Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, local producer of California’s most awarded sparkling wines is searching for the tastiest appetizer recipe in the country to pair with its Sonoma Brut.
Budding home cooks age 21 and over are encouraged to channel their inner-foodie and submit their signature appetizer recipe for the 2nd annual nationwide contest. All appetizers will be judged on originality, perceived taste appeal and perceived ability to pair with the Sonoma Brut, a wine that’s been produced by the Sonoma County-based winery since it was founded 30 years ago.
Each recipe entered will be reviewed by a panel of wine and food experts to select the top 18 semi- finalists to participate in three live Regional Semi-Final Cook Off events scheduled to take place Los Angeles, California, Washington, DC, and Austin, Texas in September. Only three competitors will move on to the National Finals scheduled for Saturday, October 15, 2016 at Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma, California. For official rules and to enter by August 31, 2016, as well as event ticket information, click here.
“After 30 years of great sparkling winemaking, Gloria Ferrer knows that nothing kicks off the start of a terrific gathering with friends and family than bubbles paired with a few small bites,” says Gloria Ferrer Vice President of Marketing Eva Bertran. “Last year’s winner, Donna Wolfe, a reference librarian from Hamilton, New Jersey wowed us with her Fried Lobster & Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce. We can’t wait to see your entries this year and we are thrilled to welcome a new panel of judges to help us critique them.”
Gloria Ferrer has tapped five expert foodies from around the country to serve as judges at each of this year’s events:
Chef Stuart O’Keeffe—Glorious Bites Semi-Final, Los Angeles, CA
Stuart is an Irish celebrity chef, food writer and TV personality best known for his appearances on Food Network’s Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Talk and his AOL series Kitchen Daily 101. His recent cookbook “The Quick Six Fix,” which focuses on recipes that consist of 6 Ingredients, 6 minute Prep and 6 minute Cleanup published by Harper Collins, went to #1 in Cookbooks the first week on Amazon.
Nycci Nellis—Glorious Bites Semi-Final, Washington, D.C.
Nycci is a food and wine journalist whose website, www.TheListAreYouOnIt.com, has been called "one of the DC area’s premier resources for information about all things food and wine in DC and beyond,” by the Washington Post. She is a regularly featured guest on DC’s Fox and CBS affiliates, is co-host of the weekly DC area food and wine radio show, Foodie and the Beast and is a dominant presence on social media for her thousands of devoted followers.
Linda Nguyen—Glorious Bites Semi-Final, Austin, TX
Linda is addicted to travel and delicious bites and sips and has been sharing her adventures in travel and cuisine on her food blog Girl Eats World since 2009. Currently, she also serves on the board of Austin Food Bloggers Alliance.
Sara Deseran—Glorious Bites Finals, Sonoma, CA
Sara is a longtime San Francisco-based food writer and the editor-at-large for San Francisco magazine. While contributing to magazines such as Saveur, Women's Health, and C magazine, she has published four cookbooks, most recently Tacolicious (Ten Speed Press). The latter is no coincidence. Today, on top of writing, she works as the Director of Marketing and Branding for Tacolicious, the growing, SF-based restaurant group she co-owns with her husband Joe Hargrave.
Executive Chef Jennifer Luttrell, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company---Glorious Bites Overall Judge Jennifer Luttrell has been the Executive Chef of The Fork, my favorite regional Culinary and Educational Center on the Giacomini family dairy at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company in Point Reyes, California, since 2011. As an added bonus to this year’s competition, Gloria Ferrer has partnered with Jennifer to create a delicious appetizer using the iconic Point Reyes Original Blue!
Download custom appetizer recipes from judges including Jennifer's perfectly paired Apple-Onion Chutney Point Reyes Original Blue Crostini as well as information on the Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut and full bios for all of our judges at www.gloriousbites.com.
A pioneering history and approach to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have made Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards a leader in California sparkling wine for almost 30 years. Founded in 1986 in Sonoma, California, by the Ferrer family of Spain, Gloria Ferrer combines the best of sparkling wine growing history with the bounty of the Carneros wineg rowing region using time-honored méthode champenoise winemaking traditions and centuries-old sustainable practices. Gloria Ferrer produces the most awarded California sparkling wines that have won over 400 gold medals and received 50 outstanding 90+ point ratings in the last 5 years. Discover the Glorious Life at www.gloriaferrer.com.
