Life is the Perfect Loaf of Bread

photo(27)The other day, I went to a local landmark, the Grist Mill.   Eons ago in the 1800s, it operated just as that, a grist mill.  Joshua Chauvet who settled in Glen Ellen around 1850 started it.  He opened a winery, the grist mill and a brickyard.  Everyday, I am reminded of this entrepreneurial man, as his bricks decorate my home.  And, they are surely gorgeous in a rustically historic way.   Today, the grist mill is  part of a darling little shopping village called Jack London Village.  In it there are restaurants and even a chocolate shop which in my opinion is not to be missed.  Across the way is Eric Ross winery, which is worth a visit.  Try the Albarino, totally delicious.

Although the grist mill is no longer milling grains for bread,one can’t help but think of bread being made when walking around.  From the large mill stones to the water wheel, there are reminders at every turn and even in the most unusual of places.

So, my particular visit was on an extremely hot afternoon around dinner time.  I didn’t want to cook so opted for some Indian, Himalayan food.  Yeti Restaurant is divine.  While waiting for my order, I sat at the bar watching the chefs cook.  An avid cook myself, I was most interested in seeing what they were doing.  A round pillow really intrigued me.  Then, the chef took a ball of dough, rolled it out.  He moistened it with water and then grabbed the round pillow.    The dough was wrapped around the round pillow.  He then, placed it in a oven. A couple of minutes later, naan.  The whole process was a dance, perfected in every-way.  Sometimes, I wonder what Joshua Chauvet would have thought of such an international delicacy being made there.

photo(28)My own bread making has room for improvement.  Bread is such a complicated process. For those of you who bake, you know how finicky sourdough yeast can be, or how the smallest of variations can impact the taste of things.  From sourdough baguettes to cinnamon rolls, I’ve had my share of baking trials.  The latest was with cinnamon rolls for a church gathering.  They literally took three days to make.  And, two of the three batches were off.  The dough was denser than usual.  Something with the yeast or flour I think.   Totally frustrated, I almost pitched them all and started anew at 10pm.  But I decided to set aside my perfectionist side and just enjoy them as they were.  They ended up being gobbled up in no time at all.

Having these experiences makes me appreciate the art of bread.  And when I find the right loaf I appreciate it in every-way savoring its smell, texture and taste.   The grist mill, the naan, a loaf from La Farine bakery in Oakland.  All to be embraced.  It’s like life.  When things all work together and create something beautiful, its time to embrace it, memoralize it and remember it.   Holding onto those times for other more challenging moments.   And, when things don’t go as planned, like my cinnamon rolls, it’s time to reevaluate and potentially roll with it.  For the good is what makes the bad bearable. It makes it worth it.

So, here’s to finding your perfect loaf.  Cheers!

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The Double Eagle

The Double Eagle

The Double Eagle

I recently scored a double eagle!  In golf, a double eagle is an extremely rare score of scoring three strokes under par on one hole.  This double eagle was not in the golf sense of the term, but in the literal sense of a beautiful bottle of wine sealed in wax and decorated with leather.

You may wonder about the story behind this unique acquisition.  So, here goes, the other evening my husband and i were able to leave the kids with their grandparents and enjoy a piece of our wine country home.  It’s not the usual occurrence by any means, but a welcome change of pace.  We decided to act like tourists and pop into a local tasting venue.

This particular place, Sonoma Enoteca, showcases local small production wineries.  As luck would have it one of the winemakers, Vance Rose, was pouring a few of his labors of love.   So, we were able to learn a little about his vineyard which lays atop a breathtaking road and literally straddles Napa and Sonoma Counties.  Ironically, my Italian husband cycles past this divine spot on his Italian bike on a weekly basis. I digress.

As wine tastings usually go we started by tasting a very light and crisp white wine.   A lover of complex flavorful bold reds like Petite Syrah or Zinfandel, I was quite looking forward to trying something meatier.

So, I tried a local zin, which was satisfactory, but then something magical happened.  The winemaker poured a taste from a very different bottle.  Adorned with a leather label and sealed in wax, this wine had all the fixings of being something special.  The Double Eagle  was a red blend with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was rich, deep, yet smooth and fruity.  Sipping it was a beautiful moment.

If that wasn’t enough, the winemaker had stumbled across a bottle from the prior vintage, 2009.  As he dusted it off, it seemed like fate.  That bottle now sits awaiting a special occasion, a double eagle.

Who knows when that double eagle worthy of opening this bottle will occur.  In the golf sense it could be awhile if I’m playing that is.  My husband, well, that’s a different story.  But I’m looking forward to life’s double eagle which in my book will be three occurrences worthy of celebration.  Or maybe the wine itself will be the occasion.  I’ll let you know.