Now that the California State Fair is in full swing (July 10th-26th), and Save Mart Supermarket’s Wine Country is open for tasting, I wanted to give you a heads up on my favorite wines this year from the Winners of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Andy and I attended a media event a few weeks ago at which the 2015 Best of Show winners were announced, and here’s what we liked best:
2012 Handley Pinot Noir (Mendocino County)
Andy and I discovered Handley Cellars at the Pinot on the River event last year in Healdsburg, and we have been buying their Pinot Noir ever since. Not a shock to see them win an award. They took silver for the pinot noir pictured above and their 2013 Anderson Valley Gewürtztraminer pictured below. Congrats to a well-deserving winery!
The Rosé of Barbera pictured above from Gold Hill Vineyard took Best of Show Pink DOUBLE Gold 98. If you remember a few years ago, I told you it was hip to drink rosé, and I chose some of my favorites at Total Wine. You can read those picks here. If I were to rewrite my list of summer sippers this year, the 2014 Gold Hill Barbera Rosato would be one to buy!
Speaking of rosés, here’s one from Zucca Mountain Vineyards, the 2014 Belle Nipoti a rosé blend. This wine earned a Silver for Best of Class of Region.
Upon the suggestion of California State Fair wine judge and co-host of the Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul radio show and podcast Rick Kushman, I visited the table where Robert Hall wines were featured. I found this Orange Muscat I liked very much, even though I am not typically a fan of dessert wines. It won a Gold honor for Best of California, Best of Region ‐ White.
I also found this sparkling wine made by Barsetti quite delightful. It was actually the first wine I tasted when we arrived at the event. What a way to kick things off. This wine scored a Gold Best of Class of Region.
This Rosato di Primitivo was Amador’s Uphill Vineyards first attempt at making a blush wine. Nice job there, because it made my list of wine picks and more importantly, took a Double Gold honor from the wine judges.
Last but not least, we have a Chardonnay produced by one of my favorite local wineries, Matchbook Wine Company. You might remember my recent tour of their facilities. Matchbook’s The Arsonist Chardonnay won a Silver, and even though I knew exactly how the wine tasted, of course I had a little taste anyway. 😉
There’s Andy and Rick deep in discussion, no doubt. 😉 Actually, Andy met Rick through running before he met me. And I met Rick through the whole Sacramento food and wine scene before I met Andy. So now it’s always fun to see him at events and get each others’ opinions on what we liked (and didn’t like) and why. Good times! 🙂
About the State Fair Wine Competition
The first State Fair Wine Competition was held in 1855. The competition is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine events in the country. Top wines including Best of Region and Best of California winners will be featured at the State Fair in the Save Mart Supermarkets Wine Garden for visitors to enjoy July 10-26.
A complete listing of award-winning wines can be found at castatefair.org. Hope to see you at the fair (most likely in the Save Mart Supermarket Wine Country)! 😉
Look at that beautiful crowd! I want to thank all the people who came out to our cooking demo at the California State Fair. I realize many people were just passing through the kitchen and saw a place to sit down for a while, but there were a lot of people who stayed through our class, and many who actually new about Paleo, and wanted more information.
I was impressed there were a few couples in the crowd that showed up to see the demo because they already practice the Paleo/Primal diet/lifestyle. They were so nice to us (important because of my semi-stage fright/shyness), and it was fun to compare notes and results. It was a real encouragement to have like-minded people in the audience cheering us on!
Andy made a dish from last year, his ever-popular Bacon Wrapped Dates, which are simply three of the best ingredients you can find, bundled in a little package and secured with a toothpick. Pecan halves, Medjool dates and thick-cut premium (preferably applewood-smoked) bacon. Below is Andy making a tray to be baked in the oven (while we are actually doing the cooking demo) so some samples would be ready to be passed around before the end of the class.
We were supplied with pitted Medjool dates (along with the rest of our ingredients) this year thanks to Savemart. The pitted dates saved a step in prepping those trays, as Andy places half a pecan in place of the pit, and wraps the date in one half slice of thick cut bacon, then secures each piece with a toothpick.
