Last month my husband and I were invited to a beautiful private event at a simply gorgeous local winery. House Family Vineyards is located on a hilltop in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Saratoga overlooking Santa Clara Valley, now known to the world as Silicon Valley. The view was astounding, with sweeping views that spanned from Mountain View and Santa Clara, to San Jose, Saratoga, and Los Gatos, plus the bay and hills that encircle it all. While sipping wine, we had fun pointing out local landmarks. These views are of the southern tip of what is known as the San Francisco Bay Area, with San Francisco being to our north. Many visitors to our area are aware of our famous Napa-Sonoma-Mendocino wine country that is north of San Francisco, but there are many wineries south and east as well. If you are visiting Silicon Valley, (I know quite a few of my readers do visit for business) and you want to visit a close-by California winery, this gem should be your destination. The rustic, lodge-like wine tasting room is open Friday-Sunday for tastings that includes an hors d'oeuvre menu, but can be closed for private events so it's best to check the website first. Wear comfy shoes for the oak-studded quarter-mile walk from the parking lot to the tasting room. I don't consider myself a wine connoisseur, more of an enthusiast, and we loved what we tasted so decided to become members of their wine club. Wine clubs are the best way to purchase wine from small wineries who don't have enough wine to sell to wine stores. Plus picking up our wine will be a fun outing on a pretty afternoon with the '62 Corvette, my husband's beloved hobby car. As for the evening's dinner, it was sublime. We began with passed appetizers on the terrace with the expansive views, but I couldn't stray too far from the epic charcuterie board. It had everything I adore: olives, pickles, salty meats, grapes, and a wonderful selection of soft and hard cheeses. I always think I'm going to tackle making a charcuterie board but haven't yet as I fear it will be too difficult and I won't get it to look right. I looked online for help and loved Kylie Mazon's simple plan and pretty style and now I am determined to give a charcuterie board a try this summer. Dinner was served from big platters served family style in the center of the tables followed by dessert and coffee offered on a separate buffet. But the views and wine, the food and friends, all had to take a back seat for a bit because the moment I walked in, I gasped at the table setting and that took my full attention at the first. Look at the centerpieces! Branches of olive, curly willow and eucalyptus, artichokes and grapes, protea, roses, green hydrangeas, snapdragons, and shiny black lilies that looked like leather! My husband pointed out that each of the artichoke petals had been snipped of its wee thorny tip. One of the prettiest arrangements I had ever seen. Now that is floral artistry.
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