Last Wednesday, the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association was fortunate to have a hosted Regional Membership Luncheon at Thornton Winery in the Champagne Caves with Cafe Champagne’s award winning Executive Chef, Steve Pickell. Winemaker Don Reha paired the wines and President Steve Thornton welcomed us all with delicious champagne.

Our menu consisted of Roasted Tomato, Artichoke Prosciutto Tartine served on Grilled Sourdough with Herbed Ricotta Cheese and Baby Arugula Salad. It was paired with Thornton 2006 Sangiovese & 2006 Sauvignon Blanc.

Chef Steve went on to present his Ginger and Peach Tartlet with Moscato Sabayon & Blackberries. It was paired with a 2008 Moscato. Utterly delicious.

Ginger & Peach Tart (Serves 6)
1 package puff pastry tart shells 4-5″ diameter
3 medium firm fresh peaches
1 Tbl. minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup Thornton brut champagne

Step 1: Place peaches into boiling water for 1 minute (to loosen skin). Transfer peaches to a bowl of ice water, once cooled, peel peaches, then cut in half, remove pit and dice into 1/2″ cubes.

Step 2: Combine minced ginger, sugar and wine in a large pan. Cook ingredients until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add diced peaches and continue to cook 3-5 minutes more. Remove from pan and let cool in refrigerator.

Step 3: Cook tart shells according to instructions on package and let cool. DO NOT REFRIGERATE.”

Spoon peach mixture into cooled puff shells and serve with warm or chilled sabayon.

Moscato Sabayon
3 egg yolks
1/2-2/3 cup Thornton Moscato Wine
1/2 cup sugar


Step 1: Over a double boiler combine the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk the yolks and sugar together until smooth and pale.

Step 2: Add the moscato wine, continue to whisk the mixture until it slowly become whiter and frothier, it will double in volume. Continue to whisk another 5 minutes to finish the sauce, it should be thick, white and foamy.

Serve over Ginger Peach Tarts.

Here is the link to our entree, Roasted Tomato, Artichoke Prosciutto Tartine.

A special thanks goes to Linda Kissam for arranging this wonderful experience and our Regional Membership Chairman, Alexa Hokanson representing Temecula Olive Oil Company to provide a bottle of seasoned olive oil to accompany the bottle of wine Thornton Winery had for us.

Thornton Winery

32575 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591
(951) 699-0099

The setting at Thornton Winery is beautiful and Cafe Champage is an exceptiona experience. Chef Steve has been instrumental in developing a contemporary fusion cuisine which combines a variety of fresh, seasonal new dishes.


Maralyn D. Hill, President
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
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