After your tray looks like this, place in the oven at 400°F and bake for 12-15 minutes (start checking them when it gets close). The bacon should be cooked and browned.
For my part of the demo, I made this Paleo Mud Pie. Recipe is below:
3 cups almond flour/almond meal
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine crust ingredients and spread on a large baking/jellyroll pan (you’ll want the pan to be at least 2″ deep).
Bake the crust for 20 mins at 375°F, or until you can smell the butter and the crust has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare your filling:
For the Filling:
8 medium -10 large Avocados
1 cup honey (ohhh yeahhhh)
8 Tbs Almond butter (once again, ohhh yeahhh)
1 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbs instant coffee
1/4 cup hot water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Place the instant coffee in the hot water and allow to dissolve completely.
So, since there are a lot of ingredients quantity wise, you’ll want to split the recipe into half and then mix it all together in a big bowl. For instance: In a food processor, pureé the 4-5 avocados in a food processor, add 1/2 cup honey, 4 Tbs almond butter, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, then 1/2 the coffee mixture and 1 tsp vanilla. Transfer the mixture into one big bowl, then repeat with the remainder of the ingredients.
Then you’ll combine both chocolatey mixtures into one big bowl and stir together to incorporate fully. When the two mixtures are combined completely, spread them over the cooled crust, and then refrigerate the pie for 2-3 hours before serving.
To serve, sprinkle 1-2 cups chocolate chips over the pie. If you can get mini-chips, even better. I prefer the Enjoy Life brand because they are dairy free.
Paleo. Chocolatey. Mocha. Goodness.
The State Fair experience makes me want to do some local cooking demos/classes. Would anyone be willing to attend/pay for that sort of thing? Just curious. Leave me a note and tell me your thoughts!! xo
Here’s a press release from my friends at the California State Fair!! 🙂
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Aug. 6, 2012) – The state’s finest winemakers, vineyards and wineries will be honored on Aug. 18, when California’s Grape & Gourmet – the country’s largest tasting of award-winning wines – returns to Cal Expo.
The 17th annual Grape & Gourmet is a celebration of the prestigious California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition, the oldest wine competition in the United States.
Winners were announced in June and will receive their awards at Grape & Gourmet, prior to the public tasting and wine sales.
The public event is 3-6 p.m. in Cal Expo’s air-conditioned Building A/B. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Online group sales of 10 or more are $35 per person. To purchase tickets, go to http://www.calexpo.com
Award-winning wine will be available for sale by the bottle and case. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the California State Fair’s scholarship program, which this year awarded a total of $32,750 to 27 students.
California’s Grape & Gourmet features pours of the State Fair’s medal-winning wines, award-winning beer from the State Fair’s Commercial Craft Brew Competition, award-winning cheese from the Fair’s cheese competition, and samplings of great food from area restaurants.
In this year’s Commercial Wine Competition, 2,890 entries were received from 688 participating wineries. Seventy-two judges on 18 panels awarded 2,156 medals, including 74 Double Gold, 268 Gold, 1,195 Silver and 734 Bronze.
Complete results of the wine competition appear in “California Wine” magazine, a publication of the California State Fair, which will be available at the event and at Save Mart Supermarkets in the near future.
SPECIAL TREAT (or not)!! Archive post from cakegrrl.com below!!
Here are a few pics from the event a few years ago. (The last time they had it indoors at Cal Expo, and wayyy before I was Paleo).
Shout out to the Bread Store for the Ciabatta loaf I scored at the end of the night and the olive loaf they gave to my stunning mystery companion. Mulvaney’s was serving two refreshing sorbets–one with mint, maybe basil in there too? The other one was fig. Both fantastic! 🙂
OMG! We conquered the big-*ss Rib Steak!! It was soooo good. We were able to order it right off the grill & medium rare without extra sauce! It costs about $16 and it feeds 2 people. It was perfect for the caveman and the cavegrrl… I am pretty sure we were the happiest couple at the fair sharing that big old hunk of meat! 🙂
And we landed in the wine garden (big surprise! ;)) with a mini picnic sponsored by one of my favorite food booths at the fair (conveniently located within the Wine Garden) Pignotti’s!! This year, they’re serving up my favorites again… the fruit plate, the salami plate, and the cheese plate. There’s also a meatball with pesto sauce that you should try.
