Score Pigs‘n’ Pinot as a Sonoma Neighbor

The preview meal

First, the bad news. Most of Pigs ‘n’ Pinot is already sold out, with tickets snatched up for all the big events during the annual Healdsburg gala weekend running March 22-23.

Second, the good news. You can still enjoy prize pork and Pinot Noir with the “Sonoma Neighbor Menu” served at Dry Creek Kitchen Mon-Thurs. nights through Mar. 31. Also, through April 14, DCK will offer a la carte menu specials featuring pork and Pinot, plus, starting March 25, an actual dish from the popular Pigs & Pinot Gala Dinner paired with the Pinot Cup Winner.

Chefs Vallette and Palmer show a guest how to cook pork

Third, more good news, at least for your wallets. Tickets to Taste of Pigs & Pinot were $175, and prices for the other events were equally, well, pricey. Yet the three course Neighbor meals feature the celebrity chef inspired pork dishes for $36, or $51 paired with a coveted Pinot Noir.

DCK chef Dustin Valette changes his menu nightly, but here’s a look at what he cooked up with DCK chef-owner Charlie Palmer at a recent preview tasting:

  • Sonoma County Greens with Point Reyes bleu cheese, smoked candied pecans, Medjool dates and Vallette’s 14-month house cured prosciutto
  • Bacon poached swordfish with bacon chips, bacon béarnaise and black trumpets
  • Local Duroc pork porchetta with baby turnip puree, crispy turnips, ham hock escarole and Pinot Noir jus

Paired alongside were Pinots from Rochioli (Russian River 2010), Aurelien Verdet (Burgundy 2009), Kanzler (Sonoma Coast 2010), and Evening Land (Oregon, 2009).

Pork in salad, a brilliant idea

In this case, guests were asked to pair each Pinot with each dish, back and forth among their plates, to see how their personal preferences played out. Sommelier Drew Munro had his suggestions for what worked best in a classic sense, but the Pigs ‘n’ Pinot weekend is all about exploring personal tastes, he reminded us.

And with the Neighbor Menu and a la carte offerings, that means more than a month of delicious discovery for us all.

Details: Sonoma Neighbor Menu, March 1–31, Monday-Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. A Taste of Pigs & Pinot – A la Carte Menu Specials, February 25–April 14, Sunday-Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Dry Creek Kitchen, 317 Healdsburg Ave. (in Hotel Healdsburg), Healdsburg; (707) 431-0330 or

Tip: Don’t worry about driving after enjoying all that Pinot. Hire a private Town Car or limo for door-to-door convenience and safety.

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