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Chef Adolfo Veronese plans to open Aventine Glen Ellen in the Grist Mill at the historic Jack London Village at the end of May.

The casual osteria will feature a full bar, on-site brewery, indoor/outdoor dining and a menu of modern Italian fare made with fresh, local ingredients.

This will be the third location for Veronese and his brother, Gian-Paolo. Along with partner Rodrigo Nevado, they founded Taverna Aventine in San Francisco in 2007 and opened Aventine Hollywood in 2012.

The Veronese brothers are the children of attorney/politician Angela Alioto and San Francisco restaurateur Adolfo Veronese of Osteria Romano fame.

"With the locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, we sought to create an Old World Roman feel," Gian-Paolo said. "The concept at Aventine Glen Ellen is to build on that, but to pay homage to the countryside in the Lazio and Tuscany region of Italy, where we spent many childhood summers."

Along with the microbrewery, the restaurant will have a wine list that draws from Sonoma, Napa, Italy and around the world.

In the Italian tradition, it will source vegetables and fruits from local producers as well as from its own garden.

The 170-year-old Grist Mill building dates back to the 1830s, when it was used as a sawmill before being converted into a gristmill.

Aventine is located at 14301 Arnold Drive. It will be open for dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. six days a week, closed Mondays. There will be a happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and a brunch served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. 934-891. aventineglenellen.com.

<strong>HEALDSBURG: A chance to dine in Chalkboard's library</strong>

Chalkboard restaurant in Healdsburg has expanded with a new weekend dining experience, the Library at Chalkboard, located in the lobby of the adjacent Hotel Les Mars.

The wood-paneled library seats 16 and offers a modern tasting menu from Executive Chef Shane McAnelly that celebrates the seasonal bounty of Sonoma County.

Diners are presented with a six-course chef's tasting menu with options for each course, including vegetarian dishes, and an optional wine pairing menu.

The chef's tasting menu costs $95, with an optional beverage pairing for $70.

The Library at Chalkboard is open for dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Party size is limited to six guests, although larger parties can be accommodated with advance notice. To reserve: 433-4211.

Chalkboard is located at 29 North St. <a href="http://chalkboardhealdsburg.com" target="_blank">chalkboardhealdsburg.com</a>.


<strong>SEBASTOPOL: Saturday Night Dinners return to Gypsy Cafe</strong>

The Gypsy Cafe has launched Saturday Night Dinners and has brought back the Cider Bar Series, inviting local cider houses to pour early in the evening.

Guests can meet the cider makers from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays while enjoying free tastings of their ciders with charcuterie from Chef Martin Maigaard.

Dinner is served from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, featuring a Top 5 menu similar to the restaurant's popular Friday Dinners.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays, and for dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Gypsy Cafe is located at 162 N. Main St. 861-3825. <a href="http://gypsy-cafe.com" target="_blank">gypsy-cafe.com</a>.


<strong>SANTA ROSA: Matanzas Creek celebrates chardonnay</strong>

Matanzas Creek Winery will host its second annual Chardonnay in May Garden Party from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Rosa winery.

Small bites will be served, alongside two new releases: the 2012 Bennett Valley Chardonnay and the 2011 Journey Chardonnay. There will be live music, garden blooms and a chardonnay library tasting.

Tickets are $20. 6097 Bennett Valley Road. <a href="http://matanzascreek.com" target="_blank">matanzascreek.com</a>.


<strong>GLEN ELLEN: Bouverie presents The Art of Eating</strong>

The Art of Eating, a vintage country picnic honoring environmentalist Marty Griffin and fourth-generation winegrower Carol Wente, will be held at 12:30 p.m. May 19 at Bouverie Preserve.

The annual fundraising event will be emceed by Leslie Sbrocco, host of KQED's "Check, Please," and feature a silent and live auction, nature education display and an M.F.K. Fisher exhibit, "Wine is Life."

The event is inspired by the life of M.F. K. Fisher, who spent the last two decades of her life living at the Bouverie Preserve while writing about food.

Tickets are $150, with proceeds going to benefit the education programs of the Audubon Canyon Ranch. To reserve: <a href="http://egret.org/art-of-eating" target="_blank">egret.org/art-of-eating</a>.


<strong>SANTA ROSA: Combine food, wine at St. Francis</strong>

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards celebrates the marriage of food and wine one Saturday each month, featuring local purveyors and small bites paired with the award-winning wines.

Here is the upcoming schedule:

May 24: TWG BBQ Company, which has roots in Kansas' tomato-and-molasses barbecue sauce, continues the family tradition in Sonoma County, producing all-natural gourmet sauces in small batches.

June 21: The pioneering Laura Chenel's Chevre, which was launched on a small farm in Sebastopol and now makes its home in Sonoma's Carneros region, offers flavored cheese logs infused with honey, truffles and olives.

The pop-up Sonoma Tastemakers' pairings are held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the winery, 100 N. Pythian Road. <a href="http://stfranciswinery.com" target="_blank">stfranciswinery.com</a>.


<strong>ALEXANDER VALLEY: Tasting event celebrates 17th year</strong>

This weekend is the 17th Annual Taste of Alexander Valley event. This Saturday and Sunday, more than 25 wineries will be hosting their own special parties, offering wine and food pairings, live entertainment and special weekend wine discounts. Tickets are $65 per person and gets you access to all the parties. The tastings are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. For more information about participating wineries, visit: <a href="http://www.alexandervalley.org" target="_blank">www.alexandervalley.org</a>.


<strong>SANTA ROSA: Revel in microbrews June 7 at Beerfest</strong>

Beerfest on June 7th is an annual microbrew festival at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. More than 60 of Northern California microbreweries, featuring more than 120 unique brews, will be pouring. There will also be plenty of gourmet food purveyors with tasty samples. One ticket per person ($45 in advance, $50 at the door) will cover all pours and food, as well as a Beerfest glass. For more information about the event, which is from 1 to 5 p.m., call 544-1581. The event is a fundraiser for Face to Face Sonoma County AIDS Network, a local organization that provides services for people with AIDS. The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is at 50 Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa.


<strong>BAY AREA: Award finalists include North Bay companies</strong>

The Specialty Food Association has announced its Sofi award finalists for 2014, with several Bay Area companies making the cut.

Bellwether Farms of Petaluma was a finalist in the cheese or dairy product category for its Whole Milk Ricotta.

In the classic category, Lotus Foods of El Cerrito was chosen for its Forbidden Rice.

Gelateria Naia of Hercules was a finalist in the dessert category for its Blue Bottle Coffee Bar Gelato.

In the diet/lifestyle category, Greenwave Foods of Berkeley made the cut for its Eda-zen Cruncha Ma-me Jalapeno.

Cocoaplanet of Sonoma was chosen in the hot beverage category for the second year in a row for its CocoaMint.

In the jam and preserve category, Gary & Kit's Napa Valley of St. Helena was nominated for its Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese of Point Reyes was a finalist in the salsa and dip category for its Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dip Original Blue flavor. In the same category, Wildbrine of Windsor was chosen for its Wildbrine Fermented Salsa Rojo.

This year's 109 finalists were chosen from a record 2,025 entrants. Winners of the Sofi Gold winners will be announced June 30 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

For a complete list of finalists, go to <a href="http://specialtyfood.com" target="_blank">specialtyfood.com</a>.

<em>Compiled by Staff Writer Diane Peterson, who can be reached at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com, and Peg Melnik, who can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.</em>

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