Time for a post after a hiatus as I traveled over the Pond to visit family in the UK immediately post Brexit. I'm still processing the experience after talking (mostly listening) to so many people with so many different takes on this monumental and controversial decision made by the popular vote.
I'll be posting more on my travels in the next few weeks, though we're the midst of moving house and everything is a bit topsy turvy.
My journalism college friend Bev whom I visited in Wanstead, handed me a print out of a poem by newspaper man, playwright, poet, short-story and children's writer John Agard. This super talented artist was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1949. He moved to the UK in the late 70s to become a touring lecturer for the Commonwealth Institute, traveling to schools throughout the UK to promote a better understanding of Caribbean culture. In 1993, John was appointed Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre, London and became Poet in Residence at the BBC in London.
It felt to me, after more than my fair share of pots of tea, scones, jam and clotted cream, that his immigrant voice in his popular "Alternative Anthem" poem continues to capture the spirit of the people and how they move forward as a nation in the wake of the decision to break away from the European Union.
"Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
It is the British answer
Never mind taxes are rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that's the kettle, mate.
It's not whether you lose
It's not whether you win
It's whether or not you've plugged the kettle in."
Marin French Cheese Company, the iconic California producer of Brie, Camembert and original French-style cheeses, today announces its second annual Summer Picnic Party on Sunday, August 21, 2016, from 11am - 3 pm, on the idyllic grounds surrounding the creamery, known to locals as The Cheese Factory, located 10 miles west of Petaluma.
Tickets to this delectable family-friendly event go on saleWednesday, June 29th, and are expected to sell out quickly. I'll be there with the first stash of my new book Fog Valley Winter, which will be sizzling hot off the press and ready for signing.
Back by popular demand, this year’s casual summer afternoon picnic features live music by No Pardon, a rippin’ folk music trio from Eureka, Calif., plus 26 food and beverage vendors sampling and selling new items as well as their beloved classics. New this year are local food celebrities Saint Benoît Creamery featuring their French-style yogurt and ice milks, chocolatiers Philip Marks and Farm Chocolates, Beaujolais Panforte, San Francisco's new jam maker, Emma's Jam, and the luscious Crème Brûlée from French producer Rians. Hearty appetites will delight in pork sliders from Devil's Gulch Ranch, and food trucks from The Fig Rig and Ultra-Crepes will also be in attendance.
Returning with samples to taste and product to sell will be local favorites such as Fabrique Délices, Jimtown Store, Rustic Bakery, and Sonoma Harvest, plus a wide variety of vendors of charcuterie, honey, crackers, dips, spreads and olive oils, all of which pair perfectly with artisan cheeses from Marin French, Laura Chenel’s, Nicasio Valley Cheese, and a special “Picnic Plate” showcasing assorted cheeses from members of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Proceeds from the sale of the Picnic Plate will support the nonprofit Guild and its educational programs.
Over 21s may sample beverages from Carneros Brewing Company, Cline Cellars, Silverado Vineyards and Sonoma Portworks (also available for purchase in the Marin French retail shop), while Tea & Trumpets offers a variety of freshly home-brewed iced teas.
Family-focused, interactive demos will feature cheesemaking, beekeeping, a garden art project for children organized by the North Bay Children's Center, and opportunities to interact with 4-H Club dairy animals. Local historian Kathleen Hill will have her collection of culinary antiques on display to peruse and enjoy.
The whole family is welcome to attend and participate, and all are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket and an appetite! Tickets are $12.50 each (children under 12 are free), and go on sale Wednesday, June 29th, at http://marinfrenchpicnicparty.eventbrite.com.
Only 500 tickets will be available, and the event is expected to sell out quickly. Don't miss this wonderful, local event. Marin French Cheese Company is located at 7510 Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Petaluma 94952.
Enjoy tastes from:
Featured in both of my Fog Valley books and founded in 1865, Marin French Cheese Company is the longest continually operating cheese company in America, with a unique history of handcrafting traditional and original soft-ripening cheeses. Since the days of the Gold Rush, Marin French has practiced time-honored cheesemaking techniques, using only fresh milk and cream from neighboring family dairy farms. It has grown from a small family business to an expanded, state-of-the-art facility, producing cheeses that are sold nationally and regularly earn top honors in international cheese competitions. At its idyllic Hicks Valley Ranch location in Northern California, Marin French hosts visitors from around the world to sample its distinctive cheese offerings, enjoy a picnic on the premises and visit its creamery retail shop open to the public year-round.
Sausalito-based wildlife tour expert Wild Planet Adventures underscores that when you travel abroad to encounter Earth’s most exotic wild creatures is as important as the destination itself.
Backed by over 25 years of experience, Wild Planet Adventures incorporates their destination-specific wildlife knowledge into all of its tours to take into account increased viewing opportunities created by local fruiting seasons; peak activity at natural mineral licks, reappearance of watering holes; regional migrations and local weather patterns and climate changes.
Josh Cohen, founder of Wild Planet Adventures, offers his insights as to the when and why wildlife lovers should travel abroad to maximize opportunities for close encounters, particularly of the rare and elusive kind.
South Africa/Uganda – The Trip: Insider’s Africa: Meerkats, Gorillas and “Rare 5”
When to Go? Now through October
Why? This is the time that rare nocturnal animals forage during daylight hours creating opportunities for viewing that don’t exist during the rest of the year. In addition, an exclusive four-hour Gorilla trekking permit has been granted to Wild Planet for unprecedented access and opportunities.
From May to October some of Africa’s rarest nocturnal animals forage during the day in the virtually unknown “Green Kalahari”, a savannah south of the better known Kalahari Desert in South Africa. These include rare pangolin (scaly anteater), aardvark and aardwolf, along with two habituated colonies of meerkats and large populations of cheetah, rhino and black-maned lions (Africa’s largest).
Wild Planet Adventures four-hour permit to view Mountain Gorillas in Uganda is an exclusive. Permits issued to other tour companies are for just one hour. Safaris for chimpanzees, tree-climbing lions and the “Big 5” in Queen Elizabeth National Park, mating and courtship rituals of the Kob antelope, and encounters with banded mongoose (cousins of the meerkats) round out the experience. 12-day trips start at $9,998/person. Click here for more info.
Asia – The Trip: Borneo’s Weird & Wonderful Wildlife
When to Go? August through October
Why? It is fruiting season when animals are most visible, including Orangutans, proboscis monkeys, gibbons, tarsiers, slow loris, pygmy elephants and mor
Technically Borneo has no distinct seasons, although there are minor fluctuations in rainfall at different times of year, on different sides of the island. However, there is a distinct fruiting season from late summer into fall. At this time animals are more active as they forage for fruit and conflicts are common as several species vie for the most prolific trees. Wild Planet averages seeing 11 of the 13 primate species on each trip, often up close and for extended periods of time. Between 10-20 wild orangutans are also seen on a typical trip. Pygmy elephants, tiny tarsiers, slow loris, and Borneo’s famous “gliders” – flying lemurs, flying fox, flying squirrel, gliding Draco lizards and gliding frogs are also viewed on special expeditions. Included in the tour is Sipadan Island, one of the “Top 5” snorkel and dive sites in the world, and Maliau Basin, the famous “Lost World” of Borneo, a remote circular basin just recently discovered in the 1990’s. 12-day and 16-day options start at $6,498/person. Click here for more info.
When to Go? August through October
Why? There is peak activity at world’s largest macaw & parrot clay lick.
Tambopata Reserve is home to the world's largest macaw and parrot clay licks where one can see up to 1,000 birds at a time representing five species of macaws and 15 species of parrots and parakeets during the peak activity months of August into October. It is truly one of nature’s greatest events as the sky is covered with flocks of colorful squawking birds. Nearby is Manu Biosphere Reserve, the number one park in the world for biodiversity, visited by less than 3,500 visitors each year. Guided excursions include floating a rainforest river in search of jaguar and over a dozen primate species including the pygmy marmoset, the world's smallest primate. Combined with Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley, where crowds drop off after the summer months, it is a great time to visit Peru. 9-day and 13 day options start at $3,998/person. Click here for more info.
