You wake up one day and look out the window at the incredible world of opportunity. Pondering what is in store for the rest of your life, you suddenly realize, its your book and you write it the way you want to.
Out of the corner of your eye, you see out the window, a sweet couple from China, walking directly into your office. They were not just wondering casually like most people who are in the Sonoma square on a beautiful Saturday. No, these two were clearly on a mission. They sit down in the comfy chairs and proceed to tell you they want a very big house on a mountain with vineyards, a view, a few other important details. After asking them how they are in Mandarin(one of about 6 words you know in Chinese) and talk to them a for a while about life in China, you proceed to help them because this a new chapter in this book you call MY LIFE.
What is life-like in Wine Country you want to know? It is really very different, but yet the same as it is in any other part of the World. There are little treasures buried all around us if we just open our eyes and look. The beauty in Sonoma is stunning to say the least. Lush green mountains, hot air balloon rides over the vineyards that look like little armies of grapes, lakes, rivers, ponds, pools, vast views of San Francisco’s skyline, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and it just goes on. EYE CANDY.
After living on the Hawaiian Islands for years, the beauty around you becomes a normal part of daily life. It makes you hyper aware of nature and gives you a deep appreciation for Mother Nauture’s treasures. There is a way of life on the Islands that forces you to slow down, listen, look and feel everything around you. I have realized through my travels, this is one of the best gifts island living has instilled in me.
Falling asleep on the white sand under the swaying palms in the Florida keys while listening to the music of jets flying to Cuba, taking ferry rides from one light house to another in the outter banks of the Carolina’s, the smell of sauce cooking while walking around the neighborhoods in New York City, a train ride through the Adirondack’s, the vast open land of the midwest, a beignet and coffee while listening to jazz in New Orleans, a huge gap in the Earth in the Grand Canyon that is colored every shade of red you can imagine, the redwoods along the Pacific ocean, the taste of Caribbean food while looking at the ocean on the Cayman Islands, the beautiful green lush mountains of Honduras, smells of every type of ethnic food you can imagine in Singapore, a longboat ride through the Andaman sea in southern Thailand. This is my Journey.
The sights and sounds of traveling have prepared me for this chapter. Living in Wine Country. Another life lesson on cuisine. I am not talking about just amazing food, clearly all the places I have visited have offered great bites. I am talking about the art of pairing great food with great wine. Now that is not only a whole different world but a masterpiece in itself.
Lets talk Oysters.… with over 150 different varieties of oysters, it is no wonder I text my son with questions(before I discovered google) while looking over a menu to decide which of these little nuggets I should try. All of these varieties can be broken down to 5 different species.
1. Pacific oysters~ these tend to be a little sweeter and creamier. 2. Kumamoto oysters~ these little in size nuggets are perfect for the novice, easy to eat, creamy, sweet, small, hints of nut flavor. Originally brought over from Japan, they are now harvested in Baja California, Humboldt bay, and the Puget sound. 3. Atlantic oysters~ these larger size oysters tend to have a little more mineral, briny flavor with a bright clean taste. 4. Olympia oysters~, the smallest of all species, the only oyster indigenous to the US. Almost extinct at one point. These little guys have a strong metal flavor to them. 5. European flat oysters~ I almost want to separate this one into two categories. 5A European flats and 5B Belons why are these different? Both being from Europe, the Belon is from the Brittany region of France near the Belon River. You guessed it, unless it is from this region it is a European Flat. Both are strong in flavor, they hold an intense ocean flavor and tend to have a good pop in the bite.
This brings us to the paring of beverages. The winner is clear in this one.
Champagne or sparkling wine is really the perfect pairing for oysters. If you are uncertain of the difference, it is simple. Champagne is from the Champagne region of France, Sparkling wine can be from anywhere. They are both wine that has a second fermentation which has created a natural bubble. I am a personal fan of true Champagne. It has less of a sweet taste and more of that ocean shell minerality to it. California sparkling wines are typically a little sweeter with more fruit on the palate. Cava’s are from Spain and tend to be a little less sweet as well. Prosecco’s often times are the sweetest of the sparklers (however I have had some beautiful extra brut’s). Cremant’s are also French, just outside of the Champagne region. If you love the true taste of Champagne but the cost is too much for your budget, a Cremant is a great option. For those that are label confused about the difference between dry and brut.
Brut Nature(a.k.a. Brut Zero)
0-3 g/l Residual Sugar Extra Brut
0-6 g/l RS Brut
0-12 g/l RS Extra Dry
12-17 g/l RS Dry
17-32 g/l RS Demi Sec
32-50 g/l RS Doux
50+ g/l RS is equivalent to over 2 teaspoons sugar per 5 oz. serving
Oysters and Champagne. My personal preference is Pacific or Kumamoto oysters raw is the only way, with a great bottle of vintage Blanc de Blanc Champagne.
Until the next chapter Cheers