Edible Stories

edible stories

Behold the fruits of our labor – CORDIAL holiday gifts.  Edible stories.

Ruby Red Marmalade
A bushel of Texan grapefruits arrived unexpectedly one day and were turned into marmalade as part of a sharecropping experiment.   We’ve enjoyed this with almost anything – from slow-braised pork to grilled salmon and everything in between – but nothing can touch it with toast and a cup of tea.

CORDIAL Cordials
The essence of the season: mint, lemon verbena and pomegranate picked and foraged from our gardens.  Add some life to sparkling wine, water or a martini.  Better yet – experiment and send your suggestions our way.  CORDIAL in a glass.

Apple Chutney
The final fruits of the season – foraged by us and transformed into uber tastiness by our friends at our local community kitchen – Community Action Marin.  A failsafe method of enriching any sandwich but excellent with some great cheddar.  Simple pleasures.

This CORDIAL selection of Coco Delice favorites represents the end results of extensive (but not at all exhaustive) tasting.  Incredible chocolates from our favorite bay area chocolatier.

Press Trip: Paso Robles Wine Country

The folks of Paso Robles wine country are grounded and welcoming. We experienced this firsthand over the last couple of months, when hosting two groups of ace journalists in Paso Robles, alongside the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Although the area has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, there’s still a spirited balance of rockstar and cowboy…a nostalgic California vibe. A collaborative, hospitable atmosphere unifies the region, and connects visitors with the real people behind this refreshingly casual wine country—where owners may still drive tractors and hang out in the tasting room, winemakers like to experiment, and seasonal gourmet restaurants meet good old fashioned steak houses. Olive oil tasting, mineral baths, sustainable farming, abalone diving, wine tasting, seasonal cuisine, goat farms…when’s the next trip?

Green fig preserve (groenvy heelkonfyt)


The English name is easier to grasp than the South African, but regardless of pronunciation, this is my new favorite way to eat figs. When I visited Stellenbosch and the little Karoo earlier this year to look at School Garden Projects, I quickly became obsessed with the jars of preserved figs that appeared on tables as an accompaniment to a diverse range of dishes. I managed to pry the recipe out of an African Granny and scurried home to try it out. It takes time to prepare but delivers something unique that puts early season unripe figs to great use. Groenvy Heelkonfyt trumps any fig dish I’ve eaten. Ever. I’m sworn to secrecy on my ill-gotten recipe but you can find something similar here.

Good Food Awards: Judging Time

October 9th, the day of judgement for this year’s GOOD FOOD AWARDS, is almost upon us. The media kit introducing the categories, committee members and star-studded judges is now available. Everyone at CORDIAL is delighted to be involved.

The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic, and responsible. Now, in its second year, awards will be given to winners in eight categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves and spirits. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good. The Good Food Awards Gold Seal designates winning products as certified organic and sustainably produced.

Paso Robles Wine Alliance

We are pleased to welcome a new CORDIAL client, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, which represents the wineries, growers and businesses of Paso Robles Wine Country. As the fastest growing American Viticultural Area (AVA)—growing more than fivefold over the past decade from 35 to over 200 wineries dotting its 26,000 vineyard acres—the region remains wildly diverse with a genuine collaborative spirit.

The location cannot be beat—midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, along California’s beautiful central coast. From wine to a burgeoning culinary arts scene, and a gorgeous natural landscape including Morro Bay and the rugged Big Sur coastline, the region has something for every traveler. Although growing in popularity, Paso Robles Wine Country is still largely considered a hidden gem – a classic California frontier, relaxed and casual, with a serious dedication to careful, conscientious winemaking.



A word we hear and use a lot. There’s an increasing quest for more authentic products – things that seem more real to us, have more provenance or appear richer in terms of meaning, or soul even. Few brands or movements seem to escape this quest.  Everything has to be more real to be more successful. One interesting commentary on this movement comes out of the discussion around the gamer layer and notion that we’re becoming motivated as consumers by points, rewards, acknowledgment or the quest for some sort of goal. The most successful media of our era is focused on the being more real. From food to TV. See Jesse Schell’s DICE presentation for a thought provoking introduction to this idea: we’ve lived through a build-up of the virtual in recent years and we’ve become disconnected from nature and self sufficiency. There’s a part of our souls that needs to feel more real and that those notions of nature and connectedness are being nourished through our association with products that feel real, television that is reality and food where we can imagine a farmer. Whatever the motivation, here’s to reconnecting with lost arts. This is my next read….

