Summer Bocce Ball – Fun, Food and Wine

Bocce Ball season in the Wine Country has started again, every court at the local park filled with dozens of teams each night for the next 12 weeks (basically until harvest). Bocce nights are social evenings with neighbors and friends, eating and drinking and sharing delightful picnic dishes before, during and after the games. (One team claims to be “A drinking club with a Bocce problem”). Games start in the early evening after work, and many times last into the coolness of the night, when the lights appear on the courts and the jackets come out and we’re kept warm by the continuing flow of Cabernet Sauvignon. Jennifer & Herb are on the DeBoccery team – always in last place, but always having fun and with the most interesting and abundant food and wine! We start days in advance pouring over cookbooks and searching the internet and our gardens to dream up something special for our Monday night feast. And although we try our best to win at least one of the three games played each evening, the creation – and sharing –  of the food dishes and wine selection inevitably becomes more competitive than the ball playing.
Each team claims a picnic table and fills it with the bounty of our backyards. Out comes the huge platter of local artisan cheese, remnants of opened wines from dozens of local tasting rooms, an extra plate of deserts from the demonstration kitchen of the CIA, strawberry and raspberry shortcake from the garden and curried hard-boiled eggs from our backyard hens. Portable BBQs are set up and hot-dog cooking commences, the pop of a sparkling wine bottle is heard, a birthday cake appears and singing surrounds the courts, with 5 gallon buckets of ice-cream in huge ice-chests from the local “Big Dipper” shop, pulled in on a little red flyer wagon. Towards the end of the summer, crates of zucchini and tomatoes are passed around hoping to rid ourselves of our excess under the guise of sharing.

But for now, we are making simple dishes from our garden, like Kori’s Salsa Verde Chicken Salad – a delicious way to incorporate the arugula and parsley from the garden with a spicy dressing and nourishing chicken and white beans. Kori is a friend and client, and a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) graduate working as the creative chef at Karen-Ginger Gifts in Los Angeles. (We love their gifts, especially the K-G Krunch!) We are honored and grateful that she has created this recipe for us to pair specifically with our Two Old Dogs Sauvignon Blanc, (and it only took her three bottles to perfect!).

We’d love to hear from you, too, if you have menu or pairing suggestions that you find go beautifully with our wines . . . like grilled Wagyu beef from Hirsch’s Specialty Meats in Plano TX, or a special BBQ sauce from Kansas City for Herb’s spicy ribs, or even blueberries and chocolate mint from your garden with the Two Old Dogs Cabernet Sauvignon  . . . try it – you’ll love the flavors!