Tag Archives: Alfaro Winery

Santa Cruz’s Chaminade launches 2016 Farm to Table Wine Dinners this Friday

Chaminade’s 2016 Farm to Table Wine Dinner series starts Friday

Chaminade’s 2016 Farm to Table Wine Dinner series starts Friday

Believe it or not, June is here (!), which means the start of Chaminade Resort’s annual Farm to Table Dinner series. The first dinner is this Friday, June 3, beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception, and there are still a few tickets available.

The series showcases local wineries, local farms and other local food vendors. Dinners are in a beautiful outdoor setting, with long communal tables and lots of great food and drinks. Representatives from wineries and farms attend the dinners and talk to guests about the history of their products, which often stimulates interesting dialogue.

The cost is $110 inclusive per person and this includes hors d’oeuvres (served at the 6 p.m. reception with wine), a multi-course family style dinner with wine pairings (6:30 p.m.), and dessert. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit web site for details, including specific wineries/farmers for particular nights.

For this Friday’s dinner, Executive Chef Nicholas Church is utilizing produce from Fiesta Farm and Coke Farm; see menu below. Wine from Equinox/Bartolo Winery will be featured. Church returned to Chaminade in August 2015; he first worked at Chaminade in 1994 as a line cook, moving up to executive sous chef—a position he held until 2012.  When he returned to Chaminade in 2015 he was executive sous chef under executive chef Kirsten Ponza. In April 2016, Ponza was promoted to Food & Beverage Director and Church was promoted to executive chef.

Church is very excited about his first season of leading the farm to table wine dinners.

“It is always fun to cook with seasonal ingredients fresh from the farm,” he recently shared. “I look forward to working with all the farms this year.”

I didn’t have the opportunity to attend a Chaminade farm to table dinner in 2015, but I have vivid memories of one from 2014, when produce from Santa Cruz’s Yellow Wall Farm was featured. During the reception, there were several appetizers including strawberries stuffed with smoked blue cheese and pancetta. At the time, I spoke to executive chef Ponza who said it was Yellow Wall Farm’s delectable crop of strawberries that helped inspire the stuffed strawberries, in addition to a wonderful first course during the sit-down dinner. The unique strawberry hazelnut gazpacho starter had a delightful Belle Farms olive oil and chive garnish.

Before returning to the Chaminade, Church owned and operated restaurant Mama Mia’s in Felton for two years. His career includes 28 years of culinary experience. I’m sure the new executive chef will do amazing feasts this season. Between now and October, the bounty of top ingredients from local vendors will include produce from Live Earth Farm, Everett Family Farm and Route 1 Farms, seafood from Stagnaro Bros. and grassfed beef from Leftcoast. Beverages will be provided by first-rate wineries such as Storrs, Martin Ranch, Alfaro and the Summit to Sea wine group.

I recommend planning ahead for at least one dinner this season; these events do sell out.

June 3 menu:

Reception
Canellini Bean Soup Shots
Pulled Chicken Spring Roll
Lamb Sliders and Flatbread

First Course
Chicken Pate served on Walnut Bread with Sofritto Oil

Second Course
Braised Pork Belly with Slow Poached Eggs

Third Course
Roasted Beet Salad with Frisee and Arugula, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Fourth Course
Beer Brined Chicken served with Chicken Jus
German Potatoes, Rainbow Baby Carrots, Herbed Fava Beans

Dessert
Apricot Tart with Almond Frangipane
Cherry Mousse

The Details
Farm to Table Dinner Series
Monthly through October 2016, Selected Fridays at 6 p.m.:
June 3, July 8, Aug. 5, Sept. 9, Oct. 7

Courtyard Terrace at Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
(831) 475-5600
$110 per person

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Cantine Winepub in Aptos celebrates anniversary with wine, cider, and beer popups

Cantine Winepub, Photo courtesy of Shani Studios

Cantine Winepub, Photo courtesy of Shani Studios

Saturday, August 8, is the one-year anniversary of the opening of Aptos’ Cantine Winepub, and it’s celebrating with a day of special pop-ups with local winemakers, brewers and cider producers.

Owner Jason McKay is very excited about this milestone, as it’s the realization of a lifelong dream for him—one in which he would create a space for people to come together, enjoy great wine and beer, connect, and relax. “It’s been a great first year – being part of the Aptos and Santa Cruz Community,” says McKay.

