Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

I recently joined a group of fellow wine country writers for an elegant dinner in Dry Creek Valley to experience the delicious food and drink creations by Healdsburg-based Chef Peter Brown. The focus was on a new cocktail mixer called Stolen Fruit created by Brown and longtime Dry Creek grape growers Doug and Susan Provisor. The trio partnered to develop this unique, versatile and tasty grape-based mixer.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers are made using verjus, the fresh pressed juice of green grapes that have been cut from the vine during the thinning out process. It also uses the dried wine grape skins leftover after pressing and concentrated varietal grape juice from Northern California wine country. The juice provides both the flavor of the specific varietal grapes and sweetness to the mixers. In fact, there are no additional sugars added to Stolen Fruit.

Stolen Fruit takes juices and skins that are usually cast off during the winemaking process and turns them into flavorful concoctions that can be used to create new and exciting food friendly cocktails or mocktails.

What I love about these mixers, aside from their delectable flavors, is that they are made with ingredients sourced locally. The verjus and dried grape skins come from some of the top wineries in Northern California.

I arrived at the Provisor’s scenic property, not far from the town of Healdsburg.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Their beautiful home is set just above their 4-acre vineyard.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

What a truly lovely wine country setting for dinner al fresco.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

The evening started off with a cocktail and appetizer reception on the deck. These grilled peaches with prosciutto were summery perfection.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Just inside the Provisor’s home, a bar was set up where guests could order their choice of cocktail or mocktail. Stolen Fruit Mixers can be mixed with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Or paired with your favorite liquor for a new taste experience.

stolen fruit mixers

I love sparkling wine so I chose Roederer Estate Brut mixed with Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

We mingled and sipped on our drinks for a bit.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

Then soon it was time to find a seat at the table, elegantly set in colorful shades of summer.

Wine Country Vineyard Dinner

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Chef Peter Brown had been quite busy preparing our six-course meal but he made time to come out and talk to us about the menu he constructed for the evening, which brought out the best in each food and cocktail course.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

The first course was a Crab and Fennel Salad with Mandarin Tarragon Vinaigrette.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

The salad was paired with a Juniper Jasmine Collins that was light and refreshing with subtle floral notes.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Next we were treated to a Chicken Coconut Curry. Such a vibrant and aromatic dish! It was served with a Lemongrass Shandy made with PBR beer and Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc Stolen Fruit Mixer – a great summer refresher on a hot day.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Our third course was a Teriyaki Sesame Crusted Salmon paired with Blood Orange Punch using Stolen Fruit’s Blood Orange Muscat. It was an absolutely delicious pairing. I love the way Chef Peter makes his dishes so visually appealing as well as delectable.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

A break between courses gave us a moment to cheer our wonderful hosts!

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

Moving on to our fourth course, we were treated to a sumptuous dish of Seared Duck Breast with Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Poblano and Corn Salsa. This time our dish was complemented with a Hibiscus Margarita – one of my favorite drinks from the evening – using Stolen Fruit’s Hibiscus Grenache flavor.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

As night fell, we finished off the dinner with a Grilled Ribeye with Gorgonzola Butter, served with Fig with Grains of Paradise Manhattan. And for dessert, Mexican Hot Chocolate with Fig and Grains of Paradise.

Sipping hot chocolate while watching the moon rise and the sky turn dark blue over the Provisor’s vineyard was a splendid experience.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

It was such a festive and flavorful dinner. I’m inspired to create some cocktail and mocktails of my own for a dinner party!

Wine Country Vineyard Dinner

You can find Stolen Fruit in Sonoma County at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa and the Jimtown Store in Alexander Valley. Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers can also be purchased directly online and at Amazon.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner collage

Thank you to Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social for allowing me to use some of her photos from the dinner. And to Susan and Doug Provisor for their warm hospitality. And finally to Chef Peter Brown for an unforgettably delicious culinary experience.

 

Make it a rich day!

XO,

Adrienne

Disclosure: I was invited to the Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner as a media guest. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 

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senza collage

Last month I had the pleasure of staying at SENZA Hotel in Napa Valley while covering events at Festival Napa Valley 2016. Festival Napa Valley, formerly known as Festival del Sole, is a 10-day annual celebration of music, art, food, wine and dance that raises funds to enrich art and community programs.

