Soter | Spring Wine Club Open House
Euskadi, the "Basque Country", is a universe full of nuance to explore: It's diversity of nature, rich history, and excellent gastronomy, plus the glamour of avant architecture. Throw in the Medieval towns and their castles, combined with a galaxy of Michelin stars, the long rigged coastline, vineyards and wine, and you have a sensitivity feast.
Bilbao was founded as a villa in 1300 as an iron producing powerhouse. But at the end of the XX century the city decided to morph from an industrial economy into a city of services. The redevelopment project involved a completing environmental restoration of the city center (including a total cleanup of the Ría) and an urbanística (metro, tranvía, new bridges...) transformation which has been internationally awarded, putting Bilbao on the global tourist map.
The symbol of this new Bilbao is the Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Gehry. Other famous architects like Norman Foster and Santiago Calatrava have designed structures in the city as well. The old town or "Casco Viejo" went through a restoration program, is now the place which conserves the traditions and identity of the city. Bilbao is the perfect "amalgama" between the past, present and future.
The Zubizuri (Basque for "white bridge"), also called the Campo Volantin Bridge or Puente del Campo Volantin, is a tied arch footbridge across the Nervion River in Bilbao, linking the Campo Volantin right bank and Uribitarte left bank of the river. The design consists of an inclined structural steel arch linking two platforms, with access ramps and stairways on both banks.
Discovering Bilbao you will end walking through the bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building represents a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. Guggenheim is a must-visit. I was amazed by artists ANISH KAPOOR (Tall tree & the eye,2009) and JENNY HOLZER (Installation for Bilbao, 1997).
RICHARD SERRA's permanent installation THE MATTER OF TIME (1994-2005). Guggenheim Museum.
San Sebastian is a city to love. Beyond the beach, this seaside resort’s enticements include art, architecture and, of course, dining on delectable small plates at pintxo bars. Basque Country is also the place to taste Txacoli wine and some Ossau-Iraty cheese.
Gastronomika San Sebastian is one of the best gastronomy festivals in Europe. You can see the best chefs of all around the world and have the opportunity to hang out with them. Is a unique festival to taste, drink and be around the very very best of the culinary world.
Getaria is a charming fishing village close by San Sebastian. Birthplace of BALENCIAGA and the rolling hills of the getariako TXACOLI WINE region. Is you are a fish lover don't miss ELKANO restaurant. You will be tasting the best fresh fish from the sea to the table.
Azurmendi is the three Michelin star restaurant by Chef Eneko Atxa. An innovative cuisine in stunning surrounds with sustainability at the heart. Azurmendi is a family restaurant that also houses a winery run by his cousin, Bertol Izagirre, specialising in Basque txakoli wine.
London is my favorite design capital in the world.
You can visit landmarks and imagine the history of the place, you can soak up some culture, try "fish and chips" for the heck of it. But to me the most important gift I get from London is to sense the energy of this cosmopolitan vibrant city. If I had to rename it Babel would come up on the list of options to consider.
Visiting Harrods can never disappoint your senses. Visually and tastefully it is an emporium for fashion, food and literature. A world on its own dedicated to high quality products and attention to detail. www.harrods.com | www.hedonism.co.uk | www.tate.org.uk
Walking Belgravia and visiting The Tate.
Every trip to London should include a visit to Ottolenghi where you can't have enough of the wonderful food prepared by this Israeli-British chef who's company owns five delis and restaurants in London. Then when back home, I can play with his books, PLENTY, PLENTY MORE, NOPI and his latest one SWEET.
If you want to get lost in the world of wine, HEDONISM is your place. During my first visit I felt like a kid in a candy store. Every label, every vintage, the rarest wine is here. Not only you can discover the labels and treasures they have at the store, you can taste them as well!
A necessary stop in the posh neighborhood of Mayfair.
"BALENCIAGA: SHAPING FASHION" at the V&A Museum
An exhibition to examine the work of influential Spanish couturier Cristobal BALENCIAGA.