On Saturday afternoon, attendees can enjoy music from DJ Dustbowl aka Amee Chapman plus wine tasting with Sante Arcangeli. The evening festivities will feature live music by El Quarto Verde, beer tasting with Uncommon Brewers, and cider samples from Reef Points Hard Cider.

If you’re unfamiliar with Cantine, it offers a diverse range of wines, craft beers and artisan foods in a comfortable lounge setting. The winepub traditionally offers six to eight wines on tap, with a featured wine-by-the-glass menu that changes daily. This way, frequent customers always have something new to try on each visit. Recent options have included wines from Alfaro, Kathryn Kennedy, Big Basin, Salmandre, and Force of Nature.

The winepub’s food menu features tapas that are designed for sharing. These are created using seasonal ingredients. Selections may include cheese and charcuterie trays; Kelly’s Bakery focaccia; house-made meatballs in slow-roasted tomato sauce; tortilla Espanola with sherry-braised onions, manchego, and chorizo; marinated kale salad; and roasted beets and fennel with crumbled goat cheese and citrus balsamic dressing.

In addition to wine, there are eight domestic craft brews on tap (Discretion Brewing, Sante Adairus, and more) and over twenty beers, ciders, mead and other beverages by the bottle.

Location: 8050 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 831-612-6191
Hours: Monday 4-9 p.m.,  Tues-Thurs 4–10pm, Fri-Sun noon–10pm
On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz’s Chaminade serves up new season of Farm to Table Wine Dinners

A scene from Chaminade’s 2014 Farm to Table Dinner Series. Photo credit: Chaminade Facebook page

A scene from Chaminade’s 2014 Farm to Table Dinner Series. Photo credit: Chaminade Facebook page

Chaminade Resort’s annual Farm to Table Dinner series, which features very fresh items from local farms plus delectable libations from Central Coast wineries, is starting soon. Want to whet your appetite? Read my recap of 2014’s opening night feast.

2015 Chaminade dinner dates:

  • June 26: Martin Ranch Winery, Coke Farms, Black Hen Farm
  • July 24: Storrs Winery, Fiesta Farm
  • August 21: Morgan Winery, LeftCoast GrassFed
  • September 25: Summit to Sea Wineries, Everett Family Farm
  • October 30: Alfaro Winery, Route 1 Farms

The cost is $110 per person and that includes hors d’oeuvres (served at the 6 p.m. reception), a seated five-course dinner at 6:30 p.m., and wine (served at reception AND dinner). Tax and gratuity are excluded. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit web site for details, including links to the wineries and farms that are being showcased. The specific menu is posted as each event draws near.

Chef Kirsten Ponza promises an exciting season. “We are very excited to be welcoming a new farm Pescadero called LeftCoast GrassFed,” says Ponza. “Also, Rebecca King will be coming back this year with her Garden Variety Cheeses.” I’m a big fan of Garden Variety Cheese; if you haven’t yet tried King’s products, or even if you have, I can only imagine the scrumptious and creative ways that Ponza will incorporate them into her menu! Chef Ponza hasn’t yet decided which night she will feature these, but when she does, it will be posted on the Chaminade site.

For people visiting from another town who want to stay overnight—or for locals interested in a fun “staycation,” the Chaminade offers Farm to Table culinary packages that include overnight accommodations for two, Farm to Table dinner for two, and breakfast for two.

Chaminade’s first Farm to Table Wine Dinner was held in 2008 with only a dozen guests. Now each event draws dozens of guests, and usually sells out quite a while ahead of time.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.
The Details
Farm to Table Dinner Series
Monthly, June through October 2015: Selected Fridays at 6 p.m.
Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
(831) 475-5600
$110 per person

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival 2014: Here’s what you get to taste!

Snake & Butterfly Chocolate is a vendor at the 2014 Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Snake & Butterfly Chocolate is a vendor at the 2014 Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

The 2014 Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival is Sunday (1-4pm, Cocoanut Grove) with more than 25 vendors.

Benefiting re-entry student scholarships via the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Club, the chocolate festival is a popular event you don’t want to miss! Read more in this overview article, and keep reading for vendor information and some chocolate sample details to whet your appetite!

