Stepping into Meadowood for the Napa Valley holiday entertaining showcase Wednesday evening was a beautiful precursor to the upcoming Christmas holidays.
The designer-decorated holiday tables, in a diverse range of styles, were unique, fascinating and inspiring.
Throughout the crowded room, some guests could be seen signing pages of the recently released coffee table book “Napa Valley Entertaining,” written by Blakesley Chappellet and photographed by Briana Marie Forgie.
With good humor, about a dozen of the hosts featured in the book were signing the pages that featured them entertaining “Napa style.” The 240-page full-color book offers a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of some of the valley’s greatest hosts, from relative newcomers to second- and their-generation vintners.
One of the families showcased was that of Monique and Hugh Davies. “We’re toward the back of the book,” Davies laughed.
“I can’t say enough about Briana, the photographer who took all the photos in the book. She is amazing – so talented and sensitive. It was a fun experience for us,” said Monique Davies. “We didn’t put on a show, we just did what we normally do.”
Colorful pages show the couple with their three sons entertaining both informally and formally. Her husband, Hugh Davies, was born the year his parents purchased Schramsberg, and he has been “immersed” in the wine business all his life.
In a beautiful place filled with rich history, Davies often entertains outdoors. Sometimes it is roasted lamb cooked over an open fire and served family-style with Davies Vineyards red wines. On occasion, such as harvest, she sets a long table in the olive tree lane known as “Jack and Jamie’s Grove” for guests.
Recipes in the Davies’ section of the book include a pork belly and caviar dish that Chef Walter Manzke playfully calls “Bacon and Eggs and Potato and Leek Soup” topped with Black River Caviar.
“What I love most about the holidays and entertaining is keeping with our family’s traditions,” Davies said. “It is very important to the Davies family, to properly set the table and prepare a feast. We gather around and remember what we are most thankful for. It is a night filled with love, laughter and music.”
Throughout the evening, guests were drinking fine wine and eating Maine Lobster with pecan and celery, Black Caviar Osetra on potato gaufrettes, Salmon Stars, Fresh Mozzarella, Gourgeres with Gruyere and Cherry Mustarda and Paella Arancini.
Recipes for the hors d’oeuvre guests were enjoying are in her book, Chappellet said.
“Napa Valley has entertaining at its very heart,” said Chappellet, who has hosted events for Academy Award-winning actors, Grammy-winning musicians, CEOs and countless others during her 20 years in Napa Valley.
“The book is about the people of the valley, our shared love of great food and wine, and the connection to the land that inspires our celebrations,” Chappellet said. “It is also about the idea that the essence of great entertaining is being authentic, and creating unique experiences that are passionate and genuine.”
A percentage of book sales at the event benefit Napa & Sonoma Relief.
“Napa Valley Entertaining” was published by Historic Hospitality Books. It can be purchased in select wineries and through NapaValleyEntertainment.