A California Twist on Tuscan Sunshine


K. Kitada sipping wineI was lucky enough to spend 2 days in California’s wine country. As I sat sipping a chilled white wine on the Sterling Vineyard terrace, looking out over the Napa Valley, I felt gratified (and maybe a tiny bit smug.) “See, Frances Mayes, we can live your Italian paradise right here in our backyard!”

Frances Mayes’ Latest Book

Frances Mayes recently authored Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life.  She sings the praises of Bramasole, the Tuscan home and gardens she and her husband Ed have painstakingly restored over twenty years.

If you want to see pictures of those beautiful plantings, go to her slick website (funded by her Random House publishers).  “Jasmine is narcotizing!” is her last entry on the website; Mayes’ sensualized take on life shines through here.

Recipes, Too!

On both the Frances Mayes’ website, and in the pages of Every Day in Tuscany, you’ll find scrumptious recipes, not only of Tuscany, but sometimes of Mayes’ Georgia upbringing. She raves about fresh flavors and local produce simply cooked, the chant of a “locavore.”

Sonoma Parallels

So there I was in The Girl and the Fig, eating outdoors in the balmy night air, sampling goat cheeses, and fig cakes, and local wines. One of the reasons our family was visiting Sonoma and Napa counties is that we had an out-of-town guest.

Napa Surprises

The second reason was that we had recently enjoyed the DVD Bottle Shock, filmed at the Chateau Montelena winery in the Calistoga area. It’s a funny, fictionalized version of 1976 events when Napa Valley vintners stunned the French wine industry by taking top awards in a blind tasting.

Photo Credit: K. Kitada


Author Bio:

As a member of two book clubs, Karen Y. reads frantically, looking for structure, meaning, and the author's intent. Materials related to Japan, food, arts and crafts, travel, and style attract her like a magnet.

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