Currently having a night ‘off.’ Sitting sipping local wine on a cane chair on a verandah outside our cottage on the Webber family ranch just outside Petaluma in Sonoma. Looking out to sunflowers, sweet peas, goats and chickens.
A still warm rosemary and olive sourdough loaf sitting ready for dinner with the local butcher’s cold meats and a local creamery goat’s….
Simple fare compared to last night, just the ticket.
I started the day with a walk back up Yountville main street to take daylight photos of Kellerland including the Laundry and the Laundry kitchen garden. Rather like everything else Chef Keller does the garden was immaculate. I got to check that the white strawberries were actually not a trick of the kitchen. Tasted one off the plant. Sweet. Not just growing plants but goats and some chook varietals as well.
Adieu to Kellerland, a quick tour through Sonoma County including Jack London territory. I can be literary as well. Then on to Petaluma, Della Fattoria and Webberland. We had kept this night free after research had revealed that the Webber’s had a cottage on the ranch where they bake their bread.
Problem was emails and calls from NZ didn’t seem to reach Webberland, so we lucked a lunch stop at the cafe and an in person enquiry.
As luck would have it, we ended up eating lunch with Kathleen Webber in her café, eating her bread and food cooked by her chef son. We had lots to talk about, both first time authors with book releases imminent and a love of fountain pens and coloured inks. Kathleen is another example of the generous hospitality we have been encountering throughout our west coast adventure. A tour of the kitchen, chat with the chef and on our way to our accommodation on the Webber ranch.
Some time spent in the bakery watching the bakers load some of the day’s 1200 odd loaves into the wood ovens then back into town to find provisions to go with our freshly baked loaf.
Petaluma is the centre of organic-ness, heritage crops and farm to fork restaurant supply for the San Francisco area. Tomorrow on our way into SFO we’ll stop off at the chef’s farmer’s market…
Key attraction in Petaluma itself, after Della Fattoria was the Sonoma National Bank. A large imposing building on a corner, fairly obvious as one approaches the town centre. No longer a bank dealing in the monetary unit but a heritage seed bank. It is a veritable library of seeds, dried beans, spices, organic produce and books galore. Not being able to buy any seeds to bring back into NZ we settled for a few more books to add to the chef’s library back home.
At this point I spotted the time, it must be 5pm somewhere in the world, and indeed it was right here, right now, time to retire to the ranch and open that bottle of Zinfandel.