Dave Viviani switches family food businesses
Longtime scion of the Viviani cheese family, Dave Viviani, participated in the family’s Sonoma Cheese Factory business, which was sold, taken back, and sold again. Dave marketed Sonoma Creamery’s Mr. Cheese O’s, high-end flavored cheese puffs.
But he decided it was time to move along after 50 years in cheese and has found his new Sonoma family with Donny Sebastiani’s U Gottabee Nutz, which includes flavored almonds, pistachios and cashews.
Sebastiani’s product brochure quotes generations of reactions to Sebastiani family new ideas as “You gotta be nuts,” as they did to his new snack business. Hence, U Gottabee Nutz.
So there was Dave Viviani at Sonoma Market the other day lining up his display on Joyce Parsons’ sample table, moving things around and adjusting placement just as we had seen him with Mr. Cheese O’s a few years ago. Now with his main residence in San Francisco’s Marina, Viviani seemed truly happy and stays a few nights a week here in Sonoma as well.
Sonoma Cheese Factory’s remodeled retail store is owned by Viviani sisters and is doing very well.
Saddles Steakhouse spring cleaning
Several Sonoma restaurants closed in January for annual spiff-ups, but Saddles Steakhouse will close for a few days, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday Feb. 5, 6 and 7 for “early spring cleaning.”
Santa Rosa JC Wine Classic
Honoring pasta king Art Ibleto and Worth Our Weight (WOW) founder Evelyn Cheatham, the JC hosts its third annual Wine Classic to raise funds to support the JC’s Wine, Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs, a career training school.
Thirty wineries, including Buena Vista, Kunde and St. Francis from Sonoma Valley, will pour their finest wines to go with ample appetizers prepared by Culinary Arts students and pounds of cheese donated by Oliver’s markets.
Nonagenarian Art Ibleto runs his Art’s Place and pasta stand at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and is known for donating pasta for many nonprofits and political groups, and Evelyn Cheatham is founder of the WOW culinary program for young people and others who need a new start in life. Chris Silva of St. Francis Winery chairs the event. $75 includes parking. 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets before they sell out at srjcwineclassic.com.
Beltane Pruning and Pig Roast Party
Beltane Ranch will host an unusual and fun-sounding learning experience and feast on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beltane will provide rubber boots, a crew T-shirt and pruner so you can join Beltane winemaker Kevin Holt and the Beltane Ranch family and crew for hands-on experience and “friendly competition” with pruning coaches, taste previews of Beltane wines throughout the day, and an Argentine-inspired open fire roasted suckling pig feast.
Beltane executive chef Lauren Kershner will add winter garden vegetables, pineapple, heirloom beans and grilled-on-site handmade tortillas paired with their pre-release estate wines. Live Latin music and bonfire all day, and pruners, rubber boots and crew T-shirt included in ticket price. $135 wine club members, $165 public. Purchase tickets immediately at beltaneranch.com.
What’s brewing with Picazo food truck
Picazo Café’s truck will serve its full menu of burgers and fish and chips on Thursday evenings at Sonoma Springs Brewing Co. starting now, perfect to wash down with the brewery’s just-released wildflower saison beer called “Women Are Smarter!” on tap or in the bottle.