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Go Wild at a Foodie Retreat in Big Sur

By Pete Rerig


Looking to engage your hunter–gatherer spirit this winter? Or just interested in enjoying a spectacular meal of chanterelles and other local wild delicacies, prepared by a talented chef and served in a lush Big Sur setting where they thrive?

If so, the Esalen Institute has a winter getaway for you: The centerpiece of the self-directed Golden Chanterelle Wild Foods Retreat will be Chef Talia Rotter’s multi-course foraged foods extravaganza on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Big Sur’s climate is ideally suited to wild mushrooms, and one of the local favorites is the golden chanterelle. Orange or yellow, meaty and funnel shaped, the familiar fungus features a fruity fragrance reminiscent of apricots and a mildly peppery taste that makes it perfect for a variety of cooking applications.chanterelle1

The Esalen dinner … Read More

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Most of these gift ideas have been contributed by Edible Monterey Bay’s fabulous local advertisers; find their addresses, phone numbers and web addresses at, under the “Find Us” tab along the top of our home page.

We’ve categorized our list by type of recipients who may be on your list, but we recommend you read through all of the ideas, as many would be great for several categories. And you’ll no doubt want to put many on your own wish list!

sweet gifts


Serendipity Saucy Spreads of Santa Cruz provides a sweet-spicy kick and rich holiday color all in a single jar of Red Pepper Jelly. Find out more (and find many other choices) at:

Earthbound Farm and its Carmel Valley Farm Stand Market Read More

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Cantinetta Luca's Meat Room
Cantinetta Luca’s Meat Room

By Elaine Giuliano

Local lovers of all things porcine gathered last Friday at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel for Chef Jason Balestrieri’s La Maialata IV: Celebration of the Pig. Maialata means pork festival in Italian, and for one evening only, Chef Balestrieri hosted a revelry dedicated to the many succulent delights we owe to the pig.

The evening started with a flight of three Italian wines selected by sommelier Bernabe De Luna for the occasion. One of the most notable was the Kellerei Terlan “Terlaner” Alto Adige 2010, a proprietary blend of pinot bianco, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc with a great balance of spice, fruit and acid, as well as a crisp finish.

The wine paired beautifully with a bruschetta with pork liver, caramelized onions and balsamic … Read More

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Photo by RobinSue Kimbally

By Elaine Giuliano

Fruitcake has a bad rap. Every Christmas, ancient fruitcakes are passed around as jokes, re-gifted and even launched from catapults. So why would anyone drive more than 50 miles down Highway 1 and then up 1,300 feet (on a winding, one-and-a-half lane road cheerfully described on a sign as a “scenic drive”) to learn more about this holiday castoff?

Because it’s good there. Crazy good. One might even say it’s divine.

Indeed, the brandy-laden fruitcakes and date-nut cakes produced by the New Camaldoli Hermitage are so popular that they have become one of the main sources of support for the monastery, which sits high on a ridge just south of Lucia and also runs a retreat center.

The recipe for the prized cakes … Read More

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Fall Harvest Festival at the Food, What?! Farm

00019-1On a recent Thursday morning at the FoodWhat farm on the UCSC campus, Max Tejeda was the man of the hour.

Tejeda, 16, is one of 50 high school students participating in the FoodWhat youth empowerment program this year, and his job this fall has been to organize the group’s annual Harvest Festival. The event brought together 300 Santa Cruz middle and high school students at the FoodWhat farm on Oct. 27.

Tejeda’s hope was to impart to his peers that the way we eat affects the world around us—a message that is at the heart of the FoodWhat mission.

P1050214“We started FoodWhat to bring food justice into a more real form in Santa Cruz,” explains Abby Bell, who co-founded the program with Doron Comerchero in 2007. Their intent was … Read More

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