13 March 2016

So Cheesy: Bohemian Creamery

It was a rather rainy weekend -- one of many this year in Northern California (hooray!) -- and we had to make a day trip up to the River (the Russian River that is, also known as my happy place). We were not in any big hurry to get home, so we took a bit of time meandering, first stopping by a winery but finding our hearts weren't quite into wine tasting before a possibly hairy ride home.

Inspired by a class we had taken that week at The Cheese School of San Francisco, we decided to
turn our focus onto finding a few of the many creameries in the Marin/Sonoma County areas. After all, cheese is not only delicious, but the perfect accompaniment to wine and also an excellent indulgence for a lazy Sunday, which we knew ours would be.

You may see this pic a few times! Cheeses from Bohemian
in bottom left corner and the dark-rind next to the apples
As we left the winery, we say a sign that said "cheese, 300 meters." We had to follow! Following the road for a bit, we thought we had missed it, as we have no idea how long a meter really is (c'mon, we're Americans!). But shortly after we lamented that we had passed it and oh well, another signed popped up that said, "Cheese here." A quick turn into the parking lot and a run through the rain, and shortly we were in the tiny storefront of Bohemian Creamery.

What a treat this place is! They have a full case of cheeses -- approximately eight in refrigeration and three harder varieties -- that are made from cow, goat, and even water buffalo! They also serve a goat milk frozen yogurt...J loved this but I wasn't too keen on the flavor they were offering that day (orange blossom and chocolate...not my personal fave).

There were no limits on samples -- we tried almost every cheese they offered and were offered more if we'd like. Ultimately, we went home with three:

  • Cowabunga - this is a "dessert" cheese, which neither J nor I even knew existed. It's a cow's milk with a sweet goat milk carmel-y tasting treat in the middle. Tastes like really rich cheesecake. I am not a cheesecake eater so not my preference but J absolutely loved it.
  • BoDacious - a goat's milk cheese that is both mild and has a nice tang to it. Super spreadable on a delicious bread or cracker base.
  • Caproncino - an aged, semi-hard goat's milk cheese. Had a nice sharpness to complement the apples, and very delicious on a grilled cheese sandwich the next day.
What the store may lack in space it more than makes up for with the hospitality and yummy cheeses. We will definitely be stopping by here again, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

7380 Occidental Road
Sebastopol, CA
open only on weekends

06 March 2016

Wine Sipping: Twomey Winery

If you are looking for a relaxing spot to stop and take in the view of the Russian River Valley, then Twomey Cellars is the place for you. Bonus if you are looking for some of the best Pinots in Northern California (and the best Sauvingon Blanc).

Twomey is a modern-looking winery with a view that takes you back to the old world; for a moment you might mistake the rolling hills and acres of vineyards for those found in Tuscany. But make no mistake, this winery is all California. The sister winery of Silver Oak, the world-renowned Cab house, Twomey focuses largely on Pinot Noirs, though they have an excellent Merlot. On a recent visit here, we were told that their wine maker wants to bring Pinot grapes not only from local vineyards, but also from those a bit further away, so that visitors are able to compare and contrast.

I personally love their Bien Nacido (Santa Barbara) Pinot Noir -- it is a bit more fruit-forward and smooth in texture. JCH, my husband, favors the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, which benefits from the fog the rolls in most nights in the coastal vineyards. Being that they welcome well-behaved pooches, Luca is usually with us, and he especially loves all the treats they bring him.

Twomey is a great stop on the Westside trail -- bring a picnic and enjoy the view. They also offer a cheese plate for purchase.

Twomey Cellars
3000 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA
small tasting fee

28 February 2016

Wine Sipping: Mazzocco Winery

By far, the winery we visit and recommend the most. How they haven't gotten tired of us and our friends by now is a mystery, but speaks to just how great this place is.

Mazzocco is part of the Wilson Artisan Wine Group, and focuses largely on Zinfadels. They also have a few other excellent varietals -- including one of my favorite Sauvingon Blancs (very limited release). Part of the fun here is tasting the different vineyard-designate Zinfandels, and finding how much diversity can occur with the same exact grape. My personal go-to is the Sullivan, though Maple Reserve is coming in a close second.

If you are lucky, a member, or with one, you may get to go into the Monkey Room to taste their higher-end wines. It isn't a guarantee but it is always worth an ask.

The tasting room and outdoor area are both very welcoming for well-behaved pooches. The outdoor area is big and serene; bring along some nice cheeses or a picnic, sit outside, and enjoy the scenery.

Mazzocco Winery
1400 Lytton Springs Road
Healdsburg, CA
11am - 5pm Daily
small tasting fee

It's Been a While!

Life sometimes gets in the way!

I'm back in 2016 with a renewed focus for this blog -- travel, wine, fun!

26 February 2016

Reading is Fundamental: 2016 Book List

How to Be Single Liz Tuccillo: A tough but entertaining read, especially if you are a single woman of a certain age. The protagonist decides to give up her desk job and travel the world to find the "single woman" experiences around the world. This trip takes her to Paris, Rome, Rio, Sydney, Bali, Mumbai, and Iceland; while she is traveling, her friends back home are experiencing their singleness in a different way. A little cliche, but does really hit the common threads and thoughts that many of us have when we are at that stage in our life (at least ones who I know, including myself before I was with my now husband).

Troublemaker Leah Remini: Not the best-written book, but a fascinating look at the inner workings of Scientology.

Luckiest Girl Alive Jessica Knoll: The main character at first seems like someone who "has it all," but as a reader, you realize there may be more to her story. To be she came off as a bit vapid, and the book took a turn I was not expecting into her past at a prep school. Most of the time I wanted her to shake her, tell her to grow up, and get into therapy.

I Take You Eliza Kennedy: This one was a head scratcher to me -- the main character is a week away from her wedding, and as a reader you are mostly left wondering why the hell she is bothering. She doesn't seem to care much about her fiancee, her wedding, or herself. I guess a series of one-night stands the week before you get hitched is supposed to be cute, but I found it unbelievable and tedious.

Here's what I read in 2013!

December: A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers
October: Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman
October: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain
August: The Thinking Fan's Guide to Baseball, Leonard Koppett
May: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
March: Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg