Harvest in Wine Country Cooking Class

November 2-6, 2009
US $2,000.00*

All students in this class will receive a special gift from Le Creuset! Le Creuset

Course Description

Joanne teaching torta rusticaFor me, there is nothing better than harvest time! Not only is there anxious anticipation and predictions for the new vintage, but an excitement for autumnal ingredients and all the exciting preparations for the upcoming holiday season.

In this course we will use all the best fall ingredients to create exciting menus perfect for home and holiday entertaining.  We’ll go “Fall Foraging” in my kitchen for wild mushrooms to create a “Wild Mushroom and Stilton Galette” using my foolproof recipe for quick puff-pastry dough, and I’ll teach you how to make homemade “Squash Ravioli with Hazelnut Butter and Parmesan” that will literally melt in your mouth!  And honestly, that’s just the beginning!

We’ll draw on the local farmer’s market to create our “Farmer’s Market Feast” featuring my “Pizza with Winter Squash, Bacon, and Smoked Mozzarella”, a colorful and delicious “Salad of Figs, Pomegranates, Persimmons and Pears”, and a one-pot “Chicken Ragout with Autumn Vegetables”, featuring seasonal root vegetables. And save room for dessert!!

In this era of “staycations”, many of us will really be “Home for the Holidays” and I’ve got the perfect menu to prepare at home! We’ll start with some simply delicious “Crostini with Smoked Trout and Lemon Zest” while our “Beef Braised in Cabernet Sauvignon” finishes cooking, and we’ll finish off with one of my favorite Chez Panisse-inspired desserts, “Cranberry Upside-Down Cake”.

I receive about 25 frantic calls and emails every year from friends and family asking me for my recipe for Thanksgiving roast turkey. I really do have an easy recipe that makes the juiciest, most moist turkey ever! One of the days, we’ll make “The Perfect Turkey”.  We’ll do T-Day openers like “Smoked Salmon Pizza with Pickled Onions and Crème Fraiche” to keep the relatives happy while we prepare some delicious sides like “Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes” and “Oven Roasted Vegetables”, not to mention the best “Old-Fashioned Apple Pie with Calvados Ice Cream”!  My mom makes the best pies and we’ll be using her famous piecrust recipe!!!!

And to kick-start your holiday entertaining plans, we’ll throw a “Tequila Cocktail Party” featuring some amazing tequila recipes from my new book, Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites (Ten Speed Press, 2009). Get ready to party in the kitchen while we prepare some delicious “bites” to go along with our tequila cocktails, including “Chorizo Handpies”, “Slow-Braised Pork Tacos with Tomatillos and Tequila”, and “Mexican Chocolate Soufflés with Tequila-Chipotle Crème Anglaise.” Olé!


Each hands-on cooking class will include recipes designed to highlight the typical dishes of a particular region, theme and/or cooking technique. After reviewing the recipes together, students will divide into teams to work on recipes together.

When we are finished cooking each day, we'll sit down in my spacious dining room and enjoy hand-selected wine pairings with each of the dishes we've prepared.

Wine Pairings

You know how I feel about wine so a delicious meal is not complete without the perfect pairing of wine! At the end of each class and paired with the meal we have prepared, we'll taste a variety of wines whose flavors and acidity have been selected to match those of each dish, and we'll learn about the grape varietals and origin of each wine and discuss them together. Wine tasting notes will be provided. We will also have a very special guest(s) pouring wines at some of our meals!


After cooking during the day, you will still have plenty of time to enjoy San Francisco and all of its wonderful views and sights. We can provide a list of nearby hotels and bed & breakfasts to choose from for your stay. We can also arrange for car or taxi service from/to your hotel to Joanne's home. We are also happy to provide a list of Joanne's favorite San Francisco restaurants, cafes, wine bars, shops, and farmer's market locations. You can find some of her local favorites here.

Course Details

This week-long course costs $2,000 per person. The cost includes hands-on cooking instruction, copies of all recipes, an apron, and a multi-course lunch each class day complete with wine pairings. Full payment for the course must be included with your completed reservation form. Due to limited availability we cannot provide any refunds for cancellations.

*Note: Course fee does not include accomodations or transportation to the cooking school location.

Classes begin at 10am and finish at approximately 3pm. Classes are limited to 10 students so everyone gets lots of personal attention and a real hands-on experience. We recommend wearing closed-toe, rubber-soled shoes and comfortable clothes for the cooking classes.

Questions? Contact us.