Nothing Half Baked About This Couple’s Success
BY KIRSTEN JONES NEFF PHOTOS BY STACY VENTURA
It is a known fact that the baked goods at Rustic Bakery are habit forming. Many of us in Marin County (yes, count this as a personal confession) need to stop by one of their cafés several times a week, if not every day, to get our fix.
As busy as our collective love affair with their wide array of offerings surely makes them, Rustic Bakery and Café cofounders Carol LeValley and Josh Harris make the business of creating and running the wildly successful bakery seem easy: First, you nurture a baking hobby, even as you manage a successful fashion design company. Then you identify a need for beautiful flatbread crackers to accompany the artisanal cheeses of West Marin. Next, jump out of the fashion business as you perfect recipes and establish relations with the finest local growers and producers. Open cafés and wholesale kitchens as you increase your employee base to 130. Sign contracts with companies such as Google and Virgin Airlines that want to feature your goods on their menus. Finally, hire a chef partner to expand … Read More
CALISTOGA LIGHTS IT UP
CALISTOGA’S ANNUAL LIGHTED TRACTOR PARADE, celebrating the area’s rich agricultural history—and present—is the ultimate small-town holiday celebration. Vintage and modern tractors and trucks festooned with colorful holiday lights parade down Calistoga’s charming main street and Santa himself even takes a break from his North Pole toy shop duties to delight kids of all ages. Celebrating the 18th anniversary of this wonderful tradition, this year’s parade takes place Saturday, December 7. VisitCalistoga.com
PHOTOS BY ROBB MCDONOUGH
Putting Together the Pieces
BY MARISSA LA BRECQUE
Photos: Bradley Ogden by Jeremy Ball, Tyler Florence by John Lee, Brad Farmerie by Marissa La Brecque, Estes and John Stewart by Gerald Bybee, Juan Pablo Loza Courtesy of Maroma Resort, John Franchetti by Dan Bransfield, Ari Rosen by Marissa La Brecque, Michael Chiarello courtesy of Napa Style, Cindy Pawlcyn by Laurie Smith, Chris Cosentino by Marissa La Brecque, Justin Everett by Courtney Michalik.
The Escoffier Questionnaire published in each issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country was inspired by my conversations with chefs from across the United States while I was working on my book Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America’s Top Restaurants (Welcome Books, 2011).
Like the more famous—at least for the time being—Proust Questionnaire, my questions were designed to elicit short responses that are long on meaning.
The chefs’ answers give us an ephemeral glance. Some responses run deep and others could be different a week later. Since we started posing these questions in 2011, a collage has emerged. It tells us something about each of these talented and generous souls and it also reveals something about our home and our time.
An end of … Read More
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT TRUFFLES
Photo: White truffle pizza at Ca’Momi by Fabio Rosas
BY CHRISTINA MUELLER
When I saw it, I could not believe it. There I was in early September, standing in a 3 1/2-year-old orchard in Carneros, the sun beating its ferocious wave energy into my skull, and all I saw was parched, dry ground and trees no taller than your average middle schooler. And yet, underground, the slow but steady growth of Tuber melanosporum and Tuber aestivum was underway.
Tuber melanosporum, known colloquially as Périgord or black truffle, and Tuber aestivum, or Burgundy truffle, are two of the most sought-after mycorrhiza in the world. Revered by chefs and beloved by food enthusiasts for their incomparable aroma and flavor, truffles routinely sell for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per pound. Their prestige among agricultural products is unquestioned and demand perpetually outstrips supply.
France, the traditional home of Périgord and Burgundy truffles, and Italy, the home of white or Alba truffles (Tuber magnatum), cannot produce enough supply to meet the burgeoning demand for these highly prized flavor nuggets. Each year, the French plant more of the trees that foster the truffle and these … Read More
SWEETEN UP THE HOLIDAYS—WITHOUT GLUTEN
BY CHRISTINA MUELLER
Heather Hardcastle knows pastry. Diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2000, Hardcastle set out to re-create her favorite foods without the troublesome protein found in wheat and other grains.
“It led to a career change,” says Hardcastle, who subsequently completed the general pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. More recently, Hardcastle took on the roles of owner and founding chef when she opened San Anselmo’s Flour Craft Bakery in the spring of 2013. Perhaps best known for their granolas, sold on Thursdays at the Marin County Civic Center Farmers’ Market, on Saturdays at Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Market, and at most regional Whole Foods Markets and other specialty stores, Flour Craft Bakery sells a range of gluten-free (and often vegan or paleo) baked goods, including breads, scones and brown-butter brownies.
At the bakery in San Anselmo, a newly expanded lunch menu includes savory quiche, sandwiches and salads. Beginning in November, Flour Craft Bakery granolas—cranberry almond and maple pecan—will be sold online at Williams-Sonoma.com.
