CalifornItaly.By Filippo BartolottaSo as promised after Texas we flew to California, were our last event was held at The Napa Valley Reserve.
The event was in a spectacular location near St Helena. The guests were a very sophisticated group of wine experts, wine lovers and Italian aficionados. Everybody seemed to have enjoyed the evening and the great selection of food and wine we brought.
We were taken care very nicely by Sarah O'Rourke -Senior event manager who helped us from day one making sure the event turned into a great success.
Director Philip Norfleet must be the kindest Napa Valley Gentlemen. He introduced us to the nicest people in the area among which several Vintners. Crashing at The Meadowood was also a very pleasant surprise. I will se a few of last night guests together with Sergio Esposito of Italian Wine Merchants in Italy this summer. A group of almost 100 people will embark on the most luxurious wine cruise to Italy. So the other night was just an anticipation of their vacation.
Early in the morning, after a quick check out Benedetta and I dove straight to the SFO Airport.
Two Coffee to go please and a muffin. We gotta catch a plain.
Morning fog in San Fancisco.We were a little late and so we rushed the car drop off.This almost costed me the loss of my computer. I realized we left it in the car only when almost at the check in.Left Benedetta with all the luggage and run back...successfully. Now I had the computer but I was about to lose my flight. So another run. Made it. But now the luggage was too heavy, so...think think think. I left behind a few t-shirts and some dirty laundry:) Finally resting on the plane eating a "VISITORS" wrap. This stuff doesn't make sense: Modified enriched flour with reduced iron and added vitamnis...I mena couldn't they just make a bloody sandwich without messing around? The wrap, as you can imagine, sucked. Benedetta and I had no other choice but to barge into the Violet Talk spicy chocolate fudge from Saint Antonio.
This is a wonderfully rich fudge that followed us during a good part of the road show, saving us in the most difficult moments:)I dediced to go for a little nap. I dreamt of the night before the Napa Valley Reserve: the Italy at Your Table event at Lisa's home in Sonoma. This was a great evening with very sweet people gathered around a couple of tables enjoy the evening with Dusky's creations. Dusky Estes is the owner and chef at ZAZU in Sonoma.
We ate at her place the night earlier. Looking at the menu it wasn't difficoult to understand that that would have been a very nice dinner. Dusky is one of th emost honest chefs I have ever met. She clearly likes Italy to the point that she planted some Schioppetino variet in her garden to make her own Californina style Schioppettino. One of Dusky's most delicious invention is her organic smoked and cured beacon.She just know how to cook with soul!
This beacon is so good that the night of the event I managed to have a couple of vegetarian eating a spoon full of it! I thought that once in Napa the incredible connections of this Road Show would have stopped. Instead here we go. Dusky is a big fun of Tia Harrison' Sociale. And when I was with Tia I saw a little brochure of a "pig" event with Dusky. So it looks like this June I will be back on the West Coast for a three days event at Sociale, Avedano and ZAZU! Here I would have a little dream: bringing Dario Cecchini with me. Dario is actually one of the inspirers of the young chef Aaron Kolitz who -together with Giuliano Piscina- cooked in Saint Antonio. Aron works at The Girl and the Goat in Chicago.
This restaurant is all about cooking from head to toe and Aaron is gagging to meet with Tia and Dusky likewise with the two West Coasters. So now we have almost finished with this little circle but there is one missing link: Mr Dariush.
Dariush winery in Napa is one of the most visited in the area, releasing every year very elegant and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon and now also a very juicy and farmyard Pinot Noir. Dariush wine is very loved by my Saint Anonio Hosts and he grows is Pinot close to the Dehlinger winery in Sonoma. Of the thousands of wineries which one again? Dehlinger. The first winery I visited on my way to Sonoma. The very cellar of Eva Dehlinger very good friend with Lisa. and one of Italy at Your Table event in Sonoma. I still can't quite figure out how to round up all this friends at once, but I'll soon get there...trust me.
We got to Delingher after a very long drive from Santa Barbara.
We had a pit stop in Carmel where I managed to rest and get got in the rain while going for a run, pretty scary...
Filippo sheltering away from the Pacific storm and checking later the funny sew weed!
and of course...thinking of my darling Vanessa.
So on the road again we head to San Francisco on 101. Travelling America is actually pretty nice.
Weather was getting better and the mood too. Time for a last pit stop and we are in San Francisco. Benedetta meanwhile was getting thirsty.
First stop is at the Tres Agaves for a drink. We met with Sarah Weiner of The Seedling Project for a well deserved tequila or two. Benedetta seemed particularly thirsty:)
Now we seemed to be ready to enjoy a free night with our friend chef Tia Harrison of Sociale, Chris Arentz andMelanie Eisemann of AVEDANO, William Werner. Thank you guys.Morning after a quick bite in William's new pop up shop of THE TELL TALE PRESERVE.
I love this pop up bars full of soul and character and... genial food.Williiam's bar was opened in an Antique shop which is a bit of a fairy tell looking one. Of Course we loaded up with the magical Cappuccino Preserve. This is a mousse to be enjoyed when no one is around because is too sexy...too good.
I wish I had some of that now.mmmFinally we grab a bit to eat at Swan Oyster Depot -thank you Sarah for the tip- and made it to Dehelinger across the Golden Gate Bridge.
We were meant to go for a rest, but Lisa set us up with Eva and Carmen at the winery. So a little fresh air in the car and off we go.Eva is a young, sweet and very talented wine maker. Proud to be Californian and confident of her own craft! We talked a lot over vineyard management, soil and wine.
Juicy Pinot, bold Cabernet, but I liked particularly the Syrah. I loved the Syrah 2010 from the barrel: elegant, smooth balanced with the alcohol and with plenty of energy.More pictures on the Road from San Barbara to San Francisco. Resting a little in Santa Cruz...[gallery link="file" orderby="rand"]Tomorrow we leave New York early for our last event in Kansas. Are we going to make it? Jill what do you think?