By Hallie O'Donnell
The cornucopia of gastric and earthly delights that makes Sonoma County unique is both a source of pride and identity. The journey from cultivation to deglutition is one that involves a labor of love and craftsmanship, bringing an enormous sense of satisfaction to the mortals who sow and reap the rewards of this experience, connoisseur and maker, every year at the Harvest Fair.
A brief smattering of some of the Harvest Fair winners includes Santa Rosa's A La Heart Catering, which nabbed one of the ribbons for "Best Use of Olive Oil," and Pasteles Fiesta, which acquired a gold ribbon for its Tres Leche with Strawberry Mousse. For those of us who have to avoid gluten like the plague, Cazadero's Raymond's put out a medal-winning brandied, flourless double chocolate cake. Healdsburg's Costeaux French Bakery picked up 22 ribbons and is rumored to have some of the best French bread left of the Left Bank, and the Bear Republic Brewing Co. isn't just helping to make people sauced with their brew anymore—they entered and won a ribbon for their Jamaican jerk sauce.
Those wishing to reenact the famous I Love Lucy grape-stomp episode, will want to squish grapes at the qualifying grape stomps (we recommend doing the stomp after you drink the wine to achieve the full effect). Kids will be happy, too, with the scarecrow-making event and carnival rides.
There are chef demonstrations featuring gifted chefs whipping up superhuman culinary concoctions, and for those whose wine IQ is near the half-empty mark, there are wine seminars.
It all happens at the Harvest Fair, slated for Friday–Sunday, Oct. 3–5. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Friday, 3pm–7pm; Saturday–Sunday, 10am–7pm. Free admission Friday, Oct. 3; Saturday–Sunday $7. $40 for pay-one-price winetasting. 707.545.4203.
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