Behind The Butter

Days of Lavender and Wine

It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it.

I just got back from the Days of Wine and Lavender Festival media preview over at Matanzas Creek—what a day! The actual festival is Saturday, June 26th, from 1 to 4pm. Tickets are available online.
Before I get into details I want to add a disclaimer that even though I now work for the company, the views on this blog are still my personal views and opinions. I don’t get paid to blog for Kendall-Jackson….I really do just love and recommend their wine!
Anyways. I was super excited to go to this event today because Matanzas Creek holds a special spot in my heart. It’s just so pretty and I love, love, love lavender. I can’t wait to take my mom here when she comes in two weeks…she’s going to love it! I was running late because I had to work at the yoga studio this morning so unfortunately I missed the tour of the lavender fields (bummer!) but got there just in time to head up to Jackson Park Vineyards on the top of the hill.
So funny to be at the same spot I was almost seven months ago!
From Alex Reble, associate winemaker, and Brian Malone, vineyard manager, I learned about how Matanzas Creek Pinot is actually organic (in the process of being actually certified organic…hopefully within six months it will be!) and how they really uphold sustainable farming practices. I love learning all the “behind the scenes” stuff about wine that makes it taste the way it does so this was interesting for me. Did you know that different soil types really affect the taste of the wine? Interesting stuff.
After hanging out on the vineyard, we headed back inside for what I thought was the best part of today—the cooking demo!
Chef Taki was making this coconut and lavender rock shrimp ceviche and it pretty much rocked my world. Combining coconut, lavender and shrimp?! Only the three best ingredients in the world?! Yes please. I’ve always been really interested in cooking with lavender. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile (as in…..almost three years), you might recall when I made a chocolate lavender cake for a practical in culinary school. Okay, you probably don’t remember it because I hardly remember it, but it was pretty epic. I remember it falling apart and me smooshing an excess of lavender infused buttercream in the center to hold the cake together and then just praying my chef instructor wouldn’t cut a slice from that part. I learned a valuable lesson though—when in doubt, add buttercream.
I digress. Back to shrimp ceviche….which was pretty epic in itself, especially when paired with some 08 Sauvignon Blanc.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, they did.
On the lunch menu was: Fennel pollen crusted scallops with meyer lemon and sweet onion fondue and estate artichokes, mussel and arugula salad—
Roasted liberty farms duck with chimmichurri, painess, vanilla scented parsnip puree and lundberg heritage wild rice—
And, lavender honey nougat glace with poached bing cherries and pistachio cream
That one deserves a second glance
Or a third….
With lots of wine….
And seedy, crunchy bread….
I know.
I know.
There’s not many words I can say right now that describe the sheer awesomeness of this lunch but you’ll have to just trust me. Actually, it was so awful that I couldn’t even touch it and all that food just went to waste. I forced myself to eat though because I was their guest and because I was taking one for the team. Not.
I stumbled out in a hazy fog clutching my goody bag wishing I had stolen another plate of lavender honey nougat glace for the ride home. But that wouldn’t have been very classy so I abstained.
I’m meeting some friends from church tonight to go to this’s supposed to be REALLY intense. I will report back. Also, my vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are up for bidding over at Angela’s Shop 4 A Cause. All proceeds go to fund cancer research and they are pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself.

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  • Teresa
    May 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Congratulations on the job! The food looks devine !

  • MMiller
    May 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Looks like a wonderful afternoon! Hope you have a great night too!

  • jessica @ how sweet
    May 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I am drooling over the description and picture of the scallops. What an amazing lunch!

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance)
    May 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    now THERE’S an afternoon. looks heavenly 😉

  • Evan Thomas
    May 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    What a beautiful and amazing place to work!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    May 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Wow wow wow.. who has the best job in the world? Um, Jenna.

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please
    May 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Oh yum! Any job openings? 😉

  • Erin
    May 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    What an absolutely stunning location! Looks like the perfect way to spend a spring afternoon. When you find a job you love, that’s the best. I just accepted a dream position and I count my blessings every day.

  • Sarah for Real
    May 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Wow! You have the most incredible opportunities in wine country! I cannot begin to describe how green I am…

  • Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    May 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    That all looks so, so amazing!!

  • Stephanie
    May 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    We have a farm called Lavendar Fields near our house and I love going there! Last time I tried lavendar ice cream and it was insanely good!

  • kaitlin
    May 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Your day looks like a little slice of heaven!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner
    May 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Looks like SUCH an amazing place!

  • Paige (running around normal)
    May 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    What an amazing day! The views are incredible, and it’s pretty crazy how it’s all come full circle!

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches
    May 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    That lunch looks sooooooo good. You just have it so rough out there in beautiful California! :p

  • Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy
    May 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Your photos are beautiful! What an awesome job!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    May 26, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Wow how amazing!!!!

  • Sarah @ cocoanutshakes
    May 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    That looks….incredible. My mom lives about 30 seconds from the food and wine center, might have to pay a visit asap!!

  • Jennu
    May 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    WOW. is all I can say. You are one lucky lady! You eat so well! YUM:)

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething
    May 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    i so love kendall jackson chardonnay-one of the best!

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    May 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    I love your life! This looks so amazing, I can hardly believe that it is real! Enjoy!

  • Kellie
    May 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Everything looks so beautiful.

