Get a taste of Sonoma during Wine Country Weekend

Get a taste of Sonoma during Wine Country Weekend

Many Sonoma County chefs find inspiration in the ancient cultures clustered around the Mediterranean, which share their mild winters and warm, dry summers. They’re ideal for producing complex, slow-ripened fruits like wine grapes, healthy olive oils and vegetables.

Since things that grow together go together, the Mediterranean can be mined for all kinds of delicious dishes to complement the wide range of Sonoma-grown wines, from crisp chardonnays to fruity zins.

At the Taste of Sonoma Saturday September 3, local foodies can learn about some of these classics first-hand from a handful of Sonoma County top toques who will give cooking demos, then hand out tastes with a wine pairing.

“The Taste is a great event, and I’m the first one to give a demo,” said chef Mark Stark, who with his wife Terri, serves as the honorary culinary chair of this year’s Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, held Friday through Sunday. “For locals, it’s a great way to see all the winemakers and chefs you know.”

When locals need a break from tasting this Saturday, they can sit down and watch a cooking demonstration from one of five chefs, then taste a small bite of Middle Eastern bread salad or Tortilla Espanola, Greek dolmas or Italian meatballs.

Stark will be demonstrating a dish from his newest restaurant, The Bird & the Bottle in Santa Rosa, which combines Southern barbecue and Asian cuisine, with a few Jewish twists. His Tomato and Watermelon Fattoush Salad, made with pumpernickel-rye croutons, grew out of the new farm launched by two of his employees and funded by the Starks. The farm now supplies specialty vegetables to the couple’s six restaurants.

Next up, Chef Jesse McQuarrie of Feast Catering in Santa Rosa will give a demo of his famous Mac’n’Cheese Lollipops, a savory appetizer that is deep-fried for extra crunch. The whimsical starter will also be served with greens, heirloom tomatoes and a lemon-truffle vinaigrette in the Bubble Lounge, where guests can start the day with a trio of sparkling wines from Gloria Ferrer.

Chef/owner Sofia Petridis-Lim of Taverna Sofia in Healdsburg will share her secrets for creating Greek dolmas, also known as stuffed grape leaves.

“I was taught by my grandma to roll them at about 7 years old,” she said. “It’s like rolling a fine cigar. You have to be delicate but firm at the same time.” The pickled grape leaves are filled with a mixture of rice, fresh herbs and lemon juice, then rolled up and dipped into tzatziki, a tangy yogurt sauce.

Kickoff events include a sparkling reception and poolside dinner, featuring food from four restaurants owned by Mark and Terri Stark.

More than 200 wineries and 60 local chefs will create perfect pairings, give wine seminars and cooking demos.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3

Where: Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood

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