Fall is our favorite time of year to enjoy the local bounty, artisan foods and seasonal dishes. Some examples:
LOCAL APPLES Crisp, sweet and refreshing, the apple is redolent of the fall season. In our region, we enjoy visiting Bierwagen's in Chicago Park and Machado Orchards in Auburn.
Bierwagen's grows heritage Arkansas Black apples. Machado's grows Arkansas Black, Red Delicious, Fuji, Pink Lady, Wine- sap and others. Both farms offer homemade apple pies and fresh-pressed apple juice. Bierwagen's also has a popular pumpkin patch. Find them on Facebook.
DUNGENESS CRAB We love the Dungeness crab season, which begins in late fall. It is a Northern California tradition. We like fresh crab from Ikeda's in Auburn or the Little Fish Co., served with bread from Summer Thyme's, Three Forks Bakery — and now, ol' Republic Roadhouse. We pair our crab with Cristallo wine from Avanguardia, or a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc wine from Nevada City Winery, Pilot Peak, or Sierra Starr. WildLittleFish.com
HOSHIGAKI Otow Orchard in Granite Bay is renowned for preserving the Japanese art of hoshigaki. “Hoshi” means dried and “saki” is from “kaki,” the Japanese word for persimmon. Otow's fresh persimmons are dried each fall, in a slow, patient, hands-on process. Otow also offers hoshigaki workshops. OtowOrchard.com
MONT D'OR CHEESE Wheyward Girl in Nevada City carries Mont d'Or, rare and only available this time of year. “Called ‘the holy grail of raw milk cheeses,' Mont d'Or is truly a spectacular cheese,” writes chef and author David Lebovitz. The cheese is warmed in the oven until gooey, served with a baguette and paired with a flavorful white wine or a wheat beer. WheywardGirlCreamery.com
CIOPPINO Tofanelli's in Grass Valley features this seasonal dish in all its glory. It consists of fresh clams, mussels, prawns, scallops, halibut, crab claws and legs — all in a big bowl with plenty of tasty garlic bread to soak up the delicious juices. Cioppino was developed in the late 1800s, largely by Italian immigrants who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Tofanellis.com