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This story originally appeared in California Winery Advisor. Are you ready to see the vineyards in a hot air balloon Napa style? There are few reasons I can think of that make getting up before the sun worth it. One of those reasons is a hot air balloon ride. And what better place to take a ride in a hot air balloon than in wine country? It is a peaceful, beautiful way to see the vineyards and offers a view that cannot be achieved except from above. Hot Air Balloon Ride companies can be found throughout in Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Temecula. When you are looking for a company to go for a ride, customer safety is the number one priority. Be sure to look for a company that has current insurance, experienced pilots, and balloons that are maintained impeccably. You can also check the company’s safety record, which will most likely be on their website. Once you have picked a company and signed up, you will be in for an unforgettable experience.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register. What do you think about drinking when you eat sushi? Beer, sake or a crisp white wine such as riesling, gruner veltliner or sauvignon blanc? What if I said cabernet sauvignon? Yes, a red wine with sushi. After a recent dining experience, I have been convinced that it can work. But, it takes a unique kind of sushi and the right wines.
The sushi is called Edomae, which means the “style” or “the way” of Edo, the former name of Tokyo). It is a type of sushi that was popular in Tokyo in the 1800s. During this time, there was no refrigeration system to preserve the fish, so chefs marinated and seasoned the fish to preserve it safely. The fish, shellfish and conger eel would be caught and lightly processed with vinegar, salt and soy sauce and then laid on vinegar rice. During this preservation of the fish, the water is extracted, as well as the fishiness. The result is sushi that emphasizes umami flavors, and this is what pairs with wine. Edomae was how fish was eaten for 350 years in Japan. But with modern refrigeration and transportation over the last 50 years, the style has changed now we eat the fish fresh.