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World Spirits award winners from Petaluma

This year’s 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition was a doozy for local grain-to-glass spirit maker Barber Lee Spirits 60 judges blind tasted nearly 5,000 entries and chose Barber Lee Spirits’ Absinthe Blanche earned the “Best of Class” award for Absinthe’s, likely because its triple distilled white wine brandy adds a sweetness that helps to balance the bitterness found in most absinthes. Barber Lee then adds a half dozen or so herbs and botanicals, all centered around wormwood, which adds a specific aromatic and flavor characteristics to the spirit.

Barber Lee also nabbed a Double Gold for their Apple Brandy, and Silvers for their Single Malt Rye and Heirloom Corn Bourbon. (Barber Lee also offers White Rum and Moonshine as part of their spirits collection.) The Apple Brandy is my personal favorite, possibly because of my ingrained love of Gravenstein apples, which is what Barber Lee fresh-presses in order to create the cider base for their brandy, before it spends a year gaining a subtle spiciness from aging in oak barrels.

You can find Barber Lee Spirit’s wares at grocery stores and liquor shops all around town, but it really is best to visit them in person, where you can usually talk directly with the owners to learn more about what they are doing and sample before you buy. They are located at 120 Washington St., in the old Mike’s Glass building, between Volpi’s and Telephone Alley (across which you will find Barber Cellars wine tasting room.) You can also shop their online store at www.barberleespirits.com

Barber Cellars Library Tasting

Across the alley from Barber Lee Spirits, Barber Cellars is holding a Library Tasting on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, from 4 to 7 p.m. This is a great opportunity to sample some of Barber’s reserve and out-of-stock library wines. For those unfamiliar with the term, “library” refers to a winery’s past wines when stored and saved for special events like this. In this case, some of these wines come from vineyards that don’t even exist anymore but are available for tasting and purchase. There will also be light food served. To guarantee enough space (and wine) for everyone, this is a presale only event, with tickets available at www.barbercellars.com in the “Vines” section.

Aaron Lee, co-owner of Barber Lee Spirits, pours a Sicilian Sting, a mix of grappa, honey, lemon juice, egg white, with a chamomile sugar rim, in Petaluma, Calif., on Thursday, December 2, 2021.(Beth Schlanker/The Press Democrat)
Aaron Lee, co-owner of Barber Lee Spirits, pours a Sicilian Sting, a mix of grappa, honey, lemon juice, egg white, with a chamomile sugar rim, in Petaluma, Calif., on Thursday, December 2, 2021.(Beth Schlanker/The Press Democrat)

BBQ & Cocktails

Barber Lee Spirits will hold a “Season of Cocktails” event on Sunday, July 24, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m., pairing their cocktails, made with award-winning spirits, with BBQ dishes. Tickets to this event entitle holders to food, live music, six sample cocktails and one large cocktail of your choice. Tickets are available through Barber Lee Spirit’s website.

A plate of Chicken BBQ at the 48th Annual Wilmar Volunteer Fire Department Chicken BBQ at the Holy Ghost Hall in Petaluma on Sunday July 27, 2014.
A plate of Chicken BBQ at the 48th Annual Wilmar Volunteer Fire Department Chicken BBQ at the Holy Ghost Hall in Petaluma on Sunday July 27, 2014.

BBQ Chicken Fundraiser

While on the topic BBQ, Wilmar Volunteer Fire Department will hold their annual chicken BBQ fundraiser on Sunday, July 24, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Holy Ghost Hall (also called Portuguese Hall and located at the corner of Bodega and Eucalyptus). The BBQ meal includes BBQ chicken, salad, beans, roll and either water or milk, with other libations available for purchase. Preorders are available for curbside pickup or for dining at one of the on-site picnic tables. There will also be a cash raffle with prizes ranging from $50 to $500. Adult meals are $16 and smaller kids’ meals are $10 and can be ordered at https://wilmar-fire.square.site/

Pupusa Fest

Yes, you read that correctly…and we can all send special thoughts of thanks to Petaluma Foodies member Bianka Cortez for this particular heads up. The Petaluma Fairgrounds will host a festival to celebrate pupusas on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022 from noon to 8 p.m. For those who have not yet discovered this Central American street food/U.S. delicacy, “Pupusas are a traditional dish from El Salvador; made of corn flower filled with cheese and beans or pork served with curtido and red salsa.” We love them and never pass up a chance to try new ones when given the opportunity. This event will include a crazy amount of live music, likely spanning all 8 hours of the event, plus cultural performances, such as Group Maiz Ballet Folklorico, as well as rides for the kids. And pupusas, of course. Listen to me now and thank me (and Bianka) later – pupusas are one of life’s greatest culinary pleasures.

Farm to Table Dinner

Asombrosa Farm (www.asombrosa.com) will host their first farm-to-table dinner on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, starting at 5 p.m.. The multicourse dinner will be created by the talented chefs of Table Culture Provisions. Space is limited and will surely sell out fast, especially with TCP doing the cooking and wine pairings from Barber Cellars. We attended Asombrosa’s soft opening last year, where both TCP and Barber were serving, and had a great time. It is a wonderful venue, and TCP’s menu is always off the hook. In fact, they were serving a ravioli that was made of squash instead of pasta. Had I not asked, I would have never known. It was something really special, as is everything coming out of TCP’s kitchen. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.

Farmers’ Market Move

For those who missed the announcement, the Petaluma Farmers’ Market has moved their Thursday evening downtown market from 2nd Street to the Petaluma Fairgrounds. Tents are up and serving from 3 to 7 p.m. and will continue through Thursday, Sept. 29 at the east parking lot, which is located at the corner of Kenilworth Dr. and Johnston St. If you haven’t been yet, this is a great spot to grab some fun dinner eats from the likes of Bun Bao, Sunny Café, Trader Jim’s Pineapple Whips, Antonia’s Vegan Wraps, Holey Mole, Lucky Pop Kettle Corn, Route 1 Coffee and Smoothies and local favorite, What a Chicken. Petaluma’s Tuesday year-round market at Lucchesi and summer Saturday downtown market at Walnut Park continue as usual.

Petaluma Bounty Farm Stand (Petaluma Health Care photo)
Petaluma Bounty Farm Stand (Petaluma Health Care photo)

Farmstand reopens

Petaluma Bounty’s farm stand will reopen on July 13, 2022 at 55 Shasta Ave., from 3 to 6 p.m. They moved to Wednesday so as not to conflict with Thursday’s farmers’ market at the fairground. “We offer sliding-scale pricing for CalFresh and limited income folks.” For more information, visit www.petalumabounty.org.

Email houston@avantlard.com with questions/comments.

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