During my stay at SENZA Hotel, I got to know this luxury property well and am excited to tell you all about it!

SENZA Hotel is owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall, who some may recognize from HALL Wines and WALT Wines. Kathryn and her family have been growing grapes in Northern California since 1972. In 1995, she and her husband, Craig, bought their first vineyard in Napa Valley and have produced premium cabernet sauvignon under their HALL label ever since. Four years ago, the Halls began producing pinot noirs from vineyards along the west coast under their WALT label.

The Halls purchased the SENZA property (known then as La Residence) in 2006, turning this once country bed and breakfast into a sophisticated, modern hotel. SENZA offers guests understated luxury that truly captures the essence of the Napa Valley lifestyle.

SENZA entrance

SENZA Hotel has forty-one guest rooms spread among five buildings and is set on two acres of vineyards, Redwood trees, and gardens. Located between the city of Napa and Yountville, the hotel is surrounded by beautiful wineries, great shopping, and endless choices for dining out.

Upon arrival I was greeted by the friendly staff at registration, just inside the main building called The SENZA House.

SENZA Registration

One of the first things I noticed about SENZA Hotel, aside from the vineyards, mature trees and gardens, is the presence of beautiful and unique contemporary art thought the property. Kathryn and Craig Hall are well-known for their expansive art collection, both collected and commissioned. Two sculptures by Steinunn Thorarinsdotte of Iceland flank the front entrance to the SENZA House. More than once, I mistook them for people from the corner of my eye!

This butterfly display is inside the SENZA House. It’s one my favorite pieces on the property.

SENZA ART

Once I checked in, I was given an escort to my guest room, located in the HALL Building. I would be staying in a luxurious Vineyard Suite for the next eight days.

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Spacious and airy with a modern and sophisticated style and lots of natural light, this guest room was comfortable and had all the amenities I would want in a luxury guest room and then some. A wide-screen television is mounted above a gas-lit fireplace. I had a wine refrigerator and desk and chair that came in handy for getting some work done during down time. Wireless Internet is complimentary for all guests.

SENZA Vineyard Suite

Two sliding doors led to a private outdoor patio area that included seating for two and a cozy couch.

SENZA Hotel in Napa Valley

Our room had the ultimate vineyard view, complete with a water tower. Each morning I would begin my day relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee, wearing the cozy robe provided by the hotel.

SENZA hotel patio

Some mornings, I would watch the birds and bees fly around.

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And take in the beautiful bunches of grapes going through their versaison, a ripening stage when the grapes change color from bright green to deep purple.

SENZA Vineyard

Other mornings, I would watch the fog settle into the hills.

Senza early morning

When the day began free of fog, I was treated to a spectacular show of hot air balloons drifting in the sky. Dozens of them. What a fun and colorful surprise!

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Once I realized this was part of every sunny morning at daybreak, I got up extra early so I could catch as much of the hot air balloon parade as I could!

hot air balloons in vineyard SENZA

Admittedly, it was not easy getting up so early. Sleeping in this King bed with luxurious linens and down-filled duvet was a decadent treat. It was such a quiet room. With the drapes pulled, I could easily sleep the morning away!

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Let’s discuss the bathroom in my Vineyard Suite at SENZA. Not only is it big but it has fabulous tub that I took advantage of any chance I could. It also has a gigantic shower with two shower heads. And if that weren’t enough, the tiled floors in the bathroom are heated!

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Two sinks and plenty of counter space, which I always appreciate when I travel, made it easy for Bill and I to get ready for Festival Napa Valley events.

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Once we were dressed and set for the day, it was off to the SENZA House across the way for a delicious continental breakfast, offered to guests each morning.

SENZA breakfast

There is also a wine and cheese reception every afternoon at 6:00 pm with plenty tasty things to nosh on and seating for guests indoors and out.

SENZA Wine and Cheese

When we had time between events, we lounged by SENZA’s beautiful pool.

SENZA Hotel Pool

Along with several lounge chairs and seats there are three canopied day beds for guests to use. I loved relaxing in one of these with a book.

SENZA pool cabana

Behind the pool is another one of the hotel’s buildings. Three-story Parker Mansion was built in 1870 and has several charming guest rooms and antique treasures throughout.