An incredible tour around 100 pieces from last century.
The Oregon Truffle Festival it's the only event of its kind in the country. I was extremely excited to participate, learn and forage for this world known delicacy while exploring the terroir of Yamhill Valley truffle and wine country.
The morning started with a truffled breakfast at Chehalem Cultural Center, followed by a presentation by Mark Bitterman from The Meadow about the "Sensory Life of Truffles"
#ortrufflefest @oregontrufflefestival #atthemeadow @AtTheMeadow
Truffle hunting with "Gucci". She was a 3 years old lab in charge to find forty wonderful white truffles for our group of foragers.
Two days later I made a wonderful pasta dish; Tagliatelle with black truffle cream sauce, from saveur magazine.
Lady Hill Winery
We were rewarded after a rainy and cold morning with a delightful lunch at Lady Hill Winery. Sarah Schafer, owner and executive chef of Irving Street Kitchen, prepared a truffle inspired menu to pair with Lady Hill wines. #irvingstkitchen #ladyhillwinery
Dungeness crab and black truffle salad salad paired with 2013 Ad Lucem Day Star
14 hour Slow white Truffle Cooked short rib paired with 2013 Procedo Crecente
Black truffle & valrhona Chocolate Cheesecake, Buckwheat Struse, espresso Mascarpone, Truffle salted chocolate Hazelnut Bark paired with 2013 Lady Hill Cuvée Etienne Lucier.
Lagardere Sports presented Safeway Open 2016, a professional golf tournament part of the PGA Tour at Silverado Resort and Spa.
Watching the finest players of the world, walking around magnificent grounds, followed by nightly concerts...It was the perfect break in between wineries and tastings.
The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena is one of the two-branch campuses the college has in the wine country. Their newest addition at COPIA, will open to the public this fall which is located next to Oxbow Public Market on first street, downtown Napa.
This college receives students from diverse backgrounds, both professionals in the industry as well as food and wine enthusiasts. Its academic programs consist of associate degrees and certificate programs in culinary arts, and baking and pastry arts.
A visit to this building is a must, you can dine, enjoy the cafe, visit their culinary oriented store and participate in cooking demonstrations while feeling suspended in time and place.
1 / This famous stone building, known as Greystone Cellars, was built for William Bowers Bourn II as a cooperative cellar in 1889. Lately was owned by the Christian Brothers as a winery from 1945 to 1989, it was used as a winery until 1993. A magnificent wine cellar was at one point considered the largest of its kind in the world.
2 / The building was designed in the Richardson Romanesque Style.
3 / The walls of the entire building are built of local light gray volcanic stones put together with Portland cement, and the trimmings are of a red stone of similar formation.
4 / The teaching kitchens are on the third floor of the primary building. The kitchen uses Bonnet stoves, rotisseries, appliances for induction cooking, a stone hearth oven, convection ovens... The baking and pastry kitchen has a 16 foot flecked granite and solid oak tables for pastry and dough preparation.
5 / Greystone cellars was added to the National Register of Historic Places -NRHP - on August 10,1978
HYDE DE VILLAINE (HDV) is a winery and vineyard owned by the Hyde family of
Napa Valley and the De VILLAINE family of Burgundy.
HDV wines are sourced exclusively from sustainably farmed Hyde Vineyards in the Carneros AVA where the combination of it's temperature and winds allows for prolonged growing seasons.
The winery, built in 2003, is a few minutes north of downtown Napa.
Its limited production is divided among Chardonnay's, Syrah, Pinot's, Cabernet and Merlot.
This past October, Costa Alcantara was invited to winery's fall release party where we tasted the whole range of its wines while learning characteristics about each from HDV winemakers.