A Sonoma-Inspired Menu

At our tables (and we’re certain at tables across the country), food and wine go hand-in-hand…each enhances the other. So naturally, we’re always tinkering with recipes. A great recipe locks in a memorable experience, which is why crafting wine and food pairings is a key piece of wine marketing. Sometimes complex creations are called for and other times a more seasonal, produce-inspired menu fits the bill. Spring in Sonoma County is the trigger for a range of ingredients to fill our shelves, but it’s also the start of our lengthy outdoor cooking and dining season, which served as excellent inspiration for this collection of recipes recently published in Food & Wine magazine. Here’s the menu, with recipes online for the bold!


Verdant Virtue

Sun-dried Tomato and Arugula Pizza
Rustic Vegetable Tart

Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb
Pickled Beet Salad
Oven-Baked Porcini Risotto

Shortbread with Marmalade and Vanilla Ice Cream

Going Whole Hog

As part of their Artisan Series in April, Medlock Ames hosted a masterclass in pig butchery—snout to tail and belly to feet so to speak—held in the great outdoors, just steps away from the tasting room on a sunny Saturday afternoon. What better way to celebrate the wonders of Gleason Ranch—our local meat heroes—and showcase the sharp-knives of Sonoma County chefs? Only a few eyebrows were raised when 20 inquisitive souls took cleaver in hand, donned aprons and prepared to be schooled in the breakdown of whole beasts…raised with care and love by Nancy Prebilich of Gleason Ranch. Dino Bugica (local favorite Diavola) and Rian Rinn (ex El Bulli no less) led a class of food lovers, keen amateur chefs and loyal followers of the winery in an amazing afternoon. After four hours of labor, the last cut was wrapped, and a few glasses raised to celebrate the end of a breakthrough day. A couple choice cuts even made it to the wood-fired oven for some end of day edibles. Tasting room visitors were fascinated by the class they happened upon and asked to be included in the next event: charcuterie and sausage seminar in the fall perhaps? We hope so.

Medlock Ames and The Artisan Gang

Spring is here, and April kicked off a season of local artisan-driven events at the sublime Medlock Ames Tasting Room. Last year, we banded together with a posse of local food heroes (featured in Food & Wine, April 2011). We love their products, respect what they do, and thought it was about time to shine the spotlight on this cast of characters who usually work tirelessly behind the scenes.

Featured event lineup includes…craft beers, pork sliders and talking shop with Bear Republic Brewmaster Rich Norgrove; a whole hog butchery master class led by Dino Bugica of Diavola, Rian Rinn of Wyeth Acres, and Nancy Prebilich of Gleason Ranch; a vertical cheese tasting of Bellwether Farms Carmody at various ages with Cheesemaker Liam Callahan; an ice cream social with Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream Company; and a Wood-Fired Feast in Sonoma featuring the Food & Wine menu with Ames Morison of Medlock Ames.

Lots of excitement brewing around these events thanks to shout-outs from Santa Rosa Press Democrat (x2), SFGate’s InsideScoop SF, UrbanDaddy, DailyCandy, TastingTable SF, San Francisco Magazine ItList, Healdsburg Patch, and the Examiner.

Medlock Ames: Nirvana in Sonoma

“Up on Bell Mountain, Medlock Ames Winery produces amazing wines in a utopian setting. Down in the valley, the Medlock Ames Tasting Room is its own little piece of food heaven,” Megan Krigbaum, Food & Wine.

It still seems a bit surreal. The frenzy of excitement, the photo shoot, and the story. From the amazing, wicked-creative (and super fun) Food & Wine team, to our stars, the stellar posse of dynamic, talented producers – now coined Sonoma’s Artisan Gang…the whole experience was pretty magical. A huge round of applause to Medlock Ames and everyone who makes the place so enchanting – it was only a matter of time before they received some glossy national cred.

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