RECIPES FROM NAPA No. 1: A Few Thoughts About the Dining Table

11/5/2015 10:06:04 PM

“Recipes from Napa” is a monthly column by Florencia Palmaz about food, wine, cooking and entertaining.


MY FAMILY HAS BEEN blessed to live and work together on an estate that produces one of the world’s most joyful and magical elixirs. Life on a family vineyard has innumerable charms, and I could surely effuse to the point of reader nausea with smug Suzy Homemaker drivel about my latest fresh-from-the-garden creations. Don’t worry! This monthly column, “Recipes from Napa,” won’t be that kind of discourse — promise! You may hold onto your lunch, because I intend to tell you the straight truth about what goes on in my kitchen — the fresh, the frozen, the failures and everything in between.

Around the Table

Many Palmaz Vineyards guests ask some version of this understandable question: “How does the family all get along, working and living on the property together?” The answer gets to the core of the family-business dynamic. Our success has nothing to do with our pastoral location, or even the wine we produce. Instead, it can be linked to something simple, something every home has: the dinner table.

Every day at noon, and at least five times a week for dinner, the entire family gathers at a table. It’s often noisy and frequently messy (thanks to the presence of small children and dogs), but it’s where we give updates, develop strategy and resolve conflicts. It’s also, naturally, the occasion for much laughter and the sharing of great wine.

The fact that so much of my life centers on this table is behind my having learned to cook. When the family is happy with the meal, conversation is smoother. Similarly, when visitors enjoy a particular hors d’oeuvre, it enhances their appreciation of the wine. At the table, the food modulates the mood.

With every installment of this column, I’ll share with you how the Palmaz family gathers around the table. With each forkful, we grow increasingly close to one another and to our guests. Try it at home — whether the meal is farm-fresh, frozen or a failure, I guarantee you’ll be a little closer too by the time it’s over.

From my kitchen counter to yours,

Florencia Palmaz