Watch for a few more sample details to be published tomorrow.

Snake & Butterfly Chocolate is an award-winning South Bay company that refines organic, fair trade chocolate from the bean. Snake & Butterfly makes small batch artisan chocolate using traditional stone melangers, using three basic ingredients: cacao beans, cocoa butter and sugar. They do not use emulsifiers or artificial ingredients. This chocolate is then used to create plain and flavored bars, truffles and confections — many suitable for vegans. At the Chocolate Festival, Snake & Butterfly will be sampling a variety of plain and flavored bars (Salt & Almond, Ginger & Nib, Bacon Toffee, Cherry & Chili), truffles, and caramels. The entire chocolate line will be for sale, too. Snake & Butterfly has recently opened their first retail location in Historic Downtown Campbell, where you can find all their creations as well as a collection of other local organic artisan products.

Original Sin Desserts & Catering was founded by UCSC graduate Tanya DeCell. Original Sin will be serving Oaxacan black Mole made with both Guittard and Scharffenberger chocolate. As with all of DeCell’s food, it is made from scratch using all-natural ingredients (locally sourced and organic wherever possible). Original Sin caters both private and business events, with a special emphasis on food and wine pairings.  DeCell is the primary chef for several wineries including Silver Mountain, Soquel, Sante Arcangeli and Wargin Wines.

Lifestyle Culinary Arts, a fabulous local company (read article)  who participates at the festival every year, will have this wonderful treat available:
• Chocolate Mousse Topped Pretzel with Banana Caramel

India Joze, a restaurant that serves delicious food, is attending the festival for the first time and will offer:
• A Filipino pork dish with cocoa sauce, plus (tentatively) chocolate chai and “wok roca”

Alfaro Winery, who also participated last year when wine was included for the first time, will pour:
• 2012 “A” Estate Chardonnay and 2012 Gimelli Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel

The Details
Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060
Sunday, January 19, 2014 from 1-4pm

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival with wine, food, and more benefits UCSC scholarships

Treats from previous Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Treats from previous Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

The 7th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 benefits UCSC scholarships, and I have lots of delicious food and wine highlights to share. The event is from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings together more than two dozen vendors. Last year’s festival welcomed wineries for the first time, and that tradition continues in 2014.

Participants range from local confectioners and bakers like Snake and Butterfly, Original Sin Desserts & Catering, and Saratoga Chocolates, to local restaurants like Chocolate and India Joze, to vendors from other states (like Theo Chocolate from Washington). Other local companies who will be present include Zizzo’s Coffee, Mission Hill Creamery, and wineries Sones Cellars, Alfaro Family Vineyards, and Silver Mountain.

I’ll publish information about specific items vendors will have for you to taste, and more details on some of these companies,  later tonight and tomorrow so watch for Part 2 and Part 3!

Each vendor will have treats such as truffles, cake, or ice cream available in exchange for a tasting ticket. Buy tasting tickets at the event (admission is free) or online. Each $15 purchase gets you six tickets. Another note: there will be a silent auction, cupcake decorating ($3) and some vendors are also selling chocolate products—remember that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching!

The festival benefits re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz, for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans. The chocolate festival is presented by the UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 37 years the club has awarded over 330 scholarships totaling nearly $230,000 to deserving women and men for research activities, tuition and childcare.

The Details
Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060
Sunday, January 19, 2014 from 1-4pm

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

The 6th Annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival benefits UCSC scholarships

Cupcakes from Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting, a participant in the 6th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

This weekend is a sweet time of year: the 6th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival is on Sunday January 20 and it benefits student scholarships. The event is from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings approximately 30 vendors to the Cocoanut Grove, and this year there will be wine tasting available for the first time. Participants range from local confectioners and bakers like Ashby Confections, Iveta, Snake and Butterfly Chocolate, Original Sin Desserts, and Buttercup Cakes and Farmhouse Frosting, to vendors from other parts of Northern California (Foxy’s Toffee, for one) and even other states (like Theo Chocolate from Washington). Other local companies who will be present include fabulous ice cream businesses Mission Hill Creamery and Penny Ice Creamery.

