Lynmar Winery

We took a visit to Lynmar winery the other day - for a Sunday picnic.

Our friends had recommended it to us and then we had seen an article in a magazine about their wonderful edible gardens.  I was excited to see all the plantings - but the picnic sounded good too!

The picnic was excellent.  It was eaten near the tasting room- on a table, not a picnic rug and they adapted my menu to suit a gluten free vegan.  There were two big surprises over lunch.  Firstly they brought out some "organic popcorn sprinkled with estate elephant heart plum salt".  Well, I hate popcorn - but I actually enjoyed this.  It was so unlike popcorn that I've tried before.  Normally we have to move seats in a movie theater so I don't have to smell the popcorn of the person sat next to me!  I know that is the butter rather than the popcorn - but that smell just makes me ill if I have to sit with it!But this popcorn tasted pretty good.

The second surprise was the Chardonnay wine that they served with it. Again, I'm not a big fan of most chardonnay.  Likewise my husband doesn't like them either. But this one was delicious.  No hint of butter and tropical suntan oil (!) and all those other tastes I don't like.  It was something pleasurable to drink.

The gardens were lovely - so colorful - and this was just their autumn/winter garden.  We can't wait to go back from the spring/summer garden.  They are designed by Kate Frey.

Here are some of the plantings they have used in the edible gardens:

  • redbor and red peacock kale
  • red rock mammoth cabbage
  • flax
  • calendula
  • flamingo pink and rhubarb swiss chard
  • arugula
  • japanese spinach
  • purple sprouting broccoli
  • red, purple and green bok choy
  • osaka red and ruby frills mustard
  • magenta spreen
  • mizuna
  • tot soi

Goldenberry Raw Chocolate

My friend came over yesterday to make some raw chocolate. She decided on goldenberries with pink peppercorns. There was a nice tartness to the berries with the piquancy of the pink peppercorns.

She also chose a pretty white flower to decorate one side of the chocolate. It is made from a sheet of cacao butter in the design of the flower.  When you spread the melted chocolate to the sheet it melts into the cacao butter design and as it hardens, the design stays on the chocolate.

Doesn't it look pretty.  Perfect for spring.

I made some more lemon chocolate for this weekend - with birds as a transfer. More of that later.  And if you look carefully at the bottom corner of this photo below, you will see a trial corner of an unusual flavor I want to include in my spice class next week, for food as medicine.  It's the little black dots....Any guesses what it is?  It goes well with chocolate, surprisingly!


Eat with your eyes

When we were on holiday in Mexico a few weeks ago, we had this beautiful outdoor setting for one of our dinners.  I loved the way they had taken individual flowers and arranged them so prettily.

Creating an attractive setting really helps with your enjoyment of a meal.   This is particularly important if you aren't feeling hungry as a result of treatment like chemotherapy or something like that.  If you are in that situation, see if your partner/friend can help encourage your appetite by making things look pretty and inviting.  Even putting a vase of flowers on the table can make a difference, or some candles....

Remember, we first eat with our eyes, then our noses and finally our mouths - so stimulate your eyes first, and the rest will follow!  Make the environment attractive, both the setting and how the food is arranged on the plate.


Sunshine and flowers

Look how beautiful our daffodils look this year as you enter our gate:

Those sunshine colored flowers brighten every day.  They've been in bloom for a month now...hope they last a few weeks longer.

Take time today to go outside and look at the signs of spring. Have a seat, relax, and enjoy the signs of new life all around you.  It'll surely brighten your day.