After a full day of some of Trafalgar’s best Northern California guided vacation highlights, including wine and olive oil tasting at Round Pond Estate, a lovely lunch at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, and Italian medieval adventures at Castello di Amorosa, we ended our day with dinner at Ramekins Culinary School.
I was familiar with this place as it was a venue for films and events when I worked at the Sonoma International Film Festival in 2010, but I had never cooked here.
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The facility is used for a wide variety of activities including the cooking school as well as for weddings and catering, but it is also a B&B. It has a beautiful terrace for meals outside, something the #Trafalgar2012 group missed out on as it was a bit chilly.
I have to be honest and tell you that many of us approached this portion of the trip with trepidation. I have barely cooked a meal in ten years, I am so spoiled by the culinary skills of Mr. Misadventures! Turns out that there were several others, including my friend Andi of My Beautiful Adventures who were equally as leery to cook!
But if we didn’t cook, we didn’t eat so we warily put on our aprons and hesitantly approached the kitchen. Of course, we weren’t alone as there were several highly skilled Ramekins staff members on hand to instruct us on what to do and assist us with various aspects of our courses.
In this photo, it could be said that we are intently listening to directions, but I think the reality is that we are all praying to the culinary gods not to screw up or cut ourselves!
Of course, we were also a room full of bloggers and journalists so there was lots of stopping what we were doing to make a tour around the kitchen for photos! On my tour, there was prepping the chicken that would be stuffed with pecorino cheese and pinenuts.
As well as prepping a pecan-crusted goat cheese for the salad course.
And my own team working on shrimp cakes, one of the two appetizers for the evening.
We had other visitors making the rounds too, including Journeywoman who had a few tips for our instructor!
There was definitely lots of posing going on, as some of us were performing tasks that we would rarely do in our “normal” life! (P.S. stirring is really hard to do when you have a 5lb camera hanging off your shoulder!)
Tasks completed we returned to the dining room to imbibe champagne. Some of us were celebrating the fact that we did not burn the kitchen down or burn the food, or burn ourselves. There were no cuts and no breaks, truly something to drink to!
The champagne was a perfect pairing for our crispy wontons with apple and brie and shrimp cakes with salsa crudo. We moved to a frisee salad with goat cheese and then on to the stuffed chicken with silky buttermilk mash potatoes.
I was actually enjoying myself so much (and the champagne too!) that I didn’t take great photos, so if you want to consider the fuzziness of this photo’s “artistic,” I won’t disagree!
We finished the meal with a New York cheesecake drizzled with a cherry merlot sauce, the perfect end to a not-too-shabby meal, considering we made it!
It was also another exceptional experience from Traflagar’s Northern California guided vacation one that I feel immensely lucky to have participated in. All in all, I had the pleasure of meeting their exceptional CEO as well as members of their rock star team including Travel Director of the Year, J.P. Smith. I met some really cool journalists and fellow travel bloggers and discovered countless adventures in my own backyard.
Most of all, I am now a big believer in the Trafalgar experience and will definitely be considering them for a future trip with Mr. Misadventures.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Trafalgar for a tour in San Francisco and Napa. I was not required to write this post, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.