8th Annual Napa Truffle Festival Set January 12-15

The American Truffle Company returns for the 8th Annual Napa Truffle Festival Friday, January 12 through Monday, January 15 uniting gourmands and aspiring truffle growers for a weekend packed with activities centering around one of the world’s most prized delicacies.

Recognized internationally as a wine and and culinary Mecca, Napa Valley again serves as host for the festival with The Westin Verasa Napa serving as “truffle central” for check-ins, programs and special room rates for festival guests.

Leading the scientific group is American Truffle Company cultivation expert Robert Chang and mycorrhizal expert/scientist Dr. Paul Thomas.  Additional presenters include certified professional dog trainer Alana McGee, wild mushroom forager/mycologist David Campbell, the team at Robert Sinskey Vineyards Truffle Orchard, and returning favorite truffle dogs Rico and Lolo.

Other events include the highly-popular Truffle Orchard Tours/Dog Training Demos, Grower Truffle Cultivation Seminar, Wild Mushroom Forays, Dig Truffles Experience, Winery Truffle Lunches, Trail Rides & Terrace Tastings, the Truffles & Wine Dinner at La Toque, and special truffle menus at local restaurants.

The event concludes Monday with the Festival Marketplace at Oxbow Public Market showcasing local artisan vendors and their specialty food products, cooking demos, plus fresh truffles for sale and a chance to win a prized black truffle. Admission is free to the public.

For a detailed schedule of events, go to http://napatrufflefestival.com.

For information about the special room rates being offered by the host hotel, visit The Westin Verasa Napa


Above photos from 2017 Napa Truffle Festival

Savor the Holidays with 20 Chefs in Hawai’i

Join over 20 members of the American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association Saturday, December 2 for the 29th annual Christmas with the Chefs gala at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel at Kamakahonu, historic grounds of the island of Hawai`i.

From 5:30 to 8:00 pm, enjoy plates of expertly prepared savory cuisine and delectable holiday treats  accompanied by handcrafted ales, choice wines and 100 percent Kona coffee.  Live entertainment by the Bill Noble Trio provides dancing under the stars overlooking historic Kamakahonu Bay.  The traditional  silent auction featuring an array of holiday gift ideas benefits local culinary students attending Hawai‘i Community College—Palamanui and members of the Kona Kohala Chefs wanting to further their education.

If you’re heading for the Big Island, tickets are $90 presale, $95 at the door and available online at www.konakohalachefs.org.  Tables of 10 are $1200 which includes reserved seating, table-side service and select bottles of wine—and can be purchased online. The Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is offering a special event room rate starting at $159. Phone 808-331-6330 and ask for the “Christmas with the Chefs” room rate.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association: ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts.


Dorado Beach Announces Third Annual Culinary Getaway November 9-12

Mi Casa. Dorado Beach’s resort’s signature restaurant

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve  and world-renowned Chef José Andrés announce the Third Annual Dorado Beach Culinary Getaway to be held at the luxury resort on Puerto Rico’s Caribbean coast November 9-12, 2017.

Noted chefs Eric Ripert, Tim Love and Jacques Torres will be joining  Andrés, mastermind behind the resort’s signature restaurant, Mi Casa, for weekend of culinary activities with guests.  Events include a beachside cookout, wine and rum tastings, culinary demonstrations and special meals. At exclusive meet-and-greets, guests will also have the opportunity to personally interact with each chef.  Highlights also include an elegant cocktail party at the property’s stunning private residence, Su Casa, as well as a Chef’s Dinner and farewell champagne brunch.

Chef José Andrés

Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” and “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation, José Andrés is internationally recognized as a culinary innovator, author, educator, TV personality, humanitarian and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup.  A pioneer of Spanish tapas in the United States, his group of award-winning restaurants includes sites in Washington D.C., Miami, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, and Mexico City.

Beachfront accommodation

Situated on 1,400 acres of the former Laurance Rockefeller estate, this luxury beachfront resort takes barefoot elegance to a new level.  Amenities include three magnificent 18-hole golf courses, The Beach Club with adult and family pools, award-winning five-acre Spa Botánico, and wide array of one-of-a-kind lifestyle activities.

