A cross between a donut and a croissant, the Cronut has taken New York by storm. Invented by chef Dominique Ansel, the curious dessert filled with pastry cream has enthusiasts waiting in line for three hours just for a taste. Throughout the country, bakers have strived to achieve the crispy, fried deliciousness, and it seems a new Sonoma County baking team has come up with their own version. Though the Cronut name is trademarked, Jeremiah Seims and Robin Carey of OUR LADY GRACE CONFECTIONS are selling “doh sants” at local farmers’ markets. Their versions include cinnamon, caramel-topped, and chocolate, and it only takes a bite to get seriously hooked. Think you can handle this caloric creation? Find Our Lady Grace Confections on Wednesday and Saturday at the Redwood Empire Farmers’ Market in Santa Rosa.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the lazy days of summer, because your food calendar is about to be booked up for the next three months solid. With harvest on the horizon, Wine Country gears up for its busiest time of year, full of festivals, parties, and general merriment.
Here are just of a few of the events coming up on the gastro-calendar:
- Gravenstein Apple Fair (Saturday August 10th-Sunday August 11th): Billed as the “sweetest little fair in Sonoma County,” this year’s fair once again celebrates West County’s heritage apple with plenty of apple-filled pies and sweets from food vendors, including The Farmer’s Wife, Green Grocer, Lata’s Indian Cuisine, Sebastopol BBQ Smokehouse Bistro, and Forestville’s Backyard Restaurant. The festival also includes a wine and cider tent pouring from Tilted Shed, DeVoto, and the about-to-open Woodfour Brewery. Advance tickets at Oliver’s Markets, $12 adults, $5 kids. At Ragle Ranch Park; details online.
- Barlow openings: August and September often see a flurry of openings, and this year is no exception. The food-centric complex THE BARLOW is finally swinging into high gear with the opening of WOODFOUR BREWING COMPANY this week, featuring both brews and food (chef Jamil Peden is in the kitchen along with local toques Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman). Zazu Restaurant officially opened its doors on the 7th. Microdistillery Spirit Works opens for tours Friday through Sunday as well. 200 Morris St., Sebastopol.
- Jewish Food Fest (Sunday August 18th): Ask any East Coaster, and they’ll tell you that here in Wine Country, we don’t know bagels, much less serious rugelach or babka. Whether you concur (or not), the annual Jewish Food Fest at Shomrei Torah features the universally loved comfort foods for serious noshing: bagels and cream cheese, potato latkes, corned beef sandwiches, egg creams, matzo toffee, and, of course, rugelach and challah. Babka (a sweet yeast cake) will be flown in from New York, and organizers say they’re tripling the amount of food they’ll be serving this year. Kids’ activities, live music, and a Jewish mother advice booth (guilt-free) are among the afternoon activities. 10am-3pm, $5. Tickets online. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.
- Fermentation Festival (Sunday August 18th): The hottest trend in in food (and drinks) right now? Fermentation. From beer brewing and kombucha-culturing to homemade yogurt, cheese-, and bread-making, pickling, cider-pressing, and, of course, winemaking, bacteria-buffeted preservation as an old-is-new skill on the rise. The FARM TO FERMENTATION FESTIVAL brings together the best of the bunch, with local bacteria celebrities, including the Press Democrat’s Jeff Cox, who recently wrote The Essential Book of Fermentation, Veggie Queen Jill Nussinow of The New Fast Food and “bacteria advocate” Jennifer Harris. 11am-5pm, $30 general admission, $50 VIP “Libation Lounge” tickets. At Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa; details online.
- Potlikker Napa (Sunday August 18th): The Southern Foodways Alliance celebrates Southern barbecue culture next weekend with pit-cooked pigs, slaw, beans, potato salad, and other goodies. Three Southern chefs man the swine while heavy hitters Christopher Kostow (Meadowood), Daniel Patterson (COI), and Stephen Barber handle the sides. 5pm-8pm; $125 per person. Tickets online. Whetstone Wine Cellars, 1075 Atlas Peak Rd., Napa.
- Chocolate Run (Sunday September 22nd): Jack London State Park near Glen Ellen hosts a 5K run and fun festival fueled by chocolate. Traversing various trails and popular sites such as the Winery Ruins and Wolf House, “aid” stations along the way will give away chocolate treats along the 5K route, in addition to chocolate-covered strawberries, bananas, chocolate chip pancakes, and more treats after the race. The run is free for kids under 7, $20 for children 8-15, and $50 for adults. Registration online.