2023 has been a remarkable year in so many ways. Although there hasn’t been much activity on this site, I’ve been busy with many other things, not the least among them cohosting Chords, Vines, and Dines with my partner-in-life Kat Ellis.
We’ve been blessed with an array of extraordinary guests on our show, and have had the opportunity to attend some amazing events. One was hosted by Garcia de la Cruz, a family-owned producer of top-shelf olives and olive oils established in 1872. I cook with their oils every single day, and they’re among the finest I have ever used. Look for their stuffed olives. They are truly magnificent.
One of our favorite guests without a doubt has been Eileen Saint Lauren. We met her shortly after her debut novel, Goodlife, Mississippi was released earlier this year. Eileen is a master storyteller, and her latest, Southern Light, Oxford, Mississippi has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. My Neighbors, Goodlife Mississippi Stories will be published in January.
I hit the jackpot the day I met Robert Schueller. He is the head of public relations for Melissa’s Produce. Melissa’s offers around 1400 different produce items at any given time. Their selection is unsurpassed. Their shipping is top-notch, and I can’t give a higher recommendation. Check their website for gift baskets. Your recipients will be delighted!
My partner Kat Ellis came up with the idea for Sassy Mamas Mustard several years ago when a local winery owner lamented the fact there were no local artisan mustard makers. After concocting an array of delicious boutique mustards, she branched out and now creates fruit butters, chutneys, relishes, dog treats, and more. The best way to find out what’s available now is to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The list of what she offers changes by the season and whatever happens to capture her fancy.
Hedonistas de la Fe translates to hedonists of faith They are a producer of small batch, artisanal mezcals. Kat and I were introduced to these amazing mezcals at a pairing dinner at Belle’s Beach House in Venice, CA. Each of their four mezcals was paired with a chef-created dish prepared specifically for that mezcal. Please do yourself a favor and track this down. The mezcal and/or tequila lover on your list will be eternally grateful.
We met Michelle Mandro as a guest on our Chords, Vines, and Dines show. We became friends instantly. Michelle is the founder and president of Wine Country Women. Having spent 15 years in the wine industry, including a stint on the board of the American Institute of Wine and Food, her passion for wine shines through in Wine Country Women of Napa Valley. This gorgeous book shares the stories of iconic Napa Valley women of wine in their stories, recipes, and photos. It’s a sheer joy to go through.
If you love Pinot Noir like we do, you must try Merry Edwards Winery and Vineyards. Merry started her Sonoma County operation in 1970 and has been producing world-class Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir ever since. Merry Edwards is a woman-owned and operated winery with a sharp focus on sustainability and attention to detail. I consider myself very fortunate when I have Merry Edwards wine in my glass.
Thank you so much for visiting. Kat and I wish you the happiest of holidays and a blessed and prosperous 2024.