There is nothing quite so satisfying as hosting a mind-bending dinner coupled with the perfect wine. Edna Valley Vineyardâ€™s cooking and wine-pairing classes offer an opportunity to experience firsthand the way local chefs create their culinary masterpieces and how to choose the ideal vintage wine to accompany each savory dish.
- PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GARDNER
- WINE AFICIONADO SHARES HER KNOWLEDGE: Tina Hoppe explains the intricacies of wine and food pairing during a cooking class at Edna Valley Vineyards.
Wine aficionado Hoppe absorbed a wealth of knowledge while growing up in the industry, and expanded it by opening her own Hoppeâ€™s restaurant. â€œI love wine and foodâ€”they are both art. It is never ending,â€? Hoppe says. â€œWhen I started here, I divorced the restaurant business and married the wine industry.â€?
Hoppe describes, in language that even wine illiterates can understand, why a red wine would overpower a sweet potato blini with soy yogurt and lentil caviaâ€”just one of five incredible dishes Chef Charles Paladin Wayne created during a class last week. Each course was impeccably paired with the wines of Edna Valley Vineyards, giving the students not only a sample of Hoppe and Paladin Wayneâ€™s perfect match, but also the tools to recreate their masterpiece at home.
â€œWe started taking the classes in 1990,â€? Margareta Barkinge says, with her friend Heather Heaps at her side. â€œWe are very good cooks now. Technique is really what you pick up. The chefs teach us little hints.â€?
Throughout the class, Hoppe and Paladin Wayne suggest local vendors who carry the culinary bounty required for each dish. Says Hoppe, â€œOur slogan for the year is â€˜savor the SLO.â€™ Enjoy everything the area has to offerâ€”the local foods, wines, and entertainment.â€?
For the past nine years, during the months of March and April, top local chefs have shared their favorite recipes. On April 11, Chef Jose Dahan will teach students how to create cold appetizer salads, warm entrÃˆe salads, and demonstrate how to balance flavors while utilizing Neptuneâ€™s bounty. Then on April 18, Paladin Wayne will demonstrate dishes from the Caribbean, Hawaiian, South Pacific and Polynesian Islands. Scallop pad Thai and passion fruit soufflÃˆ with vanilla bean are just two of his recipes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Expand your knowledge of Dutch oven-style cooking on April 25 with Chef Maegen Loring from the Park Restaurant.
â€œThis is a way for us to share our passion, and allow people to go home and try the dishes,â€? Hoppe says. â€œIt is a wonderful opportunity to showcase wine and foods, side by side, and how the components of foods balance with the components of wines.â€?
Classes take place at Edna Valley Vineyards in the hospitality center, 2585 Biddle Ranch Road, Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. ;$40 per person. Reservations are required and seating is limited. For more info call (805) 544-5855.
Staff writer Karen Velie compiled this weeks Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to firstname.lastname@example.org.