It was a beautiful day in California Wine Country.
Kath picked me up in the convertible and we were off to Kenwood Vineyards in the gorgeous Valley of the Moon. The wildflowers were everywhere, making our leisurely drive down Route 12 a pure joy. The landscape was covered with the electric blue of lupine, the fluorescent orange of California Poppies and so many other varieties it was hard to count. Add 79° F and you know what bucolic means in Sonoma County.
Wed been invited to come see what the IRS Blues was all about by Kenwoods Events Coordinator, Diana Bowland. Each month, a themed Special Event is scheduled at the winery. Typical activites include food and wine pairing, live music, Sonoma County products from local vendors and discounts on Kenwood wines.
The entry fee of only $5 also gets you a logo glass for the included wine tasting. Themes are sometimes tied to the season, hence Aprils IRS Blues. Reds and Reggae, Zin Mania, Kenwood goes Hawaiian, Neptunes Bounty and The Taste of Pumpkin are examples of themes for upcoming monthly food and wine pairing special events at Kenwood.
After the pleasant drive, we were delighted and a bit surprised to find that the event was not wall-to-wall people. Instead, we found an un-crowded tent nicely laid out to feature Kenwood wines paired with local vendors foods and condiments.In the background a versatile band played music that had toes tapping.
We happily paid $5 for a logo wine glass and a ticket for their drawings for wine, t-shirts, mugs, food and wine pairing and more. Hard to believe, when this is what you pay to do a simple tasting at some of our local wineries!
The first table under the tent offered a delightful salad paired with Kenwoods bubbly. Mmm good, cleansing the palate for what lay ahead.
Next was a unique, home made card company, Bella Saluti run by Michele Granger. Beautiful cards, hand crafted, youll love them.
Moving on, we found Simas Sweets & Sours. Peter tried Simas Quince jam and was reminded of his Grandmothers jam. Peter used to walk a mile to his Grandmothers home to get a piece of toast with her homemade jam. He obviously liked her Quince jam, and felt that Simas Sweets & Sours was as good as his Grandmothers.
Just in time came another booth serving Kenwood Merlot paired with a zesty rice and sausage dish followed by Mayacamas Fine Foods where the pasta sauces were delightful and Pasta Passion Pesto Genovese Marinated Mushrooms got our attention. Yumm!
Sartains Menu was next with BBQ sauce to die for. Sartains Menu makes two versions of Sartains Menu, The Sauce. Their offering of BBQ Pork hit the spot and paired well with Kenwoods Merlot. We were beyond snacks now, and were talking about canceling lunch. This just whetted our appetites for more.
Another Kenwood booth with their Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a luscious desert. Wow! Is this the end? No, read on.
Fontana Farms of Ceres was represented next with great preserves, sauces and toppings. Fontana Farms' preserves, toppings and sauces are made in small batches, using fresh, tree and vine ripened fruit.
Were both kind of partial to good olive oils, so the next booth made us happy. Supremo, makers of Supremo Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Supremo Organic Zest Oils had a spread that allowed us to taste across their products. Lemon, Orange and Lime zest olive oils were intriguing. Think of the recipe possibilities!
The last vendor booth was Gold Ridge Jam where the tastes were in keeping with the event. Oh so superb and just another taste to please the palate.
Finally, with a tasty sandwich to accompany their Pinot, was another Kenwood table. Another lunch, phew, we were overwhelmed with the value of this event from the vendors and the winery. Keep it up.
We took Tres Classique Specialty Foods out of order and last because we were so impressed with their wide line of sumptuous products. Their dressings & marinades, both soy oil based and fat free, were out of this world. Mendocino Garlic, Regal Raspberry and Orange Poppy seed, our favorites, just hints at the diversity of flavors. Add dessert sauces, herbed wine vinegars, flavored grapeseed oils and a white truffle oil that still has us smacking our lips and youll understand why we kept coming back to their booth.
But we were not finished yet! In the center of the tent were two more tables. At one table Smith & Riley Mustards offered their attention getting mustards with cheese and salami with crackers. The other table held Porkys Original BBQ Style Onions. Smith & Riley Mustards is a small family-run business started by long time friends. They won a Bronze Medal at the Napa Valley 2001 Worldwide Mustard Competition. By the way, the 2002 festival was the ninth annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival and ran from February 2nd to April 6th.
The final table at this months Kenwood food and wine pairing Special Event had the mustards available from the Kenwood Tasting Room.
We were blown away by the quality/value combo of this event, and they have one every month! Very special, low key and pleasant, Sonoma Valley style enjoyment on a beautiful day. Kenwoods related winery, Valley of the Moon Winery, has similar quality events on a monthly basis with food and wine pairing, discounts on selected wines, music and local vendors with their products.
Kath and Peter
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