Saturday, November 27, 2010


Being away from home during the holidays is difficult to say the least.  Luckily, we are fortunate enough to have beautiful friends that made Thanksgiving magical this year.  The Cherry's live in Paso Robles and own Villa Creek Restaurant and Winery.  There are lovely, lovely people with the most fantastic children, friends, family and home.  This year they invited us to Paso to share the Holiday with them and it was WONDERFUL!  We pulled into their house among the vines and walnut trees hot off the heels of their last guest Kevin West.  Kevin is the former Editor of  Europe's W magazine and author of the amazing blog  Saving The Season. He and JoAnn (mama Cherry) made fresh quince paste, quince jam, grape  jam and other goodies (all from her personal garden) just days before we arrived.  In addition,  Kevin left behind some of his Scotch Marmalade (delicious!!!!) from his West Sweet Preserves line (you can purchase a jar exclusively via his site - believe me, you won't be disappointed!).
The morning began with a tour of the grounds - greeting all the animals and taking a ride on the ATV's - Daddy and son had a BLAST!  They saw wild turkeys and deer among the vines, not to mention a HUGE snake on the trail that was unfortunate enough to get run over (thankfully he was fine!).
Next, we settled in for the Lions game!  When halftime arrived and the bloody Marys were finished, it was time to take the kids to the winery and put them to work!  After all, the wine doesn't make itself!  During this fermentation phase, Chris (papa Cherry) must press the grapes to extract the luscious juice and wine 3 times a day!  The kids were more than happy to help out!

 Friends and Family arrived from Santa Monica, Half Moon Bay, and Thousand Oaks ready to get their hands dirty preparing the Thanksgiving meal.  The ladies got glitter painted on their eyes, JoAnn picked pomegranates from their trees, brought out some of her fresh quince paste, fantastic cheeses, just-pressed Olive Oil from Pasolivo, fresh bread and amazing wines and the festivities began!

First up was the cracking of the fresh crabs brought down by Laura and Eric from Half Moon Bay - they were a fantastic beginning to what was going to be one of the best meals I've ever had.

The Turkeys came courtesy of a local farm, fresh and alive (but not for long!).  They were phenomenal - Chris prepared one on the rotisserie slathered in an herb butter and Joanne prepared another in the oven basted with her homemade grape and quince syrup!  They were sooooo juicy and delicious - not like the frozen butterballs of Thanksgiving past!  
Pumpkins were roasted for pumpkin pie, a scrumptious pecan pie was made by Joanne and Chris's daughter, their son prepared the most amazing creamed corn bread pudding, Joanne's mother brought her famous cranberry orange relish, salads, I could go on and on...... the outcome?  One of the most delightful dinners of my life!

As I said, this Thanksgiving was magical.  We made new friends, saw old friends, and made memories that will last a lifetime.  Thank you to the Cherry's - they are a truly wonderful family with such warmth and charm - they made us feel like we were home for the holidays!  "Cheers!"

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