All of them stand out from the wines you would taste in Napa, with my favorite two being:
2014 COMANDANTE CHARDONNAY & 2013 CABERNET SAUVIGNON.
- Region: Napa Valley
- Appellation: Los Carneros
- Vineyard: Hyde Vineyard
- Block: 'Old Wente'
- Age of vines: 35 years
- Geography: Eastern edge of the Los Carneros District
- Exposure: South by southeast
- Soil: Shallow loam over clay hardpan
- Subterranean: Ancient terraces and alluvial fans
- Acreage: .75 acres
- Production: 93 cases
- Harvest dates: September 1st, 2014
- Bottling date: February 2, 2016
- 2015 vintage release: September, 2017
2013 HYDE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
• Region: Napa Valley
• Application: Carneros
• Vineyard: Hyde
• Age of Vine: 13 years
• Geography: Eastern edge of the Carneros
• Exposure: South by southeast
• Soil: Shallow loam over clay hardpan
• Subterranean: Ancient terraces and alluvial fans
• Aging: 22 month barrel
• Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
• Filtering: Unfined & Unfiltered
• Harvest date: September 27th, 2013
• Bottling: July 29th, 2015
• Cases produced: 46
• Acres : 0.5 acre
• 2014 vintage release: September, 2017
Cameo Cinema in Saint Helen presented "The Deli Man" movie as part of their Cinema Bites series which supports their local Farmer's Market.
Chef Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant At Meadowood) was the special guest who presented the movie while we enjoyed Vineyard 29 Aida Estate Zinfandel and Mad Fritz Beer accompany by baguels and lavax. A great treat to celebrate Jewish cooking tradition.
My mantra for every trip to Napa Valley,
it is the last breakfast at Oxbow Public Market. Fresh artisan breads, coffee roasters, cupcakes, tacos and quesadillas, oyster bar. Any food you think of can be found here.
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It is always hard to say goodbye to the Silverado Trail
A long story here at Far Niente...
Established in 1885, after Prohibition in 1919 the estate was abandoned.
Gil and Beth Nickel purchased the winery sixty years later. Today it is a Historical Registered site and 100% solar powered.
Five labels under Far Niente winery; Nickel &Nickel, Far Niente, Dolce, Enroute and Bella Union.
Rory Kandel was our hostess, and guided us through it's wonderful grounds and pairings.
Far Niente Chardonnay (2013 and 2014) paired with Abbaye de Belloc
from the Pyrenees region of France.
Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon (2013 and 2009) paired with San Joaquin Gold,
from Modesto, California
2010 Dolce, Napa Valley paired with Bleu d'Auvergne
A visit to Chimney Rock, a Terlatto Family Winery, would make you think you step into a winery in Stellenbosh, South Africa.
Beautiful Cape Dutch Architecture is the home of a line of serious Stags Leap District wines. My favorite was the 2013 Tomahawk, cherries, raspberries, silky a powerful wine. Will be even better in a few years
It is all about health and wellness at Calistoga resort and spa.
Chic wooden cottages, a hot spring pool, signature mudslide treatments at the bathhouse.
A Michelin starred restaurant to enjoy freshly prepared, local and organic dishes.
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Crab with avocado and grapefruit for breakfast
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon pickled black cherries, Saba pearls fennel, nasturtium,
pain de mie.
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My morning indulgence at the spa was their famous mudslide at the bathhouse.
You start covering your body with a mixed of your preferred oil and volcanic ash let it dry on your skin for 20', next you immerse yourself into a tub filled with thermal water and the last step of the treatment is relaxing for 20' on a gravity chair. I did not want to get out!
the town of the "wappo" indigenous people, mining,
agriculture and the famous hot springs
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wappo: Nilektsonoma, "chicken hawk place"
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the famous novelist Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was one of the early visitors of Calistoga. While working on another stories Stevenson kept a journal which became the Silverado Squatters describing local features, residents and characters.
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in 1924 Giuseppe Musante set up a bottling line and began selling Calistoga Sparkling mineral water, known today as Calistoga Water Company.