Of course, we didn’t eat the bread on the plates, but I am showing you what you will get on the plate when you order. You can probably ask them to leave it off your plate entirely if you want. 🙂 Here’s a little slide show of the must haves (especially when you are sipping those California State Fair Medal winners!!):
BY THE WAY!!!!!
Come out and see me tomorrow, (Friday, July 20th from 5-7pm!) In the California Food Building (where the permanent exhibit buildings are located).
I will be making bacon wrapped dates and a cocoa hazelnut spread served with bananas! And you will get to taste test them for FREE!! And maybe by tomorrow I will have figured out a catchy name for the hazelnut spread!
You’ll also get to meet my partner in crime, The Running Bum aka Andy aka caveman, and we’ll talk about Paleo, what we eat, our staple kitchen ingredients, and other fun recipes!!
And since we’re talking about food, here’s the latest press release with the 2012 Cooking Competition Results:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 19) – The California State Fair announces winners of its California’s Kitchen challenges and competitions for adults, children and professional chefs.
Best of Show:
Jams & Jellies Show: Claudine Kelly of Orangevale, for Blueberry Pomegranate Jelly
Kidz Jams & Jellies Show: Ashley Olson of Kingsburg, for Strawberry Balsamic Thyme Jam
Soft Spreads & Fruit Show: David Conrad of Stinson Beach, for Bearss Lime Curd
Pickles, Relish, Sauce & Salsa Show: Joan Edelsohn of Moraga, for Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
Kidz Soft Spread, Fruit, Pickle & Sauce Show: Matthew Silvera of Sutter, for Pickled Green Beans
King Arthur Flour Cookie Contest in Kidz Kitchen:
First place: Lincoln Marks of Rancho Cordova, for Kettlecorn Cookies
Second place: Catherine Gallagher of Sacramento, for Almond Strawberry Tea Time Cookies
Third place: Kaitlyn Ripley of Carmichael, for King Arthur’s Cookies
Poppy’s Baby Cake Contest in Kidz Kitchen, sponsored by C&H Sugar:
First place: Lindsey Abernathy of Sacramento, for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Second place: Madilyn Ripley of Carmichael, for Poppy’s Baby Cakes
Third place: Jamie Grgich of Elk Grove, for Marzipan Ladybug Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Awards of Merit – Aysia Seals of Citrus Heights, for Aysia’s Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes;
Demetrius Marshall of Sacramento, for Demetrius’ Out of this World Triple Chocolate Cupcakes;
Esther Ambrose of Galt, for Flower Power Poppy Baby Cakes, and
Evangeline Gardiner of Loomis, for Rainbow Cupcakes
Professional Chef Challenge
Preliminary rounds winners, who will compete in the finals 4-6 p.m. July 29:
Chef F.J. Villalobos, of 58 Degrees & Holding Co.
Chef Evan Elsberry, of Evan’s Kitchen
Chef Cecil Rhodes II, of Bella Bru Café Carmichael
The California State Fair is here again, and this time I will be doing a cooking demo at the fair on July 20th, from 5-7pm! I will be there to discuss the Paleo diet and to make a dish for audience sampling!! Come out and say hello and see what the Paleo thing is all about.
In celebration of my appearance at the Fair, I am giving away a pair of tickets, complete with a parking pass to one of my readers. To win, please comment below and tell me what you are most looking forward to at the fair! (If you’re anything like me, it’s the wine garden and the Mick Martin concerts!) I’ll also be heading to Pignotti’s booth (located in the wine garden) for my cheese and fruit plate! 🙂
The person with the best entry wins (you have to be local to win)…Giveaway ends tomorrow at noon! Ready…. GO!!!
Also, read below and check out some of the new attractions at the fair this year (via a press release from the California State Fair Media Department), or you can read my State Fair review from last year. I found some really healthy options at the fair:
Better hours and a slew of new attractions are among the highlights of the 2012 California State Fair, which runs July 12-29 at Cal Expo.
