A la carte: Distilled spirits festival heads up February fun in Sonoma County

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ROHNERT PARK

Spirits in the air

Sonoma County’s growing distilled spirits industry will be celebrated during the first annual Wine Country Distillery Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Sally Tomatoes event venue.

The afternoon includes distilled spirits, craft beverages and local food bites plus a cocktail competition and live music. Tickets are $50 ($90 per couple) and $10 for designated drivers. The proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Social Advocates for Youth.

To reserve: poppyandvine.life. 1100 Valley House Drive.

NOVATO

Tasting in the dark

HopMonk Tavern and Senspoint Design have teamed up to present Tasting in the Dark with blind sensory expert Dr. Hoby Wedler at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the HopMonk Tavern Novato.

Guests will be greeted with a light beer as they arrive, then will blindfold themselves and engage in a one-hour sensory journey through aroma samples and selected styles of beer led by Wedler, who has been completely blind since birth. Bites to cleanse the palate will be provided.

The tasting costs $55, including tax and tip. To reserve: wl.seetickets.us

HopMonk Tavern Novato is located at 224 Vintage Way.

GLEN ELLEN

Dinner under the stars

B. R. Cohn will host an intimate Valentine’s Dinner catered by the girl & the fig at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Glen Ellen winery’s covered pavilion.

Guests are greeted with sparkling wine and passed hors d’oeuvres, then sit down to a three-course menu of Roasted Beet Salad, Braised Short Ribs with Black Truffle Risotto and Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart, all paired with wine.

Tickets are $120. to reserve: brcohn.com. 15000 Sonoma Highway.

SANTA ROSA

Pick up a beer passport

After waiting in line for Pliny the Younger, you may build up a mighty thirst.

During February, you may want to pick up a Santa Rosa Beer passport at one of a dozen breweries in Santa Rosa as well as Wilibees, Brew and the California Welcome Center in Santa Rosa.

Take your passport to at least nine of the participating breweries (no purchase necessary) and then bring it to the California Welcome Center to choose a prize ranging from a bottle opener to a beer stein.

The Welcome Center is located at 9 Fourth St. in Historic Railroad Square.

SONOMA

Dinner to go

Ramekins Culinary School will cook for you and your sweetie on Valentine’s Day so you can dine in the peace and quiet of your own home, without vying for a reservation.

The dinners include a cheese platter starter, salad, soup, choice of entrees and sides, plus a sweet finale — Chocolate Torte with Graham Crust and Port and Cherry Compote.

Cost is $125 for two. Orders must be placed by noon on Feb. 12 and be picked up on Feb. 14 by 6 p.m. To order, go to ramekins.com.

SEBASTOPOL

Tea with your sweetie

Muir’s Tea Room & Cafe will serve a special Valentine’s Tea on Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 15-17. In addition, the plant-based cafe will offer a multi-course, candlelit Valentine’s Day dinner on Feb. 14.

Beginning in February, Muir’s will not be open on a regular weekly basis. However, they will expand their themed events, outside catering and meatless Monday dinners, which now can be ordered online through facebook.com/muirstearoom/

For reservations, call 707-634-6143. muirstearoom.com. 330 S. Main St.

NORTH COAST

Good Food awards

More than a dozen artisan makers on the North Coast were recognized earlier this month as winners of the coveted Good Food Awards, a national competition.

Award winners in the beer category include Shipwreck Strong Ale from ThirstyBear Organic Brewery of Sonoma.

In the charcuterie category, the Prosciutto from the Black Pig Meat Co. of Sebastopol, made by John Stewart of Zazu Kitchen + Farm, was a winner.

In the cheese category, honorees included Wagon Wheel by Cowgirl Creamery of Petaluma, the Original Blue and Gouda from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. of Point Reyes, Kenne from Tomales Farmstead Creamery of Tomales and Plain Yogurt from St. Benoit Creamery of Sonoma.

In the coffee category, kudos went to the Upsetter Espresso from Thanksgiving Coffee Company of Fort Bragg.

In the fish category, the recently shuttered Healdsburg SHED won an award for their Trout Rillette & Smoked Sturgeon. SHED also took home an award for its Raspberry Rose Preserves.

Winners in the Oils category include The Olive Press for its Jalapeño Olive Oil and Long Meadow Ranch for its Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

In the Pantry category, the Original Apple Cider Vinegar from Little Apple Treats of Sebastopol was honored.

In the Snacks category, Rustic Bakery of Petaluma won for its Organic Olive Oil & Sel Gri Flatbread, which were developed for Cowgirl Creamery.

And last but not least, in the Spirits category, Griffo Distillery of Petaluma won an award for its Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur.

Selected from a total of 2,035 entries in 16 categories, the winners were announced at a gala on Jan. 11 at the San Francisco War Memorial. For a complete list of awards, go to goodfoodfdn.org/awards/winners

Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @dianepete56.

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