A Chef’s Tour Through Napa & Sonoma

You may recognize Chef Stefano Masanti from some of our memorable events at V. Sattui, like our Harvest Ball where this year he created a beautiful six-course meal for our 490 guests.  Or you may have tasted his delicious wood-fired pizza at our Crush Party in October.  Stefano has become a good friend to our Winery family, and we are thrilled that he will be joining us next year from April to October as a guest chef at the Winery!

Stefano will create food for group events, weddings, and other special occasions at V. Sattui. In his home town of Madesimo, Italy, Stefano is known for sourcing the best local ingredients to use in his restaurant, Il Cantinone.  He’s a member of the international Slow Food organization, and he has received numerous accolades, including a Michelin star, and his restaurant  was just awarded by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine magazine, as one of the best Italian restaurants that promotes local food and farmers.  Il Cantinone was also just named one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy by L’Espresso, the guide to Italian restaurants.

Stefano and his wife, Rafaella, run not only the restaurant in the ski-resort town of Madesimo, but also a small hotel called the Sport Hotel Alpina.  While Stefano is busy cooking delicious food, Rafaella, a sommelier, pairs it with great wine and makes sure all restaurant and hotel guests are comfortable.  Stefano and Rafaella are the epitome of warm, Italian hospitality. ..easygoing and funny, yet conscientious of every detail that goes into making people feel welcome.  After spending just a few hours with them, it is easy to feel as if you’ve been friends forever!

The couple plans to continue their philosophy of cooking with local ingredients while they’re at V. Sattui.  They set out to discover the abundance of produce, fish, meats and cheeses in Napa and Sonoma counties and to meet the people who make them.  We’d like to share this journey with you.

Preservation Sanctuary & Learning Center- Calistoga
Douglas Hayes is the owner of this small farm, tucked into a hillside in Calistoga.  Hayes is devoted to preserving heritage breed chickens, hogs, and produce.  To hear him talk about the relationship among the animal, farmer and the cook is a spiritual experience.  His staunch belief is that love and respect for animals and all life results in delicious food that is good for you.  Mindful chefs in the area agree.  You will find meat and produce from Azalea Springs Farm at a few local restaurants, including the French Laundry, who purchases eggs from his chickens.

Tierra Vegetables Farm Stand- Santa Rosa
This urban 20-acre farm is a mecca for both chefs and home cooks looking for local, fresh produce throughout the year.  Tierra Vegetables grows a wide variety of vegetables, chilis, beans (fresh and dried).  They even grow and mill their own corn meal and produce popcorn!  Brother and sister Wayne and Lee James have created a ground-breaking partnership with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to lease 17 of their acres from the county.  The result is a convenient, family-friendly farm that is accessible to the public.  Check their website for farmstand hours and special events.

Haverton Hill Creamery
This family owned and operated sheep dairy was just established in 2010.  

Joe and Missy Adiego, along with Joe’s parents, Tony and Jolene Adiego, have a passion for animals and agriculture  and a drive to produce top quality sheep’s milk and products made from the milk.  Haverton Hill sells their farm-fresh sheep’s milk at Whole Foods markets and other specialty retailers in the Bay Area.  Soon you’ll also find their creamy sheep’s milk ice cream and sheep’s milk butter too.  Not only is sheep’s milk highly nutritious, it can be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant.

Ramini Mozzarella
Pioneers Craig Ramini and Audrey Hitchcock are the animal lovers behind this small, unique farm and creamery.  It started with Craig’s dream to get back to his Italian roots and make real buffalo mozzarella cheese.  However, that requires milk from Italian water buffalo, which are not found in the U.S.  Craig fixed that problem by starting his own herd.  Currently they make fresh buffalo mozzarella and some ricotta cheese for wholesale to a few Bay Area restaurants.  But when you see it on a menu, it is worth ordering this handmade, farmstead cheese.

Double 8 Dairy
This is a newer Italian water buffalo dairy, located just a few miles from Ramini Mozzarella.  After purchasing the buffalo from the Ramini farm, Andrew Zlot started his own dairy and creamery where he uses the creamy, rich milk to make gelato.  The Double 8 Dairy gelato is available in restaurants and a few specialty markets in the Bay Area.  Look for flavors like Fior di Latte, which translates to just the flavor of the milk.  They don’t add cream, eggs or vanilla, yet the gelato is some of the creamiest you’ll find, due to the high fat content in the buffalo milk.  Also look for Raspberry (made with local fruit) and Candy Cap Mushroom!

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