Natural and human-made catastrophes have made us all a bit slaphappy this year, but as our rooms of drinkers and diners fill up again we are seeing a bracing new awareness of what constitutes joy. It feels good to sit in well lighted rooms with other people, listening to music and the sound of our voices raised in story, with cures for what ails us - though they may run the St. Vincent gamut from voodoo to zen. When beautiful plates of food arrive, an easy gratitude descends. Whatever is coming next we would all do well to try and find common ground, to face the future together. To be well fed and lubricated is not amiss, but the season offers many opportunities to give something of ourselves as well.
THE STUDIO BARNDIVA OPEN HOUSE kicks off our season. One of our town's best traditions is to 'make the rounds' as dusk descends just after Healdsburg's traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Plaza. This year Chef Wycoff will be sizzling up hundreds of our infamous quail egg BLT's, Isabel will keep the crystal punch bowl topped up with a spirited "Why Bears Do It," and the consummate musicians that comprise the John Youngblood Quartet will glide through a remarkable mix of blues, bluegrass and New Orleans jazz. Swing by. Help us start the season off right.
Tickets are now on sale for the fire relief and recovery fundraiser RISE UP SONOMA, an incredible collaboration of chefs and restaurants, winemakers and purveyors from across the North Bay. Six charities vital to recovery will benefit. Barndiva is proud to be participating.
This is a chance to spend time with an extraordinary winemaker, innovative and caring land and vineyard manager, video producer and supporter of the arts. In an era of 'look at me vintners', Eric Sussman is the real deal. The Somm's Table is thrilled to have him here for the last of our inaugural vintner spotlight dinner of the year. Ryan is a big fan and has created an extraordinary menu for the wines Eric will bring. Book Online or call 707 431 7404
DECEMBER 24: We are open.
DECEMBER 25: Happily closed for Christmas Day.
Ryan has not finalized our New Year's Menu yet, but tantalizing details are starting to emerge: in the Barn we are hearing it will be elegant and very classic, six courses, prix fixe. Think house smoked salmon and caviar bellinis, cold poached lobster salad with wild greens, velvet cauliflower soup, roasted quail, prime sirloin with black truffle mac & cheese. Scotty has promised dark chocolate butter pecan bonbons. Over in the Gallery Chefs Fancher and Wycoff are conspiring to craft something more casual, but no less delicious, with interactive pieces as befits NYE. We will publish both full menus, with two Alexis Iaconis wine pairings, next week. A very special guest DJ will join us around midnight. Let's dance!
Throughout the holidays we invite you to explore our new, 70+ champagne list, lovingly compiled by Alexis and Cathryn, with a gleeful assist by Lukka. We trust there is something here for just about every palate and budget.
One bottle you will not find is handcrafted from 1000 vines grown on a south facing hillside in the Axe Valley, in West Sommerset, England. We met Rob Corbett, the winemaker & dairyman of Castlewood Vineyard and Farm for one windy, sun splashed afternoon last May. That's him in the image at the top of this page. Works hard and plays hard, which is our mantra this Holiday Season. Rob has a prominent place in our next blog, "Barndiva Approves of this Message," wherein we will endeavor to tip our hats to some of the most extraordinary people we've met during the year that is ending - fellow travelers in the food and wine, farming and floral worlds who bolstered us up in a year we sorely needed it. Stay tuned.