Aug 182010
 

My husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary.  It is amazing to reflect back on a life that started as a couple, grew into a family and now is in the thick of tag teaming raising a child.  We’ve shared such a full, fun-packed ride.  But this is not a Hallmark card so let’s move on….

I was looking through a MINI Cooper magazine my father gave me when I came across an article on picnics – what foods to take, what wine to drink, etc.  It inspired me to buy a picnic basket and take my husband on a beach picnic to celebrate our many happy years together.  I thought it might be a fun twist to the typical “get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant” type celebration we usually do.

I searched the internet for the perfect picnic basket.  It had to have wine glasses, real plates (plastic was out),  silverware and have an overall cool look about it.  I was surprised to see so many sites devoted just to picnic baskets but the options became narrower the more I looked.  I ordered one but sent it back for poor quality (the challenges of internet shopping) but then I found a second one that was perfect!

Our date started by going to our wine cellar and selecting a special wine.  We chose a 2004 Brunello di Montalcino from Il Palazzone. This is a winery I stumbled on too late in our Italian adventures to visit  but sent our current landlords there on a recent Italian vacation.  Laura Gray*, the estate manager, gave them the red carpet treatment and our landlords in turn brought this bottle of Brunello back for us!  Il Palazzone is a very small winery producing only 8,000 bottles of wine a year.  Although American owned Laura and her husband, Marco Sassetti, an indigenous Montalcinese live on and run the estate.  After enjoying our bottle, I can assure you the wines of Il Palazzone are exquisite and a perfect reflection of why Brunello di Montalcino is a prestigious DOCG wine worthy to be the center of any special occasion (see “Boots And Brunello In Montalcino”).  Our Brunello was bold, balanced and complex with a beautiful bouquet of dark cherries and plums along with notes of leather.  It was really quite decadent.  We were surprised and sad to see the bottle empty so quickly.

Since my husband is into food almost as much as I am, we decided to include shopping for the picnic as part of the date.  We went to Boney’s Bayside Market – a quaint market that has healthy and gourmet foods all perfectly wrapped up into one.  We spread our blanket on beautiful Coronado Beach and enjoyed our picnic fare as we watched the fog roll in and the dolphins gracefully swim by.  It was one of the best anniversary celebrations yet…and we even got to wear flip-flops!

I encourage you to pack your own picnic and spread out a blanket on the beach or a grassy knoll.  In fact, I’ll give you our menu as a sample to spark your gourmand within.  Don’t forget your wine opener.  Now go out there and have fun!

Menu

2 Demi Baguette (perfect size for the basket)

Crackers

Black Peppered Crusted Brie

5 Year Aged Canadian Sharp Cheddar

English Cotswold

Thin Sliced Proscuitto, Coppa & Genova Salame

Pork & Chicken Liver Mousse With Black Truffles

Seafood Pate

Roasted & Marinated Red Tomatoes

Fresh Sliced Strawberries, Blackberries & Blueberries

Chewy Date Nut Bars

Pellegrino And A Great Bottle of Wine

*To make reservations to visit Il Palazzone in beautiful Montalcino, Italy contact Laura Gray at laura@ilpalazzone.com or Tel. (0039) 0577 846142 and tell her Julie from Deep Red Cellar sent you – I guarantee the red carpet will be rolled out for you too! :)