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Secrets of top chefs and area winemakers 

There is nothing quite so satisfying as hosting a mind-bending dinner coupled with the perfect wine. Edna Valley Vineyard’s cooking and wine-pairing classes offer an opportunity to experience firsthand the way local chefs create their culinary masterpieces and how to choose the ideal vintage wine to accompany each savory dish.

click to enlarge WINE AFICIONADO SHARES HER KNOWLEDGE:   Tina Hoppe explains the intricacies of wine and food pairing during a cooking class at Edna Valley Vineyards. - PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GARDNER
  • WINE AFICIONADO SHARES HER KNOWLEDGE: Tina Hoppe explains the intricacies of wine and food pairing during a cooking class at Edna Valley Vineyards.
# “There are certain ingredients, textures, richness, and weights of wine and food that can be compatible,� says Tina Hoppe, Edna Valley’s event coordinator. “There are those foods that are not balanced and won’t work well with the wrong wine.�
Wine aficionado Hoppe absorbed a wealth of knowledge while growing up in the industry, and expanded it by opening her own Hoppe’s restaurant. “I love wine and food—they are both art. It is never ending,� Hoppe says. “When I started here, I divorced the restaurant business and married the wine industry.�
Hoppe describes, in language that even wine illiterates can understand, why a red wine would overpower a sweet potato blini with soy yogurt and lentil cavia—just one of five incredible dishes Chef Charles Paladin Wayne created during a class last week. Each course was impeccably paired with the wines of Edna Valley Vineyards, giving the students not only a sample of Hoppe and Paladin Wayne’s perfect match, but also the tools to recreate their masterpiece at home.
“We started taking the classes in 1990,� Margareta Barkinge says, with her friend Heather Heaps at her side. “We are very good cooks now. Technique is really what you pick up. The chefs teach us little hints.�
Throughout the class, Hoppe and Paladin Wayne suggest local vendors who carry the culinary bounty required for each dish. Says Hoppe, “Our slogan for the year is ‘savor the SLO.’ Enjoy everything the area has to offer—the local foods, wines, and entertainment.�
For the past nine years, during the months of March and April, top local chefs have shared their favorite recipes. On April 11, Chef Jose Dahan will teach students how to create cold appetizer salads, warm entrÈe salads, and demonstrate how to balance flavors while utilizing Neptune’s bounty. Then on April 18, Paladin Wayne will demonstrate dishes from the Caribbean, Hawaiian, South Pacific and Polynesian Islands. Scallop pad Thai and passion fruit soufflÈ with vanilla bean are just two of his recipes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Expand your knowledge of Dutch oven-style cooking on April 25 with Chef Maegen Loring from the Park Restaurant.

“This is a way for us to share our passion, and allow people to go home and try the dishes,� Hoppe says. “It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase wine and foods, side by side, and how the components of foods balance with the components of wines.�

Classes take place at Edna Valley Vineyards in the hospitality center, 2585 Biddle Ranch Road, Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. ;$40 per person. Reservations are required and seating is limited. For more info call (805) 544-5855.

Staff writer Karen Velie compiled this weeks Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to

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