Cookies, Wine, and Peace on Earth
Not much for holiday decorations at home, Mr. Spice and I get our festive decor fix when we’re out and about in December. With Bell Street Farm’s signature red hats and red chickens accenting the deep green of some rosemary and evergreen boughs and several red-waxed wine bottles on display, they achieve a tasteful decor balance for the season. Their decorative restraint feels homey and peaceful to me, not commercial and frenetic. It’s how I’d decorate our place, if we chose to do so in December.
Like their holiday pie event, Bell Street Farm’s recent cookie tasting and demo featured local wines paired to sweet bites, in this case four different wines for a different cookie suitable for holiday or year-round enjoyment. Wine specialist Drea O’Connell crafted the pairings, no mean feat as dry wines and sweet sweets don’t often play well together. Putting aside the issue of sweetness, Drea sought to bring together the flavors in the cookies and the wines. “As I personally don’t eat sweets (strange but true) I always try to make the dessert course a little less sweet,” she observes.
by Drea O’Connell
- Melville Verna’s Chardonnay ~ The Verna’s Chardonnay has the hints of lemon meringue and pie crust so the pairing with the delicious gluten-free butter lemon shortbread cookies was an obvious one.
- Cold Heaven Santa Ynez Viognier ~ The second cookie was a maple walnut praline cookie: heavier but with the savory aspects of the nuts. Morgan Clendenen’s Viognier was a great choice with its bright acidity. The heavy honey flavor of the cookie also matches this wine’s mouth-filling viscosity.
- Flying Goat Goat Bubble Rosé ~ We paired this wine with the chocolate gingerbread cookies. To be honest, I was originally stumped; this would not be an easy cookie-wine pairing. The chocolate was rich, the gingerbread spicy—luckily sparkling wine will pair with almost everything! Bubbles it was.
- Buttonwood Cabernet Franc ~ The wine pairing of the evening that raised the most disbelieving eyebrows was what I thought the best pairing of the evening—the chocolate peppermint cookie with the Cabernet Franc. The wild brambly aspect of the rich Cab Franc paired fantastically with the peppermint in the cookie. Mr. Spice agrees—this was his favorite pairing.
Cookie Demonstration by Dawn of Decadence
In addition to the cookie-wine pairings, this mellow Sunday event featured Dawn Peters of Decadence Fine Cakes & Confections demonstrating some of her vast cookie knowledge to an interested crowd. From using room temperature ingredients (to prevent the butter from seizing up) to effectively forming and scooping cookies to proper oven temperatures for a crisper cookie, depending on ingredients, Dawn knows cookies.
She demonstrated how to make a chocolate strawberry thumbprint-type cookie that sounded as if it would taste great with a glass of Pinot Noir. As I asked for the recipe, Dawn immediately agreed to adapt her professional, large-volume recipe for the home baker. “Recipes are meant to be shared,” she declared as she proffered another batch of cookie love, still warm from the oven.
Home for Christmas?
Perry Como’s “I’ll be Home for Christmas” used to croon through our house every December as we tilted toward the holidays. We’re so happy to make our home in the Central Coast with such generous neighbors, as I watch proprietor and owner Jamie Gluck follow a group out the door to make sure they received their free gingerbread cookie for the evening. At Bell Street Farm, TLC is always on the menu.
Bell Street Farm offers both a traditional and a modern cookie collection as well as a wine pairing collection, which would make a great gift for the foodie on your list. Promote peace on earth: eat local, delicious and creative cookies.
Order fabulous cookie boxes for the holidays: contact Jamie at 805/344-4609 or