffee and wine.
Models probably not indulging in those splendors will include Eva Bertran, Ken Brown, Michelle Dale, Danny Fay, Cynthia Lema, Dusty Niles, Valerie Pistole Walter, Laura St. Leger Barter, Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, Jackie Stubbs, Lisa Carlsson, Deborah Emery, Marck Zuehlsdorff, Forrest Emery, Dr. John Emery, Greg Nemrow and Gary Saperstein.
Daryle Baldwin, Laura Cassotta, Martin Routhier, Leslie Tipple, Carolina Salmonsen, Annette Dana, Gabriel Lerma, Cynthia J. Frank and Stephanie Dunn will model Julie Schindler’s designs. $125. Call 938-8544, ext. 120, or email email@example.com for tickets.
Women for WineSense president Christine Mueller led a smashing wine and food tasting and panel discussion last week at the Napa Valley Museum, festooned with a fascinating exhibit of nonagenarians who made great agricultural changes in the Napa Valley.
Along with excellent hors d’oeuvres by Kinyon! Catering, ranging from smoked lox to tasty meatballs and chocolates from Le Belge, Sonoma wines were poured by Ty Caton of Ty Caton Cellars’ Tytanium red and Priscilla Cohen of Moondance Cellars’ Orchard Station Winery’s sauvignon blanc.
Other interesting wines came from Trattore Estate, Twenty Rows, Diamond Mountain-Dyer Vineyard and Lagier Meredith.
Guests heard fascinating remarks from panelists Dawnine Dyer, longtime winemaker at Domaine Chandon and now of Meteor Vineyard; Dr. Carole Meredith, U.C. Davis professor emerita and vine DNA expert with Lagier Meredith Vineyard; Master Sommelier Andea Immer Robinson and first female “Best Sommelier in America;” Tasting Panel magazine editor Deborah Parker Wong; and Vineyard & Winery Management magazine editor Tina Caputo as moderator.
WWS’ silent auction raised a few thousand dollars for their scholarship fund, with local Susan Idell of Idell Family Wines winning the coveted signed book by Andrea Robinson.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1616 (The California Homemade Food Act) on Friday, making it legal to make some foods and baked goods at home and sell them to stores, restaurants and consumers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the products someone can make at home and sell include “’non-potentially hazardous food’ such as bread, fruit pies, jams, honey, dried nuts and other goods that don’t involve cream or meat ingredients.”
Home food producers will have to take “food processor course, label their goods and, depending on who they’re selling to, undergo inspections and registrations with the local health department.”
This allows lots of home entrepreneurs to have a chance to profit from their talents without paying for expensive certified kitchen time. The bill was opposed, in part, by large producers and those already with licenses.
Kate Eilertsen and Michael Muscardini hosted one of Sonoma Valley Art Museum’s “Great Places, Great Spaces” fundraising events Saturday evening at their hillside home with windows framing the natural art that is the Bay Area and wood framing great works of art
Judy and Les Vadasz, Darius Anderson, Martha and Steve Rosenblatt, Martha’s high school best friend from Chicago Donna and Les Pinsoff, museum board president Gerrett Snedaker and Diane Krause, Kathe and Fred Hodgson, Marion Davies Lewis and Valerie Areldt, Julia Rowe and Ron Kahn, Chip and Jeanne Allen, Jackie Lee, Bob Van Breda, Jill Spencer and Dean Schultz, Tim Mott and Pegan Brooke, Simon Blattner, Margie Maynard, and Pat and Patty Mathews all enjoyed exceptional Johnson’s oysters from The Oyster Girls, and other appetizers from Rob Larman, with no pulled pork for a change.
Larman’s crew served terrific Hamachi tartare spoons, tasty grilled Wolf Ranch quail breast skewers, pan-seared padron peppers with Celtic grey salt, wild mushroom croustades with porcini aioli, French dip sliders and large spoons filled with chocolate pudding and whipped cream. Eilertsen organized a popular art treasure hunt around the house, with Margie Maynard the big winner.
Speaking of Muscardini and his winery, Michael and Ty Caton will host their fifth and final anniversary together Saturday, Sept. 29, at their joint tasting room in Kenwood. Great discounts, great food by Ty’s mother Sandy Caton and music by Chris Hanlon. Wine club members free, public $15 advance, $20 at door. 5 to 8 p.m. 8910 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. RSVP to 933-9305.
Deborah and Dr. John Emery and Troy and Penny Aldrich staged probably the most dramatic and elegant wedding around here in a long time last weekend. Set at the Emerys’ new home off Arnold Drive, complete with a new cupola under which the wedding took place, and a new fountain in their parking turn-around cum dining room for 300, guests enjoyed a ceremony performed by Tim Boeve uniting John Edward Emery Jr. and Jamie Lee Aldrich.
Laura Benward sang gorgeously, John Benward played mandolin, Brazilian jazz expert Stephanie Ozer played piano, Aaron Fidler played the violin (can that be true?), and Crossfire played dance music around the pool after dinner until the wee hours.
While we learned at a regional Slow Food meeting and luncheon a week ago at Atwood Ranch that the Slow Food national office in Brooklyn just received a $1.3 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation, Reuters relays Consumer Reports’ study that suggests Kellogg’s Rice Krispies may contain too much “inorganic arsenic,” as might Gerber’s baby cereals.
The report suggests we stick to organic rice of every kind on the premise that conventional rice purchased at even the “purest” chain groceries may contain too much arsenic. The Environmental Working Group suggests that we mix quinoa, barley, grits, couscous or bulgur wheat into our diets.
For some of us a highlight of the recent Heirloom Expo advocating “pure food” was Sonoma Valley’s own Valley Girls Foodstuffs, an outgrowth of Sonoma Valley Teen Services, led and financed by State Farm insurance agent and chef Anea Kamahele.
The Teen Center girls are using local foods to create sauces, mustards, chutneys, syrups, dried fruits and yummy cookies as part of their “social purpose business.”
To Kamahele and the Valley Girls, that means helping kids learn work skills, offering kids work, teaching them about food and food systems, getting together and eating the food they make, and going into gardens, fields and farmers markets to get up close and personal with good food. Funds go to Sonoma Valley Teen Services Skills for Life programs. Check it out at firstname.lastname@example.org or valleygirlsgoodstuffs.com.
Did anyone else who went to the Heirloom Expo notice how un-“pure” many food vendor booths were?
Join me and guest florist Daisy Rose (another one of those “Really?” names) at The Epicurean Connection on Monday, Oct. 1, to enjoy edible flower arrangements, Tisane, herbed cheese, garden edibles and more. $20. 6 to 8 p.m. 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma. 935-7960. sheanadavis.com.
Vintage House will hold a fundraising “Oktoberfest” Friday, Oct. 5, featuring appetizers, Applewood smoked brats, red cabbage from Helen Rowntree, hot German potato salad (for hot Germans), Black Forest cherry cake from Scandia bakery, and Armando Ceja’s new amber Oktoberfest brew from Schellville. Wines available by the glass, raffle tickets $20. All to continue and expand services for our older adults. $50. 6 p.m. 264 First St. E., Sonoma. Reservations at 996-0311.