  • Still Life in Southeast Asia
    May 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I love the buttercream story. I’ll remember that—when in doubt, add butterceam. Don’t they say that about butter? 😉

    Chimichurri is a popular Argentinean condiment. Unfortunately, it usually contains MSG. One Chilean condiment I would highly recommend to you is called merquen. If you see any, pick it up! It’s the most amazing dried chile and cilantro powder.

    More feasting and wine stories please.

  • jenny (green food diaries)
    May 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    congrats on the job. keep the food porn coming 🙂

  • ruby
    May 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I am in love with lavender! This only came about in the past year or so. Too bad you missed the tour, sounded interesting.

  • cindy
    May 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    two words. I’m. jealous. Sounds like an amazing day!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    May 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve been to Matanzas, but need to return obvi.

    That ceviche bowl is Fire & Light – made in my hometown outta recycled glass : )

  • Lisa @ bakebikeblog
    May 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    wow wow wow !!! LOVE IT ALL 🙂

  • ida
    May 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    What a great way to start your new job! And how fun that your mom is coming out for a visit soon:)

  • Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)
    May 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Wow, totally gorgeous photos. Everything looks so elegant. 🙂


  • emily
    May 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    so RANDOM, but my moms best friends nephew (justin) is the chef at kendall-jackson. (i know that is probably not grammatically correct) haha

  • Camille
    May 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    What a terrible day! I am so sorry you had to go through it 🙂

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    May 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Excellent photos! Your lavender/choc cake was beautiful, too. What a fantastic place to work!

  • Heather
    May 26, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    rough life 🙂 your photos are spectacular in this post! makes me wish i lived there!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth)
    May 26, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Wow, that exhibit looks so crazy! I’m sure it’s super intense, I can’t wait to hear about it!

  • Tearaveler
    May 27, 2010 at 12:18 am

    It’s incredible the difference soil makes with any type of produce. I was spoiled and grew up in a part of the country with the best soil in the U.S. (my family comes from a long line of farmers), but our garden produce tasted 1000x better than anything in the stores

  • Helen
    May 27, 2010 at 12:19 am

    What a great place to work! And your lunch looks amazing. What a great day!

  • Julia @
    May 27, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Yummy stuff Jenna!

  • Christie {Honoring Health}
    May 27, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Congrats on the new job!

  • Tina
    May 27, 2010 at 4:10 am

    I never realized you can cook with lavender. That sounds like such a wonderful day. Good food + good wine is a winning combination.

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    May 27, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Such gorgeous photographs, and amazing descriptions. I am not sure how much I enjoy the flavor of lavendar, but I love how it smells!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    May 27, 2010 at 5:35 am

    I DO remember when you made the chocolate lavendar cake! Guess I am a long time reader 😉

    What an AMAZING looking lunch! Yum!


  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    May 27, 2010 at 5:37 am

    What an amazing, amazing day. Everytime I read your blog I just want to move to California so freaking bad! I adoooore lavendar too…is there anything more deliciously French!?

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie
    May 27, 2010 at 6:10 am

    It’s so amazing that you have opportunities to go to things like this! The food looks incredible and I can’t help but notice all the different herbs used. My herbs are growing like crazy and I’m always open to inspiration!

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries
    May 27, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Best.Job.Ever. I love lavendar too, but have never eaten anything with lavendar. Is that weird?

  • eatmovelove
    May 27, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Sounds like you are happy with your new job!
    Much more enticing than mine…stuck in an office for 9 hours a day and then driving for 2 starts next week…meh, something’s gotta pay the bills – me.

  • Olivia @ Blissful Runner
    May 27, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever had lavendar in a recipe before -sounds tempting and looks devine!

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale
    May 27, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Lavender is amazing. Love the smell, love it infused into food… I used to make these lavender-vanilla cupcakes that were so good… the lavender is so subtle and delicate and perfect!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly
    May 27, 2010 at 6:44 am

    What a fun day/night! How did you learn so much about wine and wine pairing?

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    May 27, 2010 at 7:10 am

    That looks like a great exhibit. I sponsor a child through World Vision and I really admire what they do.

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    May 27, 2010 at 7:43 am

    What an awesome opportunity you have to work at a place like that! No words…no words at all. 😀

  • Karen
    May 27, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Jenna, your second book will be your amazing life through the vineyards of the valley….I’m always so impressed with the foods that are in CA, we traveled, by car, up to RI and it was the same old stuff….I asked for yogurt and granola at breakfast and the lady just stared at me. ..Best of luck to you at Kendall- Jackson….

  • Kristin (Salty Tooth)
    May 27, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Everything looks beautiful and delicious! I just started growing lavender and I’m hoping I don’t kill it.

  • Kristina @goodnweird
    May 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Oh how I love lavender. i just planted some in my tiny little garden.

  • Becky
    May 27, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Looks yummy! I do hope you have a designated driver when you go to these events though!!

  • Sarah
    May 27, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Everytime I’ve had lavendar, it tastes like soap. I wonder if there is a secret to preparing it that I’m not yet in on…

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    May 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

    How truly amazing it is to work for a company you love and believe in. It makes all the difference. I’m glad you enjoy your job and enjoy the area you live in.

  • Mollie
    May 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    You’re making me homesick!
    I grew up in Petaluma, and every year my mom, grandma, sisters, and I went to see the lavender at Matanza’s. My mom even put in our own 1-acre lavender garden in our front yard and made sachets and lavender wands with our “crop.”

    There’s just something so perfect about brie and crackers overlooking rows and rows of lavender! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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