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It's turkey lurkey time, Tom Turkey ran away...

issue six, volume seven  

Walnuts & Peanut Butter Cups

The summer is over. The crops are finally in, though harvest was so Small & Medium Turkeyslate around here that some still don't believe it, and the nation settles in for the long stretch of football that is better known as November. Well, what we are really settling in for is that coming Thursday when all will gather around an immense display of nature's bounty and celebrate the joys of the table with kith and kin. That groaning board is really a monument Chocolate Grapesto collective memories and traditions that grow and slowly change throughout the years. Tracy long ago took over for my mother (now gone) and makes the meal, but thanks to my mother's favorite Old South Watermelon Rind will be on the table. New people create new favorites and new memories, Thanksgiving Basketand we hope that Woodhouse Chocolate can be part of your celebration. In our store and on the web you will find the essentials you need to decorate your table and fill your larder for dessert! What better place to start than with the turkey, a noble bird, and even better in chocolate! We have four sizes on the web and more in the store to cover your needs from placeholders to hand-decorated works of art. We also have Harvest Pumpkins, Giant Acorns and Squirrels to liven up your table top and add to theme of Fall. Our Grapes are from the famed Napa Valley and sold by the bunch and don't forget our filled Walnuts only available 'till Thanksgiving. So many decisions. Perhaps the easiest choice is our Thanksgiving Gift Basket; all the best in pretty little basket. Whatever you choose, from our family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

John & Tracy Anderson

Newton Logo

This month we bring you another of the Valley's tried and true all-stars, Newton Vineyard. Founded in 1977 by Su Hua and Peter Newton with their purchase of one square mile of land on the slopes of Spring Mountain, Newton has over the years planted the estate with 120 acres of vineyards. A unique feature of the estate is a massive pine tree in a clearing on the ridge line making it visible in the valley below. You can in fact see it from our house. The tree is so distinctive that it is the icon for the winery. The winery makes two series of wines, their Red Label Wines (which are lower priced) and their top line Unfiltered Wines. We tasted the 2006 Unfiltered Merlot, Napa Valley ($60) and found a nose of black pepper, dried plums, figs and bramble fruit. The palate was rich and concentrated with cedar and black cherry, but with a bright acidity that balanced the whole. And now the eternal question, "Does Newton Merlot like chocolate?" The answer of course is yes, but then you saw that coming, Honey is the star bringing out both fruit and spice in the wine. Quatre Epices is another winner with the spiciness of the chocolate (black pepper, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon) perfectly complimenting the wine. The Brown Butter Ganache and the Champagne Truffle both worked their creamy magic and combined with the wine to create a sumptuous new whole. The Amaretto Almond and Chambord also worked well and brought out the fruit in a luscious way. Obviously you will want to try this at home as you are professionals and while you are searching at your Newton Merlot you will certainly want to try their other wines. They are one of those wineries one should keep on one's permanent list.




Here is a great side dish for your Thanksgiving table. First of all it is absolutely delicious, secondly, it is super easy and lastly it can be made ahead. What more could you ask for? Oh, a little chocolate. Well, it's in there too, but I doubt if anyone would be able to identify your secret ingredient. Have a happy feast!

For the Vinaigrette:
3 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
a few grindings of black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
1/3 cup walnut oil
finely grated rind of 1/2 an orange

Whisk all of the above together in a small bowl.

For the Rice:

6 ozs. wild rice, cooked according to directions on package (I use McFadden Farm Wild Rice from California in a little white box)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
3 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced, green part and all

Rice Salad

Mix all the rice ingredients together in a mixing bowl, You can do this while everything is warm - no need to cool it down, in fact it is probably better if the rice is a little warm. Pour the vinaigrette over and mix well. TA DA! It's that simple. Now, you can serve this right away, or you can cover and refrigerate for up to a week. I would bring it back to room temperature before serving, or warm it slightly. Yum.


Farmstead Logo

Open less than a year, Farmstead restaurant has been a welcome addition to the St. Helena dining scene: Tracy and I ate there last Saturday and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. The restaurant itself is built in a barn-like structure with high ceilings, an open kitchen and a welcoming bar. It was a beautiful fall evening and so the outside dining area, bar and fireplace were full as we walked by to claim our table inside. Seating is divided between regular tables, community dining and cozy booths (of which we had one). We had cocktails to start from a list that was more interesting than the usual; a Huckleberry Fizz and a Pear Martini, both well made and not too sweet. Tracy and I both chose a first course ($8 to $14) and shared them with our drinks. The Wood Roasted Autumn Squash with Chile Pequin, Ricotta and Mint was surprisingly flavorful and satisfying for a purely vegetable dish. It was one we kept going back to for just one more bite. The "Potted" pig was pretty much a no-brainer for us, a pork rillette with toast and mustard, also a big hit. It was difficult to choose second courses, because everything sounded good, but we settled on the arborio rice with shortrib meat mixed in and an egg on top. That dish was so robust and full of flavor that just a little went a long way, and they gave us a lot! The brick cooked chicken was also quite delicious, and again the vegetables that came with it were a scrumptious surprise (cannelini beans and lacinato kale). One really does feel that the farm has come to the table here. Oh, and don't forget dessert - all yummy.

Mini Turkeys

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St. Helena, CA 94574
telephone 800-966-3468