The fairgrounds will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Magical Midway hours are 2-11 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday, noon-11 p.m. Wednesday, and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Kids Park will be operational 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In keeping with the theme “Fun That Moves You,” the 2012 State Fair introduces an array of entertaining, challenging, educational and thoroughly enjoyable activities and experiences for all ages. Most of them are free with fair admission:
“Wizard’s Challenge” (in front of Bldg A) – Explore the magic and wonder of science in a 9,600-square-foot, Medieval-themed, mostly interactive exhibit. Morph your face with someone else’s in the Morphing Mirror. Try to identify mysterious smells in Common Scents. Dare to walk through the Dragon’s Lair. Make beautiful music with the Enchanted Organ and Steel Drums. Take on all-comers at the Giant Chess Set. There are 20 activities in all. And don’t miss the Magic of Science stage show with three performances daily. “Wizard’s Challenge” is sponsored by SMUD.
“Sun-Maid Celebrating 100 Years of Fruit and Sunshine” (Expo Center, Bldg 3) – The Kingsburg-based company, a cooperative owned by nearly 1,000 families who grow raisin grapes, celebrates 100 years of a thriving enterprise by displaying from its collection two paintings and a chromo lithograph by the celebrated America artist Norman Rockwell. The Sun-Maid celebration also includes an interactive exhibit that tells the story of dried-fruit production in California and the history of the iconic Sun-Maid Girl. The Sun-Maid chef will cook up heritage recipes in the Sun-Maid Kitchen.
“Girl Scouts Zone”(Bldg A-B) – Celebrating 100 years of scouting, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California worked with Randy Roberts, deputy director of the Crocker Art Museum, and museum consultant Rachel Tooker to create an interactive exhibit that shows how Girl Scouts discover, connect and take action to make the world a better place.
“Toytopia 2.0” (Expo Center, Bldg 5) – Sacramento’s Stage Nine Entertainment returns with an interactive exhibit for folks of all ages. Doodle on the world’s largest Etch-a-Sketch and pretend that you live in a giant dollhouse. Build something with Legos and other construction toys. Visit the stuffed animal Toytopia Zoo. Check out model planes, trains and automobiles, and play the day away at a retro game arcade. Don’t forget to visit the official Toytopia store inside the exhibit.
“Birds in Paradise”(Floriculture) – Wander deep into the “jungle” where macaws, Amazon and cockatoos inhabit the “parrot tree.” Marvel at colorful peacocks, along with a charm of finches, a colony of canaries, along with kookaburra, amazons, curassow and other “singers.” Experts will be on hand to talk about the feathered flock. And look for exotic plants, many of which were propagated and nurtured in the State Fair’s Landscape Yard: vanilla orchid, sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, banana, papaya and pineapple. Free California poppy-seed packs will be given away while supplies last.
“Wet ‘n’ Wild” (Bldg B)– The California Department of Water Resources and California Department of Fish and Game team up on a water and wildlife exhibit designed to educate the public about native animals and how water impacts their habitats. See raccoon, bobcat, bald eagle, rattlesnake and amphibians in enclosures similar to their native habitats. Watch educational and entertaining presentations with a beaver, turkey vulture, North American porcupine, desert tortoise and hawk at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
“We Stand on Their Shoulders”(Bldg A) – Sacramento State professor emeritus Felicenne Ramey created a documentary–style exhibit in which photographs of elderly African-American men and women are paired with their musings on life. Ramey began working on the project in 2009. The exhibit comes to the State Fair after making its debut earlier this year at the Sacramento State library.
“ ‘The Flying Marbellos’ & Friends” (Expo Center, Bldg 7) – Vallejo dentist and artist Victor Chaney creates wacky and hypnotic kinetic sculptures, including the circus-themed “The Flying Marbellos” and “H2-Opus,” a musical fountain. See six of his unique works in the Fine Art building.