SENZA pool area

Aside from the pool and private day beds, other luxury amenities include the SENZA Spa, located on the property. The spa offers a selection of services including massages, facials and body treatments, provided with the highest-standards set by the Hall family. SENZA Spa uses pure products that are effective and locally sourced. Enjoy massages at the spa or in your guest room.

There is also a fitness center with a hot tub right outside the entrance to soothe your aching muscles. During my stay, Festival Napa Valley offered an outdoor morning yoga class to ticket-holders.

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SENZA is a pet-friendly hotel. My old girl Daisy was able to stay with me for part of my visit to SENZA, which I loved and so did she. She enjoyed rolling around in the green grass and going for walks around the property.

SENZA Pet Friendly

Most of my days were packed with events during Festival Napa Valley, sometimes having four in one day. Thankfully I also had enough downtime to enjoy what this fantastic property has to offer. It was wonderful treat to stay in such a luxurious, peaceful and conveniently located hotel. I highly recommend SENZA Hotel to those traveling to Napa Valley from out of the area and to locals who just want to get away for a night or two.

SENZA by the fireplace

For more information about SENZA Hotel, visit their website or call 707.253.0337 to book your stay.

senza collage

In a future post, I will tell you more about the Halls and my visits to both HALL Wines and WALT Wines. And I’ll be telling you all about my phenomenal experiences at Festival Napa Valley 2016.

Make it a rich day!

XO,

Adrienne

Disclosure: My stay at SENZA Hotel was provided to me as part of my coverage of Festival Napa Valley 2016. All opinions expressed here are, as always, my own. 

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black shirtdress

I love to take one well-fitting basic piece or foundational outfit, as I did previously in several posts including 10 Easy Looks, 1 Basic Foundation and 5 Statements Looks, 1 Basic Foundation, and create multiple outfits using my accessories and other items from my wardrobe. Not only is this a useful activity that saves me time and energy deciding what to wear in the future but it’s fun too!

This time around I chose to style a simple black shirt dress I bought at Old Navy recently. I found it easy to create 6 ways to wear this lightweight and comfortable dress. It is sure to be the ideal dress to wear as we transition from the long hot days of summer into the slightly cooler days of early fall here in Wine Country.

I’ll begin with just the basic look with no accessorizing, outside of nude ballet flats. As you can see, this dress is a true shirt dress, buttoning all the way up the front. I bought a “tall” size and was happy to discover the dress hits me right at the knee. It comes with a removable belt and two tiny looped belt holes.

black shirtdress

For my first styled look, I wore a summery Panama hat – borrowed from my husband –  my everyday gold pendant from Florence, Italy, black sandals (similar) and my bone-colored Kate Spade bag. This is an outfit I would wear to a winery or out to an al fresco lunch with friends.

black shirtdress with hat

For my next look I went a bit dressier. I tied an Hermès Silk Duc Carriage Horse Twilly scarf, a gift from a friend,  around my neck and threw on some black sunglasses. I wore a block heeled sandal by Miz Mooz (similar).

black shirtdress

For my third look, I went for a “Weekend at the Farmers Market” casual outfit with a denim jacket (thrifted), TOMS Avalon slip-ons, and instead of a handbag, I carried my favorite farmers market tote.

black shirtdress

For a look with a boho vibe, I wore a beaded tassel necklace by KayandStar (similar), my gladiator sandals and carried a Mulberry Bayswater bag (similar). When the weather gets chilly, I can layer this look with a long cardigan in black or another neutral color.

black shirtdress

For a date night look, I took off the belt that comes with the dress and added a leather wrap belt by ADA Collection. It easily covers the small belt loops on the waist of the dress. I wore flat strappy sandals (similar) and carried a Rebecca Minkoff tassel clutch for some added color.

black shirtdress

For my final look, I folded a light blue and yellow Versace silk scarf I bought in a town near Milan several years ago into a belt, wore strappy flat sandals and carried my Adora by Adrienne bag.

black shirtdress with scarf belt

I will be giving this shirt dress lots of attention in the months ahead. I hope to wear it in cooler weather, too, with tights, booties, tall boots, shawls and jackets. I think this would make a great dress for travel too!

black shirtdress

Have you added any shirt dresses to your wardrobe this season?

Make it a rich day!

XO,

Adrienne

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