Brazil – The Trip: On the Jaguar’s Trail: Pantanal & Amazon
When to Go? Now through October
Why? It’s peak viewing time for Jaguars in the Pantanal
Far away from the mayhem of this summer’s Olympics, the Pantanal hosts the largest concentration of jaguars in the world. From July into October Wild Planet Adventures averages 1.5 jaguar sightings per day. During this time it gets increasingly hotter and normal watering holes dry up, forcing the jaguars to hunt caiman on the riverbanks where they are most visible by boat. Hyacinth macaws, giant anteater and an Amazon primate program round out Wild Planet’s tour, available in 11-day and 15-day formats starting at $5,498/person. Click here for more info.
India – The Trip: Leopards, Tigers & Palaces
When to Go? November into April
Why? Wild tiger populations are on the rise and rhino poaching has decreased. The parks re-open immediately after the monsoons in November, and tigers, used to empty habitat for months, are at their most visible.
In April of this year, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced officially that wild tiger numbers were on the rise for the first time in over a century. Wild Planet Adventures combines visits to Kanha (the best national park in India for tigers) and Kaziranga NP (a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes 2,000 rhinos, wild elephants, tigers and more. The first travelers in November benefit from the end of the monsoon season when tigers are most visible. 13-day and 19-day safaris start at $4,998/person. Click here for more info.
For detailed itineraries, breathtaking wildlife photos and video galleries and booking information for tours worldwide, visit http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/, call 1-800-990-4376 or email email@example.com.
About Wild Planet Adventures
Recently, Wild Planet Adventures received its fifth “Worlds’ 50 Best Trips” award from the editors of National Geographic Traveler for its “On the Jaguar’s Trail; from the Pantanal to the Amazon” wildlife safari in Brazil. Previous National Geographic Traveler awards went to Wild Planet’s Thailand, Costa Rica, India, Panama wildlife eco-tours and its ultimate African safari in Zambia. Wild Planet Adventures is also recognized by other top travel publications for its wildlife-focused itineraries in Africa, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galapagos, India, Laos, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Thailand and Zambia.
Despite all of the recent upheaval, I am headed over the pond, for my annual visit to spend time with family in England and to be on home turf when Dom, my youngest of three sons makes his way back to London after a month-long, post-high-school graduation backpacking trip via Eurorail through some of the continent's most interesting and volatile hot spots.
Oh yes, these are fascinating times. I will be soaking it all in like a sponge.
As a writer of immigrant stories (my new book focuses on the 10 main cultural groups that settled the micro-region of Northern California that I call home), it is poignant for me to return to a place where the past half century of post-war welfare is in the midst of imploding.
If I'm to report back in accordance with my journalistic training, I'm going to have to keep an open mind and be a good listener and not mention my internationalist predispositions. I'm taking my camera.
Photo: Tony Ray-Jones © Royal Photographic Society/ National Media Museum
If my native Britain votes to leave the European Union on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, I doubt that the present, pressing, humanitarian demands on this lovely little island will cease any time soon. Mass human migration is a global issue and (just my opinion, but) no one country gets to opt out of a solution right now.
I boarded a Virgin Atlantic flight aged 23 from the UK to the US with oodles of youthful zeal and luggage that never arrived and have made quite a life for myself stateside since the early 90s. I've done my best to contribute to my adoptive country. Whenever possible, I love spending time with family back in the UK and, in fact, am heading back over the pond for a visit next week.
While it is not my place to pontificate on Brexit one way or another, I will say that I have raised three American born sons as dual national European passport holders and that's quite an amazing thing for them to consider themselves global citizens. All in all, the open dialog taking place in politics here in the U.S and in the UK today is remarkable in itself.
Whatever the outcome of the vote, may there always be an England. Pots of tea, scones, real ale, fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, great literature, theatre and tv, irony, culture, fashion, music, common sense . . . the list goes on and on and on. Ireland, Wales and Scotland, I dig you, too!
I LOVE you Britain, whichever boat you choose to float.
Want to know more about the EU and this important upcoming referendum? Click here for a simple outline by the ever-stalwart BBC.
Summer season is a busy time in Sonoma County and during the whirl of warm weather gatherings, I caught up with my good friend Emma of Emma Gardner Designs who lives and breathes (aside from being a favorite friend to hang out with to talk books, art, travel, food, parenting and culture) making beautiful things for the home.
