Napa Valley might be best known for its wine, but it’s also a great destination for a foodie tour. During Napa Valley food and wine tours with The International Kitchen, you’ll be treated to gourmet dishes paired with local wines. In other words, matches made in heaven! You’ll also have a true insider – Diane di Filipi – as your guide into this part of the country, making it a unique experience. So who is Diane?
Diane di Filipi wears a lot of hats – she’s an accomplished chef, travel and food writer, olive oil educator, and more – which allows her to give particular insider knowledge into the Napa Valley food and wine scene. In fact, before she even donned some of those hats, she loved the region. As she says, “it just made sense that my hobby and passions became my livelihood.” Others sensed her deep knowledge and appreciation for all things food and wine too.
Take this story, as an example, of how she began writing for the newspaper: “the Food and Wine Editor (internationally known author Sasha Paulsen) had heard some podcasts I had written and recorded, and saw some work I had done writing newsletters for a couple of wineries, liked my particular style. Then she found out about my cooking vacation tour launch and wanted to interview me for an article. After we met and chatted for hours she asked me if I would do a column for her… and I’ve been doing columns and feature (center piece) articles for her ever since. I began with Italian food and olive oil focus and now I write about food, wine, travel stories, olive oil, local agriculture, local history…..whatever she might need.”
Before heading out to our Napa Valley cooking vacation, bring a bit of their flavors into your kitchen with this recipe crafted by Diane. (For this recipe you’ll need both parchment paper and kitchen string.)
Pork with Grapes and Wine
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Cook method: Sauté, Simmer, Bake
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 4 small garlic cloves (leave the skin on)
- 6 sage leaves
- 2 small thyme sprigs
- 10 lbs small grapes, sliced in half (Diane recommends seedless Concord grapes)
- 4 lbs pork, cubed (the better the cut, the more tender the meat)
1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet. To the pan, add the onion as well as the herbs, and saute.
2. Once the onions have softened, add the pork to the pan and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
3. Prepare half of the grapes by squeezing out the juices by hand and then discarding the skins.
4. Pour the grape juice into the skillet, and allow it to cook until the liquid reduces by a third. Be sure to deglaze the pan 2-3 times while the juice reduces.
5. Once the reduction is done, add the rest of the grapes (still hole), and reduce the pan to a simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Using the parchment sheets, create 8 parchment bags. (Alternatively purchase parchment bags). Then, fill each with the same amount of pork, sauce, and grapes. They should each hold about three cups of juice and filling.
7. Once each bag has been filled, tie each of them with kitchen string.
8. Bake all the bags at 350°F for 20 minutes to finish the dish.
Alternatively, the bags can be prepared a day before, and then finished with the 20 minute bake before you serve the dish.
Ready for even more flavors from Napa Valley? Come visit Diane and discover this beautiful part of the States with our custom 4-night cooking vacation.
See another recipe from Diane for eggs en meurette.
By Liz Hall
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