Inspired by French yogurt style cakes, Hardcastle crafted this chocolate and almond confection as ideal for the home cook. “It is an extremely … Read More
Photo: Adrián Gregorutti, Gregophoto.com
BY MONICA AND DAVID STEVENS
As a child, you likely wrote at least one letter to Santa, sealed it up and sent it off to his workshop at the North Pole, full of hope and anticipation that the jolly old elf would open it on the other end and set his fellow elves into motion to make all of your dreams come true.
Alas, we all grow up—but the holiday season is still a magical time of year when we can all dream about what we would most love to see wrapped up under our tree on Christmas morning. Too often, it can also be a stressful time, consumed with worry over finding perfect gifts for friends, colleagues and loved ones.
This year, we wanted to give our readers a gift, so we asked a few of our friends in the wine and food industry what was high on their wish list this holiday season: a special bottle, a wine or cooking accessory, a special book? We hope their answers will inspire unique and meaningful gift ideas for the wine and food lovers in your life—and maybe even your own list … Read More
EDIBLE EVENTS CALENDAR
HOLIDAY FOOD & WINE PAIRING WITH SILVER OAK
WINERY’S CHEF DOMINIC ORSINI
December 2 (Napa Valley Cooking School, St. Helena, 707.967.2903)
HOLIDAY HORS D’OEUVRES – HANDS ON WITH
CHEF JENNIFER LATTRELL
December 6 (The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead, 800.591.6878, PointReyesCheese.com/thefork)
Rutherford Passport Weekend
December 6–8 (Rutherford, Calendar.NapaValley.com)
The 12 Days of Christmas at Meadowood
December 6–21 (St. Helena, 800.458.8080, Meadowood.com/events)
Calistoga’s Annual Winter in the Wineries
December 6–February 9 (Calistoga, 707.942.6333, VisitCalistoga.com)
18th Annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade
December 7 (Calistoga, 707.942.6333, VisitCalistoga.com)
Slow Food San Francisco: Slow Crab
December 7 (San Francisco, SlowFoodSanFrancisco.com)
McEvoy Ranch Holiday Open House
December 8 (Petaluma, McEvoyRanch.com)
Breakfast with Santa
December 8 (Napa County Fairgrounds, 707.942.5111)
Eighth Annual Hanukkah Hootenanny at Judd’s
December 8 (Napa, 707.255.2332, JuddsHill.com)
Dungeness Crab Fest at Relish Culinary Center
December 8 (Healdsburg, 707.431.9999, Relish-Culinary.com)
Art, Food & Wine Experience at Kenwood Vineyards
December 8 (Kenwood, 707.282.4228, KenwoodVineyards.com)
Women for WineSense: Wine on America’s Holiday Table
December 12 (Markham Vineyards, St. Helena, WomenforWineSense.org)
HOLIDAY HORS D’OEUVRES COOKING CLASS
December 12 (Napa Valley Cooking School, St. Helena, 707.967.2903)
Dry Creek Kitchen Holiday Winemaker Dinner
December 13 (Healdsburg, WoodenheadWine.com)
KIDS’ GINGERBREAD HOUSE PARTY
December 14 … Read More
CHERRY ON TOP
Find one of the “little people” in this photograph by Matthew Carden that has been hidden in another location within this issue and enter the page number of the hidden location on the Edible Marin & Wine Country homepage. The first 10 people to enter a correct answer will receive an annual subscription to Edible Marin & Wine Country!
Enter to win at EdibleMarinAndWineCountry.com
Entries are due by midnight on December 31, 2013 Winners will be notified by email.
Experience all of Matthew Carden’s wonderful “food as art” pieces that have been published in Edible Marin & Wine Country, and more, in person at his Super Fresh Art Gallery, 906 Grant Ave., in Old Town Novato. They make unique and wonderful gifts! MatthewCarden.com and Facebook.com/SuperFreshArtGallery
FOOD AS MEDICINE
Sip Your Way to Better Health This Winter
BY CHERYL FROMHOLZER
PHOTOS BY STACY VENTURA
As an herbalist and herbal educator, I have always used food as medicine and like to incorporate herbs with health-promoting qualities into food and drink whenever I can.
The use of herbs, berries and barks infused into distilled spirits dates back hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and these tinctures have long been hailed for their restorative and life-giving qualities.
The elder or elderberry tree (Latin name Sambucus) is native to Marin County, where you’ll find them growing along waterways. Historical references to the use of elder date back to the Greeks and the tree even garnered a nod in the popular Harry Potter book series: The most powerful wand in the land was made from elder wood.
The ancients recognized its power and it is, indeed, one of the best natural medicines for the cold and flu season. Sipped daily during the fall and winter months, this Elderberry Cordial made with the berries of the tree can keep colds and flus from progressing. Scientific studies have shown elder is effective in-vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. … Read More