Food Collaboration: how chefs, farmers, winemakers, beer makers get together

Collaboration is the name of the game in the New Year in the Sierra foothills —among chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, winemakers and craft-beer makers. Artists are joining the mix too, because wine and art also pair well together. Examples:

Drop by the Grass Valley Wine Co. to try a few wines (or even have a pre-dinner glass). Purchase your favorite bottle of Bent Metal, Pilot Peak or Solune wine.

Get a voucher to waive or reduce your corkage fee at one of five nearby restaurants: Kane’s (free corkage); Diego’s (free corkage); The Owl Grill & Saloon (corkage reduced to $5); and Tofanelli’s (free corkage).

Craft breweries are booming, with regional ones such as Loomis Basin Brewing Co., ‘ol Republic Brewery in Nevada City and Fifty Fifty Brewing Co. in Truckee. In December, ‘ol Republic tapped its first keg outside the brewery at Matteo’s Public in Nevada City.

The teamwork between farmers and chefs was the original foodie collaboration. More partnerships are being forged, between BriarPatch Co-op and local farms; or between restaurants, such as Ike’s Quarter Cafe in Nevada City or Summer Thymes in Grass Valley, and the farms or Nevada County Free Range Beef.

Restaurants are offering more local artisan food. Diners can find Shaft’s cheese at Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay and The Baker and the Cakemaker bread at Carpe Vino and tre Pazzi in Auburn.

Cooking schools are booming. More of them are using local ingredients in their classes. In The Kitchen features fresh produce from local farms. In fact, owner Wendy Van Wagner’s brother Tim is a farmer with the Living Lands Agrarian Network. Tess’ Kitchen Store now is offering cooking classes.

We attended one that featured wine from Pilot Peak, paired with the meal.

Smith Vineyards tasting room in Grass Valley offers a plate of cheese, salami, olives and crackers with a glass of wine. Sierra Starr has paired its wines with artisan cheeses from Dedrick’s Cheese of Placerville.

(Photo credit: Tom Dalldorf,

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