Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lakeside wine, pinot and paella

One more summer wine festival this weekend with the lakeside Atascadero Wine Festival, the 12th annual, featuring 85 wineries, music from the Mighty Croon Dogs, food, art and others vendors.

The Lakeside Tasting Saturday goes from 11:30 am-4 pm; tickets are $30 in advance/$30 at the door and get you an event glass and 10 tasting tickets. There's free shuttle service from the Sunken Gardens. Buy tickets online or at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, at 6550 El Camino Real.

Proceeds benefit the Charles Paddock Zoo, where ticket-holders can enjoy free entrance Saturday, and other projects in Atascadero.

Sunday, the participating wineries host their own events. For a list of the wineries, go to the festival's web site.

Speaking of wine festivals, go ahead and mark your calendar now for June 8, 2008, the date of next year's Pinot and Paella cook-off, a smaller but growing event.

In fact, go ahead and buy your tickets now - this year's event sold out more than a month in advance. And it's well worth the price of admission.

Taste some of the best pinot noirs from around the Central Coast and chow down on the most inventive and tasty paella dishes the area's best chefs can create. (One of this year's selections included alligator, though my favorite -- and the winner of the People's Choice award -- was from 10th Street Vineyard Cafe.

Pinot and Paella, in Templeton's Community Park, is smaller and less rowdy than some of the other local festivals, but clearly gaining quite a devoted following. Consider joining it.

In the meantime, you can find the recipe for 2006's winner as featured in Vintages magazine here.

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