Embracing the seasons is one of my favorite things in life, especially when it comes to cuisine. There’s a local festival that goes on every year here in Sonoma County at the Kendall Jackson Tasting Room, one that’s hailed as one of the best in this region, but it’s a festival I had never attended until this past weekend.
Our good friends had extra tickets to the Kendall Jackson Tomato Festival so we were invited along and what a great time we had! It’s a one day event where 50+ Wine Country restaurants and food purveyors create tomato inspired dishes to compete for the top prize. It’s a spirited competition and all of the local Bay Area favorites prepare creative tomato infused dish, and attendees reap the benefits by sampling them all and casting a vote!
Prizes are awarded including a golden spade for Best of Show.
Our sweet friends who invited us to tag along show off how well thought out the festival is. They hand you a wine glass (but of course) and a bamboo platter that holds it when you walk in and then they send you on your way to all the wine, food, tomato, and cheese samples you can devour, yum! And how cute is my friend’s red striped dress??
These beauties are everywhere on display, perfectly ripe, and so fresh they’re nature’s candy.
Please forgive me, this next part will make you drool but I must share. There were complimentary samples we were encouraged to gobble, such as Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding, Italian Zaleti Cookies, Chicken Tacos with Heirloom Tomato Salsa, and Flatbread with Summer Vegetables and Bacon. We did not protest one bit.
Don’t forget Tomato Smash on Hot Dogs, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Risotto Croquettes, Tomato Mousse with Lemon Crème Fraiche, and Grilled Pate and Cheddar Sandwiches with Tomato Chutney. *burp*
And there were recipes with words that we didn’t understand at first glance but it never stopped us from digging in. “Heirloom Tomato Parmesan Cannoli with Crispy Pancetta and Purple Cherokee Vichyssoise” Sure!
And there was so much more! No one, I mean no one, leaves hungry.
Over 170+ varieties of tomatoes are grown on the property and guess what? You can sample them all, if you’re willing.
Cheese pairs perfectly with wine don’t we all know, so there were plenty of vendors from across the fruited plain sharing their fresh cheeses, from our local goat varieties to mozzarella from Wisconsin.
I learned something new… flour is now made from grape skins for gluten free cooking, and I sampled some incredible cookies and breads made with it!
The Kendall Jackson Tasting Room is one of my favorite architectural structures, I absolutely love its stunning French chateau style. So much so, I copied the color of the stucco among other things – see this story with details on when we built our house.
Inside the tasting room, there was even more sampling happening, and the mustard color on this hutch caught my eye, gorgeous, right?
Look who we spied as we were walking into the Tasting Room! Mr. Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives himself – a local celebrity, Guy Fieri chatting it up with some fellow chefs during one of the many live food challenges.
Speaking of, did you catch Guy’s feature in the latest Better Homes & Gardens? And did you see the recipe in the article for his Candied Apple Pizza? Oh em gee!!
The Kendall Jackson Tomato Festival was a really big hit! If you’re local, definitely snag some tickets next year, you won’t regret it.
And for anyone planning a visit to Northern California’s Wine Country, September is one of the best months to make the trip, so come to the Tomato Festival where you’ll be lucky enough to taste the very best of everything we have to offer.
Tomorrow kicks off the Fall Link Parties, I have a fun idea to share for Layla’s Tablescape party, see you then!