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A la carte: Farm-to-Fork Fall Feast

SONOMA: Bite wins Gloria Ferrer contest

A librarian from New Jersey won the first-ever “Glorious Bites Challenge” sponsored by Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards earlier this month by making a luxurious lobster and goat cheese appetizer to pair with the winery’s Sonoma Brut sparkling wine.

Donna Wolfe won $5,000 and bragging rights during the final cook-off event held at the winery. Her recipe for Fried Lobster & Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms was chosen from among four finalists’ recipes, which were chosen from more than 360 entries from 36 states.

“Donna’s appetizer was not only the perfect pairing for the Sonoma Brut but a perfect bite of food in general,” said “Top Chef” Season 10 star Brooke Williamson, who served as a judge.

“It was crisp and flavorful, yet delicate.”

More than 200 guests attended the competition, which was emceed by Leslie Sbrocco, host of KQED’-TVs “Check Please! Bay Area.”

Other judges included sommelier Christopher Sawyer, Girl & the Fig owner Sondra Bernstein and Michelle Heston, regional director of public relations for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

The guests also voted on their favorite appetizer, with the popular vote going to Merry Graham of Newhall, for her Lemongrass & Ginger Crab Crisps with Asian Apple and Vietnamese Avocado Mash.

Recipes from the 2015 finalists are available at gloriousbites.com.

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ST. HELENA: Greystone brings back lunch

The Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant in St. Helena has brought back its popular lunch service along with a professional staff during dinner.

Located at the Culinary Institute of America, the updated dining room is now open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Holding 60 seats, the dining room now evokes a modern farmhouse, which complements the farm-to-table menu sourced from the CIA’s farm and gardens.

“We are so excited to now be open daily with a spectacular new menu,” said Waldy Malouf, CIA senior director of food and beverage operations. “We hope these changes will allow us to play a bigger role in the fabric of the community.”

Lunch menu items include small plates such as Melon and Arugula Salad and Rock Shrimp & Chorizo, along with larger plates such as Housemade Ricotta Ravioli and Garden Herb Tagliatelle.

The new dinner menu features seasonally inspired dishes such as Roasted and Pickled Young Beets with Duck Confit, Roasted Oysters with Verjus Butter, and Grilled Five Dot Ranch Beef with Creamless Corn and Wild Mushrooms.

The restaurant serves a wide selection of wines and beers along with a curated cocktail list. 2555 Main St. 967-1010.

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SONOMA: Fall food & wine pairing at Ferrer

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards will hold a Fall Food & Wine Pairing at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, in the VIP vista room overlooking its Carneros vineyards.

Wine educators will walk you through a special pairing of your favorite fall foods, paired with sparkling wines and estate varietals. Costs is $65. To reserve, gloriaferrer.com. 23555 Highway 121.

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NOVATO: Autumn feast at Fresh Starts

Chef Tracey Shepos Cenami, a cheese expert and chef at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate, will create some hearty harvest dishes during a three-course dinner and cooking class at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Next Key Center in Novato.

The benefit for Homeward Bound of Marin includes a menu of Squash and Lobster Bisque with Pickled Persimmon and Crème Fraîche; Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Purée, Spiced Baby Carrots; and Caramel Panna Cotta with Burnt Caramel Cream, Candied Almonds and Smoked Salt.

Tickets are $60, and wine will be for sale by the glass or bottle. hbofm.org. 1385 N. Hamilton Parkway.

Staff writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com.

Diane Peterson

Features, The Press Democrat

I’m interested in the home kitchen, from sheet-pan suppers to the latest food trends. Food encompasses the world, its many cultures, languages and history. It is both essential and sensual. I also have my fingers on the pulse of classical music in Sonoma County, from student mariachi bands to jazz crossover and symphonic sounds. It’s all a rich gumbo, redolent of the many cultures that make up our country and the world.

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