A spectacular event that Holman Ranch hosted as part of Edible Monterey Bay’s pop-up supper club series on Aug. 28 was our first at a winery—and we hope it will be followed by many more.
About 80 people took advantage of the rare opportunity to purchase tickets for a public event at the gorgeous private estate, which normally may be visited only if you’re hosting or have been invited to a wedding or other private event. A benefit for the Food Bank for Monterey County, the farm and vineyard-to-table dinner raised $1,575 and, fittingly for a pop-up, it was full of enjoyable and delicious surprises.
Our good fortune began at the get-go with an unusually warm and sunny afternoon for guests making the trip to Holman, which is a few minutes east of the winery’s Carmel Valley Village tasting room.
On arrival, Hunter Lowder, Holman’s director of hospitality, greeted us with a glass of crisp 2011 Pinot Gris inside the winery’s newly completed caves. Carved into a hillside, the cool and cavernous caves provided a dramatic setting for strolling amid the barrels of aging wine, bumping into old friends and making new ones.
Like most of the meal, the hors d’oeuvres featured many foods that are now at a seasonal peak of flavor, and included a chilled artichoke bisque with tarragon froth and tiny goat cheese tarts with fig jam. Spicy lamb sliders with roasted tomato catsup and tzatziki were standouts.From there, guests sauntered or rode a shuttle up the small hill to the beautifully restored 1928 stone hacienda where, in a courtyard, we sampled the winery’s 2012 Rose of Pinot Noir and passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Terry Teplitsky of Michael’s Catering. Also on hand for the cocktail period were Susan Pappas of The True Olive Connection, who led guests in tastings of the Santa Cruz fine olive oil purveyor’s exotic selection, and Serendipity Farms’ Jamie Collins, who had set up huge displays of the rainbow-colored organic produce she grows, and was on hand to speak about her local farms.
From the courtyard, guests moved to two long tables set up beneath a grape-laden trellis to enjoy the dinner—as well as Holman’s 2010 Hunter’s Cuvee Pinot Noir and its 2010 Chardonnay. Among the dishes served were a medley of salads, an appetizer of diver sea scallops on a bed of cauliflower puree, and chicken served—in a nod to the vineyard location—with roasted grapes.
The communal tables, artfully decorated with flowers donated by local florist Christine Cater, allowed former strangers to sit side by side and become friends, and the mood was one of both warmth and excitement.
If there was a theme to the remarks of the collaborators who spoke, it was creating and appreciating community. And perhaps no one was more appreciative of the assembled community than Jennifer Hinfey, a board member with the Food Bank for Monterey County, which was the evening’s beneficiary.
Alarmingly, Hinfey noted, in Monterey County’s land of agricultural plenty, one in five residents are “food insecure,” meaning, essentially, that they don’t have enough to eat. By contrast, the national average for food insecurity is just one in six people, Hinfey said.
When it came time to leave, Collins dissembled her displays of produce, and guests took home bags of the just-picked vegetables and memories of a transporting and inspiring evening.
To learn more about or give to the Food Bank for Monterey County, go to www.foodbankformontereycounty.org. For more about Holman Ranch, see www.holmanranch.com.