For inhttp://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/puerto-rico/dorado-beach | 1-787-626-1100



Terranea’s Fourth Annual Food & Wine Celebration set for Sept 22-23 in Southern California

Cocktail competition, wine and food tastings, breakfast on the beach, grand dinner, and specialty seminars by award-winning chefs and winemakers highlight the Fourth Annual Celebration of Food and Wine weekend September 22-23 at Terranea Resort in Southern California’s Rancho Palos Verdes.  Across from Catalina and surrounded by water on three sides, the ocean-front luxury resort’s farm-to-Terranea culinary philosophy focuses upon local and sustainable ingredients including those from its own abundant herb and vegetable gardens, lemon groves, beehives, a sea salt conservatory and more.

Ticket prices vary for each event which is open to locals as well as resort guests. For those wishing to attend the entire weekend, a Celebration of Food & Wine package is offered for $575 per person which includes all events Friday through Saturday night.  Accommodations are additional.  The agenda is as follows:

Friday, Sept. 22

6-10 pm: Taste at Twilight features six Terranea bartenders competing to create the crowd’s favorite cocktail. During the cocktail competition, guests are invited to vote for their favorite libation from among such favorites as the Firebird, Koyo, London Knights, Native Flourish, Rye Berry Smash, and Somebody Call 911.  Attendees sip champagne and enjoy bites prepared by Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra’s culinary team which are also paired with local beers and wines at food stations in the pool cabanas. Ocean views and live music complete the setting.

Saturday, Sept. 23

8:30-11:00 am:  Breakfast at the Cove, an al fresco picnic includes stations serving flap steak asada, pan chilaquiles, and potato taco skewer; a griddle station with scrambled eggs and plancha-fried rice; bagel bar served out of a kayak; fresh fruit station; and freshly baked pastries including mortadella, basil and gouda cheese croissants, and parmigiana paprika granola bars.  Nitro coffee, mimosas and bloody marys complete the beverage offerings.  Seating is at picnic tables and blankets on the beach with live music by Wise.

11 am-2 pm: Vista Experience:  Chef Ibarra presents his house-made kombucha followed by seminars on sustainability, cheese-making, sea-salt demonstrations, a falconer presentation, and Greenbar Distillery kombucha cocktails featuring Tru Organic vodka, and live music.

2-3pm:  Tour of the Central Coast Tasting Lunch features a three-course tasting menu on the Catalina kitchen terrace by Chef de Cuisine David Tarrin or California Pinots Tasting Lunch — a three-course on the restaurant’s ocean view terrace showcasing a tasting menu prepared by mar’sel’s Chef de Cuisine Andrew Vaughan paired with California Pinots.

6-9 pm:  Farm-to-Terranea Dinner will include three-courses served outside family-style by Chef Bernard Ibarra.  Guests can taste dishes such as Spit Roasted Lamb with Moroccan spices; chilled garlic and almond soup shooter; grilled tomato salad with house goat cheese and freshly-cut basil; pressed herb potato pie; and stuffed honey brûlée figs.  Live music is by Northern Lights.

10 pm-1 am:  Night Cap on the Terrace After Party ends the festivities with offerings of fine ports and chocolates under the stars, highlighted by the winner of the cocktail competition winner.

Click here for event prices and reservations as well as information on the resort.


Culinary Event photos by David Rhein


Chardonnay Symposium To Be Held In Central California Beach Towns May 12-14


tcs-logoThe International Chardonnay Symposium not only attracts winemakers, sommeliers, the trade and media. It is a must for wine enthusiasts who travel the globe and want to learn more about winemaking and tasting. There’s also ample time for exploring nearby Central Coast wineries and seaside resort towns of Pismo Beach and Avila Beach that offer downtown winetasting rooms, farm-to-table and seaport-inspired cuisine, boutique shopping, pristine beaches, surfing, kayaking, hiking and biking trails, and more.

Events open to the public include:

French Forum: Exploring The Wonders of French Chardonnay, (lunch included), Friday, May 13, 11:00am–1:30pm. Master Sommelier Bob Bath will take you on a guided tasting tour of the top Chardonnay-producing regions in France from Chablis to Champagne.

Wente Clone Comparative Tasting, Friday, May 13, 2:00pm–3:30pm. During the past 30-40 years, Ernest Wente selected vines that showed favorable trait, and re-planted them to establish the Wente Clone of Chardonnay. Today, the Wente Clone is widely planted throughout the western United States.

Chardonnay GrapesPét-Nat, Sparkling Wine & Oysters Gala, Friday, May 13, 4:00pm–6:00pm.
Join 20 of your favorite producers as they showcase their Pét-Nat or Sparkling wine paired with freshly harvested oysters from Morro Bay Oyster Company.

