Food & Drink

Alfaro Wines

A Trout Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir, plus goodies from Malabar Trading Company

Richard Alfaro was his usual ebullient self at the last of the summer series of winemaker’s dinners at Chaminade Resort & Spa. He ran, mane of hair flying, from table to table generously giving away bottle after bottle of his wine to lucky folks holding winning raffle tickets. A couple on their honeymoon from out of town happily walked off with two bottles.

Alfaro wines were matched that evening with earthy organic produce from Jeff Larkey’s Route 1 Farms of Santa Cruz, and executive chef Kirsten Ponza’s imaginative dishes. Larkey’s vegetables are always ultra-fresh and packed with flavor, and, not surprisingly, his special in-the-field dinners held on his property in the summer quickly sell out.

Of the wonderful Alfaro wines served that evening, I particularly loved a Trout Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Santa Cruz Mountains, a ruby elixir with bold fruit flavors and aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. A versatile wine, it pairs well with many different foods, including most meats, salmon and chicken.

Although Alfaro’s wines are sold all over, the best way to get a bottle of this Pinot is to head to his tasting room in Corralitos, where Richard and his wife Mary Kay will be glad to showcase all their other wines as well.

Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, 420 Hames Road, Corralitos, 728-5172. alfarowine.com.

Malabar Trading

At a recent Saturday morning farmers market in Aptos, I stopped by the Malabar Trading Company’s table for some of their delicious hot chai. I left with a recipe for how to make my own, but I’d far rather head to the farmers market and get an instant fix of this milky sweet nectar. Malabar makes Traditional Malabar Chai and Kashmiri Chai—and there’s even a Wedding Chai made with two of the most expensive spices in the world: cardamom and vanilla. While at the table admiring their incredible display of teas, I tried samples of Malabar’s new Honey Crème, and ended up taking two home, an orange and an almond flavor. My hubby loved it so much that he wolfed down a whole jar within a few days. I just spoon it out of the jar when I need a sweet fix—it’s delicious on toast, scones, crumpets, and more.

Malabar Trading Company, 223 Church St., Santa Cruz, 469-8233. malabartradingco.com


HOME GROWN Richard Alfaro, owner and winemaker at Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, whose wines reflect the terroir of Corralitos, at the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. PHOTO: PATTY HINZ

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