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Friday Find: Deux Maisons takes on Sonoma

April 20, 2012

by Elizabeth

And we’re back from Sonoma! We had a fabulous time (how can you go wrong in the wine country?) and I’m already itching to go back – preferably with my co-blogger! I came back with a suitcase full of wine and olive oil, 200 pictures, and a mild case of the wine flu – time to cleanse after so much amazing food and wine! While I obviously enjoyed all of the wine tastings, the delicious gourmet food items I stumbled across were just as good. And like any good blogger, I’m here to share my finds with you. Most of these are probably hard to find outside of the wine country, but all are available for online purchase.

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company – Foggy Morning –  Pictured above, we enjoyed this during a picnic lunch at Gundlach-Bundschu. (And later in the hotel room and on the plane.) This cheese is similar in texture to a soft, fresh goat cheese but with a milder flavor. Husband, who doesn’t do goat cheese, even liked it.

Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam – I’ve been a fan of Cowgirl Creamery since I visited their shop in Washington, D.C. a few years ago, but I’d never tried the Mt. Tam. It is their signature triple-cream, brie-style cheese. If I’m eating brie, I’m going all the way with triple-cream so this was obviously a winner in our group. I believe I’ve seen some of Cowgirl Creamery’s cheeses at Whole Foods, Central Market and other local cheese shops.

Sonoma Cheese Factory Hot Pepper Cheese – This isn’t a typical Pepper-Jack cheese. I found it to be smoother in texture and had much brighter flavors than your usual grocery store variety. Would be delicious with salami or on a sandwich.

BR Cohn Olive Oils – After stopping in the BR Cohn Winery, I wandered next door to their gourmet shop. They had every.single.item out for tasting. Choosing just a few olive oils to bring home was not easy, I might have bought all of them if it wasn’t for stupid suitcase weight limits. The lime was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the meyer lemon and basil garlic. They suggested using the lime on Mexican or Asian-inspired dishes, fish tacos, or lime vinaigrette. I’m thinking it will also be delicious drizzled on some goat cheese crostini.

BR Cohn Vinegars – Pear Chardonnay and Fig Balsamic were my top choices, but all were delicious and a steal at $10 a bottle.

BR Cohn Chardonnay Caramel Sauce – Heaven in a jar. I didn’t bring in any home due to afore mentioned weigh limits, but I’d love to order some soon. They had pretzel sticks out to dip in the sauce, which was a perfect salty-sweet combo. Would be divine in any recipe calling for caramel, or even better,  just drizzled on ice cream or in a crepe.

Restaurant Notes – Since we were in Sonoma for a wedding, we didn’t eat at too many restaurants while in town. And surprisingly, there aren’t actually too many great options. We did have brunch at The Girl and Fig, which I highly recommend. I had the most amazing Croque-Madame sandwich of my life, and husband enjoyed his chorizo and eggs too. They have an extensive cheese menu, with a variety of pairings. You can also get wine flights which is something I always love at restaurants. El Dorado Kitchen is also supposed to be wonderful. I can’t recommend picnicking for lunch enough – between the endless scenery, cheeses, salumi and snacks offered at almost every winery as well as in shops in town, and the obvious benefit of readily available wine, dining al fresco is incredible.

Wine Notes – I am absolutely not qualified to talk (intelligently) about wine, but we did pick out a few favorite varietals. For whites, we were particularly fond of the Sauvingnon Blancs – 2010 Shone Farm Sauvignon Blanc from Benziger and 2010 Reserve Sauvingnon Blanc from Kenwood. Both had citrus and jalapeno notes, and were totally unique. Good for pairing with shellfish we hear. We also enjoyed the Gewürztraminer at several wineries, including Gundlach-Bundschu (pictured above.) As for reds, husband went for the Russian River Pinot Noirs and I preferred the blends such as Mountain Cuvée from Gundlach-Bundschu or more unusual varieties such as the Barbera at BR Cohn.

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