Each vendor will have treats – including gourmet truffles and cupcakes — available in exchange for a tasting ticket. In addition to the tastes you can get in exchange for your tickets, selected vendors will be selling chocolate products including some suitable for Valentine’s Day like gift assortments. There will also be a cupcake decorating booth which costs $2.

For the first time, wine will be available for attendees aged 21 and over; Alfaro Family Vineyards and Sones Cellars are among the participants. Buy tickets online or at the event. For $15 you get six tastings of food and/or wine. In order to drink wine, you need to buy a commemorative wine glass for $5 (includes one tasting).

Bid on items at a silent auction with both chocolate-themed and non-chocolate-themed items donated by businesses and individuals from the local community. Prizes include Giants tickets, wine tasting and restaurant gift certificates, and passes to Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can visit the festival for free (you don’t need a tasting ticket) if you want to participate in the auction or buy gifts from vendors.

The festival benefits re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz (for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans). The chocolate festival is presented by the UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 30 years the club has awarded over 300 scholarships totaling more than $200,000 to deserving women and men for research activities, tuition and childcare.

The Details

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival http://santacruzchocolatefestival.com/

Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz 95060

Sunday, January 20 from 1-4pm

 

Food and wine highlights at Skov and other wineries: this weekend’s Santa Cruz Mountains Passport event

The Santa Cruz Mountains Spring Passport day is Saturday, April 16 – and I’ve listed a few food and wine highlights below including food served at Skov and other wineries.

For those unfamiliar with the “Passport” program, the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association offers this event four times a year, and Saturday is the Spring event (the other event days are on the third Saturday of January, July and November). Passport is an opportunity to meet the winemakers of SCM (the Santa Cruz Mountains), to see where and how they produce their wines, and — at selected wineries — the chance to try new releases or special barrel samples.

Skov Winery is serving wine and cheese on Saturday. Read my comprehensive article on Skov. Tabitha and her company Friend in Cheeses will take participants “on a culinary journey of Skov wines and foods from what the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation has to offer.” Tabitha says, “Spring is in the air and the goats are giving us amazing milk. Taste the terroir with a variety of goats milk cheeses from Cheddar to Chevre.” Skov winery will be offering samples of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Zinfandel. The $10 tasting fee per person includes cheese and wine tasting plus asouvenir wine glass. Complimentary tasting for Passport holders and Skov Wine Club members.  SCM Passports will be available for sale the day of the event for $40 each.

Location: 2364 Bean Creek Road, Scotts Valley 95066.

Vine Hill Winery is serving a cheese and wine pairing on Saturday and Sunday featuring Triple Creams and Port Salut. The cost: free to Passport holders and Vine Hill Wine Club members, and $5 otherwise. Both Saturday and Sunday the winery will be open from noon to 5pm, and there will be box lunches available for purchase. You are also welcome to bring your own picnic.

Location: 2300 Jarvis Road, Santa Cruz 95065.

Alfaro Winery offers live music and wine tasting plus complimentary snacks. Enjoy classical guitar from Salvador Magallon from 11am-1:30pm and Americana/blues from Mondo Blue from 1:30-5pm. Admission is free for Passport holders and Alfaro Wine Club members and $10 for others.

Location: 420 Hames Road, Corralitos 95076.

Burrell School Vineyards & Winery is hosting wine tasting, plus Truffle Gateau will be sampling its Belgian chocolate baked truffles. The winery will also hold a special “Bunny Hop: Jelly Belly & Wine Pairing” event on Sunday, April 17, in conjunction with the Summit to Sea Wineries, which also include Loma Prieta, MJA Cellars and Poetic Cellars, all of whom will offer gourmet jelly bean and wine pairings.

Location: 24060 Summit Road, Los Gatos 95033.

There are dozens of other wineries participating this weekend including Ahlgren, Bargetto, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Equinox, La Nebbia, Pelican Ranch, Ridge, Santa Cruz  Mountain, Silver Mountain, Sones Cellars, Testarossa, and Zayante.

Passports are available to purchase at any participating winery on passport day. Each Passport covers tasting room fees for one person at all participating wineries. At each winery you visit, a page of your Passport will be stamped.  You must have your Passport with you in order to participate in the tasting.  Passport benefits are good for one visit to each participating winery and are for use on designated Passport days only.  Passports do not expire until each winery has been visited once.

Please follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.