Remember, treats aren't just for kids. Halloween is just around the corner and you should have plenty of chocolate ready!





Mommy, mommy,
what's a Vampire?

Spacer issue six, volume nine  

Halloween Basket

Halloween snuck up on us this year and isn't that as it should be; Halloween as a sneak. It is supposed to be a Mini Pumpkinsholiday about tricks and disguises, the warding off and welcoming of spirits and most of all treats. Of course it's also about parties and Tracy and I have been known to celebrate All Hallows Eve with the best of them. At one of our Halloween parties in the cave many, many years ago...oh wait, you didn't know we once owned a cave? Well, remember Bell Boy Skullbefore Woodhouse Chocolate we were S. Anderson Vineyard, hence the wine cave, OK back to the story...we had gone all out decorating with fake bats, spiders, pumpkins and spooky music. The cave walls already had candles and a few real spider webs and the piece de resistance was to be the addition of a thick ground fog courtesy of dry ice. You know how this works, drop dry ice in water, it starts to melt producing CO2 gas, viola, fog. Well, we bought a LOT of dry ice and I reasoned that if we had boiling water the fog effect would be even better! So, cue the music and as we heard the guests arriving in a group (as arranged) we dropped all of the dry ice into the boiling water. Large WitchThe effect was spectacular as the fog filled the ground, then the air, then the ceiling and as we all ran from the cave gasping for breath we agreed that perhaps the fog would be dropped from future events. Our parties since have been just as much fun if a little less "spectacular", but we have certainly improved the chocolate we serve. I mean once you've sampled a peanut butter cup made by hand or looked into chocolate eyes (and then popped it in your mouth!) it's a little hard to go back to the same old thing. Fortunately our store and website are filled to the brim with Halloween goodies for all ages, from simple chocolate Bats to our new Dulce de Leche Skulls. So check in and celebrate the coming of fall: dive into a pile of leaves, carve a pumpkin, kick that football (alright, probably not), enjoy the foliage, but most of all, have a wonderful Halloween!

John and Tracy Wood Anderson

The Thomas

Fagiani BarWhile we have recently been reporting on the new restaurants in St. Helena, Napa has not been standing still and has added some gems of their own. The Thomas at Fagiani's is a wonderful new spot on Napa's waterfront, but in an old building with a very dark past. The building opened in 1909 as The Thomas, a 2nd Floor Dining restaurant and boarding house before becoming Fagiani's, a working class bar in 1945.It was as Fagiani's that, in 1974, one of the two sisters who ran the bar was murdered in a back room. The other sister boarded up the bar, intact and untouched, for roughly 36 years until the crime was finally solved in 2010. Perhaps, feeling something had finally lifted, the remaining sister sold the place to the New York based group that has transformed it into a three story restaurant and bar. When Tracy and I entered this past Sunday it was with an almost giddiness as after 36 years we never expected the doors to actually be Fagiani's Signunlocked. Is it too much of a cliche to say it was worth the wait? The restaurant is gorgeous, with all three floors carrying through the hardwood and tile theme that starts with the facade. The ground floor has a beautiful craved wood bar and serves a bar menu, while the second floor with its open kitchen and the third floor with it's own bar and outdoor seating both serve a full menu. The cocktails are a very creative set made with fresh juices and infusions. It almost looks like a laboratory with all the little bottles of tinctures We have only been for brunch, which was excellent and look forward to going back to try the farm fresh choices for dinner.






serves 4

Here we are with Halloween just around the corner. Temperatures are finally falling around here after a bout of Indian Summer, which means that it is time to light a fire in the fireplace and put some meat on to stew. Here is a rich beef dish just right for a chilly evening. I hope you will enjoy it!

For the Sugo:
2 lbs. beef stew meat in cubes
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
3-4 cups beef broth

To Finish:
4 radishes, very thinly sliced
pink peppercorns
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb. Pappardelle, cooked to package directions

Beef Spiced Sudo

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a large zip-lock bag. Add the meat cubes, seal the bag and shake it to coat the meat evenly. (You could just toss it all in a bowl, but then you have to clean the bowl.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a medium sized Dutch oven over a high flame. Add the 2 Tablespoons olive oil, then in two batches, brown the beef after shaking the excess flour off (you don't want to crowd the pan or the beef will not brown and will begin to stew before you want it to.) Remove the beef and set aside. Reduce the heat a little so you don't burn the bits left in the pan, add another teaspoon or so of olive oil, then dump in the onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Increase the heat to high again, and saute the vegetables until softened and starting to brown. Add the red wine and reduce a little. Add the tomato paste, spices and cocoa powder. Put the beef back in and add beef broth to cover about 3-4 cups. Bring to a simmer, cover and put in the oven for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender.
Now, remove the beef and shred it, or cut it into smaller cubes, whatever you want, just make it bite-sized. Set aside while you deal with the sauce. I hope you have an inversion (stick) blender, because it is so much easier to do this step with one. Blend the sauce until smooth with an inversion blender (if you don't have one, you will have to use a blender or food processor, which is just messy.) Heat the sauce over a medium flame and reduce until thickened - like a thick gravy. Adjust the seasoning - that means add salt as necessary. Stir in the meat. Voila - a sugo.
To serve, divide the pappardelle between four soup-plates, spoon some sauce over the noodles, top with radish slices and sprinkle with a few pink peppercorns and chopped rosemary. Ta-Da!

  Halloween Items
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1367 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
telephone 800-966-3468