Emma's stunning and award-winning collections are infused with her uniquely American and contemporary point of view. The artist and devoted mom of two was born in Kyoto, Japan to an English father and Russian-American mother. Emma was raised in New York City and moved to Northern California with her husband, Patrick and their children several years ago.
The colorful world of Emma's work features Asian themes, modern art and natural forms — all evident inspiration in the quality products under her emma gardner design and emma at home brands. I've long since hankered for Emma's exclusive designer products and was delighted to hear that her brand new line of consumer-ready rugs, pillows, art, lighting, throws and candles are now online and ready to roll into shipments directly to our homes.
New collections of stunning rugs are being made available in the coming months in a range of sizes and prices. Featuring micro-loop and hand-tufted collections in multiple color ways, new rugs suit every taste.
New addition pillows include outdoor pillows in solids and patterns. Made in USA, China and India.
Emma's wall art is an eclectic collection that reflects the artist's myriad influences. Emma's art is at times poignant, other times fun and always colorful.
Available in stretched canvas or framed acid-free paper. I'm so impressed with Emma's grounded approach to building an international textile design business while maintaining a solid home base of family life here in Southern Sonoma County. It's such fun to share a slice of her super-creativity with local readers who might very well see Emma out and about around town appreciating the simple good life in this neck of the woods!
photo of emma: Anna Westerlund Stokes
IceHouse Gallery Presents
Past Tense, Present Tense - Paintings by Jack Stuppin
July 16 through August 22, 2016
Reception for the artist Saturday, July 23rd 5:00 to 8:00pm
405 East D St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
The Ice HouseGallery is pleased to present Past Tense, Present Tense, paintings by Jack Stuppin. Well known for his vibrant and colorful landscapes, Stuppin for the first time brings together works from multiple periods ranging from the early 70’s to the present abstract and “love” paintings. Many are in the private collection of Jack and his wife Diane.
Born 1933 in Yonkers New York Jack attended Columbia College. He received art instruction from Peppino Mangravite. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute under the tutelage of William Allan, Jay De Feo, Sam Tchakalian and Franklin Williams.
His artwork is in numerous museum collections including Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Fine Arts Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM; Luther Burbank Center, Santa Rosa, CA; New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, CT; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland CA; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Sonoma County Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, CA; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christie, TX; U.S. Department of State, Art in Embassies Program, Washington DC; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT and Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park , CA, among others.
Funny thing about authors is that though they hide away for months/years at a time penning their work, we do come out of the woodwork every now and again for the social cause. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting therapist and podcaster Susan Pease Gadoua at a house party on Sonoma Mountain recently.
We enjoyed sharing tales of just how much desk time we'd both spent in the past couple of years and met for coffee to swap books a few weeks later. The journalist in me was intrigued by Susan's accounts of different kinds of marriages — especially those that endure, given a wide variety of factors.
In "The New I Do", Susan and Vicki take a groundbreaking look at the modern shape of marriage to help readers open their minds to marrying more consciously and creatively as well as offering a new, more modern roadmap to making marital partnership keep on working, in new ways.
One-size-fits-all or till death us do part marriages aren't the answer for most couples in today's world.
"Have we outgrown marriage?" ask the authors in their opening chapter. The goal of "The New I do" is to creatively reimagine marriage one partnership at a time, so that younger generations are freed from antiquated assumptions and societal expectations and those who have been married for a while and would like to figure out how to stay married, happily, are able to successfully recreate the foundations of marital success.
In talking to peers of all ages and stages of marriage, as well as friends who are looking for life partners, here's a book that provides tools for a range of scenarios, including the pros and cons of companionship marriage, parenting marriage, living alone together, covenant marriage, safety marriage, open marriage, prenups and whether to not get married at all.
Isn't marrying for love the ideal? In my mind, yes, but I have to say that after reading Susan and Vicki's book, honest, open dialog for those who don't have the more traditional marital set enables them to stay together more harmoniously given a deeper understanding of how different marriages work.
Are you better suited for traditional or modern marriage? Click here to take the authors' quiz and peruse their informative website. The book is available online.