Guinness World Record attempts– Be a part of history at the California State Fair as not one, but two, world records are challenged. The world’s largest cocktail, a Margarita, will be built starting at 10 a.m. July 13 in an enormous stainless steel shaker on Palm Avenue. A Roseville woman will attempt the longest continuous Ferris wheel ride. She’s set to begin her quest at 5 a.m. July 23 in the Magical Midway. She’ll have to outlast the Los Angeles police detective who set the current record of 25 hours in June 2012.
My First Ride (Cavalcade of Horses arena) – Never been on a horse before? Now cowboys and cowgirls of all ages can saddle up for a jaunt around the arena. Rides will be given at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on July 15, 17, 24, 27 and 28. At 3 p.m. every day, kids can participate in stick-horse games and pony painting.
On the Magical Midway – Butler Amusements amps up the fun with old favorites and some new attractions, including White Water Log Flume, Mega Drop Tower and Circle of Champions. The Zillerator Coaster makes its return to the 2012 State Fair.
High Fly’n Zip Line (behind Expo Center, Bldg 5) – Also debuting at the 2012 State Fair, brought in by Butler Amusements, is a 600-foot-long zip line on which up to four riders will fly along at 35 mph. The highest elevation is 60 feet. Riders must weigh between 30 and 250 pounds. Zip line tickets are $20 and do not include State Fair admission. Carnival wristband and carnival tickets cannot be used for this ride.
Gran Jaripeo con Ezequiel Pena y Mucho Mas– The action includes a bull-riders-only rodeo, renowned Mexican entertainer Ezequiel Pena who will perform as he rides around the arena on horseback, and much more. (4-10 p.m. July 29, Horse Show and Rodeo Arena)
In addition to the new attractions, these are among the old favorites back at the 2012 California State Fair:
Live thoroughbred horse racing in the Miller Lite Grandstand (July 12-15 and July 19-22), big-name entertainment on the Golden1 Stage, the Livestock Nursery, Children’s Dairy Center, Dianne Olds Rossi and her Magical Dancing Horses, Metal Mayhem Destruction Derby (cars and RVs), Counties Exhibit, Fine Arts, cooking competitions in California’s Kitchen and The Farm, Operation Postcard, Friends of the California State Fair’s Brewfest, Youth Art & Design Expo, Gospel Festival and the Sacramento Mile.
The 2012 California State Fair runs July 12th-29th at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento
Fair hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Admission: $12 general, $10 ages 62-plus, $8 children 5-12. Children under 4 free.
(Discount tickets on sale until July 11.)
Parking: $10. For more information: www.bigfun.org
I love going to the California State Fair every year. I visit several times during the duration of the fair, and enjoy the exhibits (especially the California county exhibits), the wine garden, the concerts, and just people watching in general. 🙂
This year, I have changed my focus a little with my side business and this website. I no longer make cakes or sweets or anything that I shouldn’t be eating. Well, anything I shouldn’t be eating I certainly don’t want to try and sell to you.
So now, I want to report more on healthy living… or at least making healthier choices. In this post, I will show you that YES, there are better food choices at the fair. You can make it out alive without having a “deep fried” anything. No one is forcing you to eat a funnel cake, ok? If you are currently on a diet or have been advised by a doctor to stay away from sugar and excess fat, you don’t have to avoid the fair altogether. Read below for some information on vendors I visited that carry lighter food choices!
After I obtained my chicken kabob, I headed over to the wine garden to try some award-winning wines and to taste the wine of the day. Tip: Buy a souvenir wine glass for $7 and when you buy a glass of wine you actually get more like a glass and a half. The volunteers at the wine garden are very nice people and a lot of them are pretty knowledgeable about wine without being snooty, so if you are a wine novice, feel free to ask questions and really get dialed in to a wine you like before you buy! 🙂
Also, don’t miss this coming Friday’s (July 29th) wine event at the fair. The Taste and Celebrate the Best wine event (formerly California Grape & Gourmet) is the culmination of the Golden State’s premier wine competition. This special celebration of the State’s world class wine industry will include a tasting of California gold medal winning wines as judged at 2011 California State Fair Wine Competition. Proceeds from the Taste and Celebrate the Best event will benefit the Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship Program. You can buy tickets here. (scroll down to the Taste and Celebrate the Best event).