Food and wine events are routine in Sonoma County, but Pigs and Pinot is a standout. Held March 23–24 at chef Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant and the Hotel Healdsburg, the seventh annual event sells out each year, mainly because it involves lots of great Pinot Noir and plenty of pork.
Palmer is joined this year by some notable culinary talent: Michael Mina, Guy Fieri, Casey Thompson (a Top Chef season three finalist) and Michael White, owner of New York's Marea, Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori.
The Pinot pig-out includes Taste of Pigs and Pinot on March 23, a sampling of the 60 Pinot Noirs competing in the "Pinot Cup" competition alongside a multitude of pork dishes. Starting at 10:30am March 24, the Tournament of the Pig features an Iron Chef–style culinary competition hosted by Palmer and Fieri. Then comes the Ultimate Pinot Smack Down in which sommeliers go head to head with selections of their best Pinots; the audience picks the winners. The big event is the Pigs and Pinot Gala, in which Palmer, the guest chefs and a host of local cooks create a five-course meal at Dry Creek Kitchen paired with—what else?—Pinot Noir.
The Healdsburg Hotel's sister property, h2hotel, offers room packages and a special dining event March 24 in its restaurant, Spoonbar. The four-course meal features a menu of ingredients sourced within 100 miles of the restaurant.
Pigs and Pinot benefits Share Our Strength and Here for Them's "Russ's Kitchen" project. Tickets to individual events go on sale Jan. 20 and can be purchased at www.pigsandpinot.com.—Stett Holbrook