La Paulée Dinner and Vintners Awards Ceremony, Friday, May 13, 7:00pm–10:00pm. La Paulée Dinner and Vintners Awards Ceremony is an elegant evening attended by consumers, winemakers, sommeliers, and enthusiasts celebrating top Chardonnay producers. The gourmet multi-course dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef Craig Strong at Montage Laguna Beach.  Winemakers will showcase their treasured library of select wines with guests.

Pismo Beach & PierHone Your Chardonnay Blind-Tasting Skills, Saturday, May 14, 10:30am-12:30pm. Scent expert Larry Brooks, who has crafted Chardonnay for more than four decades, will help you sharpen your blind-tasting skills in this two-part seminar.

Pairing Chardonnay & Artisanal Cheese, Saturday, May 14, 11:30am–1:00pm. A world-class tasting of paired artisanal cheese with acclaimed Chardonnay from top wine producers.

Avila Bay & Pier at SunsetSaturday Grand Tasting, Saturday, May 14, 1:00pm–5:00pm Among the vines, taste premium Chardonnays from the U.S. and around the world spanning the diverse flavor profiles. Enjoy small bites, cheese, a host of vendor booths, and more

Winemaker Dinners, Various Locations, Saturday, May 14, 7:00pm–9:00pm. Select from a host of intimate winemaker dinners at wineries, in the vineyards and top local restaurants. Click on the View Participants for participating wineries.

For more information on the symposium and events, click here.

Jade Mountain Offers Weekly Culinary Calendar & Food Festivals

JadeMountain-SaintLucia15bA Weekly Culinary Calendar has been introduced by the award-winning Caribbean island resort, Jade Mountain, to supplement its celebrated annual Culinary Festivals.

Making these events unique for gourmands and chocolate lovers, all the produce comes from Emerald Estate, the resort’s organic farm in the hills above Soufriere on the isle of St. Lucia. In addition to all the perks of a luxury Caribbean resort, your farm-to-table experience includes visiting the farm and selecting such ingredients as vanilla beans, JadeMountain-SaintLucia4cocoa, bay leaf, nutmeg, fruits of cinnamon and coconut trees,  varieties of mango, and sour oranges.

Each week offers 11 ways to sharpen your cooking skills and increase your appreciation of fresh ingredients.  Programs include:

  • Cocoa Tree to Chocolate Bar which features a jungle stroll through the resort’s private Emerald Estate providing insights into the roasting, grinding and conching of cocoa beans (redistribution of fats to maximize flavor) with a sampling and bar of the estate’s organic chocolate.
  • A Tandoori Cooking Class on the beach in late afternoon introduces you to the spicing secrets of St.Lucian/East-Indian Fusion dishes like Chicken Tandoori.
  • Chocolate, Wine and Paradise presents surprising pointers on pairings of wine and the world’s favorite aphrodisiac.
  • Learn how to create exotic rum drinks in a Saint Lucia Rum Mixology Class led by a Jade Mountain mixologist.

JadeMountain-SaintLucia48When not immersed in culinary delights, Jade Mountain offers a true island paradise escape. Its tranquil setting offers views of the old French colonial town of Soufriere and Twin Pitons, both of which are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its 22 cantilevered suites designed as sanctuaries and reached by bridges have private pools in lieu of a fourth wall, inviting in the surrounding scenery. The extraordinary architecture conceived and built by visionary owner Nick Troubetzkoy is perfectly in harmony with its natural surroundings. JadeMountain-SaintLucia75Enveloped by an infinity pool, dining in the Jade Mountain Club on a private hillside terrace offers panoramas from every table.  Exclusively for resident guests, its Jade Cuisine, created by James Beard Award winner Chef Allen Susser, is a fusion of tropical, cultural and Caribbean flavors reflective of seasonal changes. On select evenings, you’ll also enjoy entertainment ranging from local jazz musicians to acoustic guitarists.

Most Weekly Culinary events accept a maximum of six participants to allow everyone to participate fully in the workshops and hands-on cooking demonstrations.  Some events are free; some involve a fee.

JadeMountain-SaintLucia74This year’s remaining festivals include:

  • October 2-6 – Jade Mountain’s Discover Chocolate offering a hands-on experience in the world of cacao and chocolate.
  • December 11-15 – Spices of the Caribbean presents a look into the island’s Spice Box, creating flavors of exotic places for the plate.

Events for 2016 include the Mango Madness Festival in June and five-day Cooking in Paradise celebrating locally grown Caribbean Cuisine.  Dates for both to be announced.

For event information, go to www.jademountain.com/events.html.  For resort information and reservations, call 800-223-1108 or visit www.jademountain.com