Archive for category Fun with Food and Wine

The Avila Tasting Room is Closed – Here’s How to Get Awesome Wine From Us!

Morovino’s Avila tasting room is currently closed. But we still have amazing wine available!

Call us at (805) 710-8133 or email with your orders. Or join us at our pop up wine tasting events:

Sunday, August 11, 1 – 5 pm
Avila Beach Community Center
191 San Miguel – above the post office

Club Vino Members – watch your email.
We will have one last opt-in wine club shipment
this fall.  It won’t be automatic – you’ll have to sign up for it.
And there will be a Swan Song party, too!

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The Purple Pirate

Tesoro VI(aaarrggghhhh, Matey)

Even though the weather is warming up, I still love me some Tesoro chocolate, raspberry dessert wine.  But it can be a little challenging to sip on it straight – when it’s 100 degrees with 89% humidity outside.  Enter the Purple Pirate!  This is not really a recipe – more like assembly instructions!

Start with a large wine goblet.
Add 2 T (or more if you like) of Tesoro.
Fill the wine goblet 2/3 of the way full with cream soda.  If you like foamy beverages, pour the cream soda directly on top of the ice cream for a large glass of purple chocolate raspberry ice cream foam.  If you prefer your “floats” with more liquid, pour against the side of the glass to keep foam to a minimum.

How simple is that.  Try it, it’s my favorite thing – flashy and delicious!

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Red, White and Blue Berry Sangria

red white blue sangriaSo so easy and absolutely delicious!

2 bottles 2016 Pinot Grigio
1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
1 pint blueberries
2T Agave syrup

Put the blueberries in the bottom of a pitcher and muddle them (crush them up a bit with a long spoon).  Add the strawberries and the agave syrup.  Dump the bottles of Pinot Grigio on top and give a stir to dissolve the agave.

Refrigerate at least two hours – but best overnight.  Serve the sangria in nice wine glasses, and add a few of the boozy strawberries!

Happy Fourth of July.

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Farmer’s Market Fresh Meal

pea pasta_sm

Lobster Ravioli, fresh peas and sugar snap pea pods make a fast healthy dinner.

We are so excited that the Avila Beach Farmer’s Market is back!  It makes dinner so much easier.  And ooooh, the spring goodness we can find there.  We were pulling a long day at the tasting room and Mr. Vino suggested hitting the Farmer’s Market for dinner.  I think that he was thinking to pick up some fish tacos.  Me, I hit the produce guys and the fresh pasta guy for this riff on a recipe from Cooking Light.  And oh, my – it was amazing with our new 2016 Beach Blonde Pinot Grigio!!

Pea and Snap Pea Pasta
6 oz fresh sugar snap peas (get 8 ounces cuz you are going to eat some of them while prepping)
1 C fresh shelled peas
3 T really nice olive oil
Juice and grated lemon peel from one fresh lemon
2 oz shaved Asiago or Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
Radish Microgreens (yep, back in the day we called them “sprouts”)
Lobster ravioli (or other delicate pasta like Pappardelle.  It’s vegetarian with plain pasta!!)

This is so dang easy it’s almost embarrassing and the whole thing comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Once boiling, add snap peas and cook until they turn really bright green (1 minute or so – don’t overcook).  Remove the snap peas with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl of cold water to shock them.  The drain on paper towels.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions.  Add the fresh peas during the last 30 seconds.

While pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.  When pasta is done, drain pasta and pea mixture.  Add pasta, peas and snap peas to bowl and toss lightly to combine.

Plate pasta and top with shaved cheese and microgreens.  Don’t have Asiago or Parm?  This also is really nice with Feta.

Fresh, healthy, delicious.



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Glazed Salmon in Miso-Stout Broth

Some of you know that my go-to food style is Asian influenced.  I love Asian-style cuisine because it’s quick, easy, fresh and pretty healthy.  My love of Asian cooking started when I used to get to pick out a restaurant for my birthday dinner – you can read the blog post about that here.  And Miso soup is my absolute favorite cold weather comfort food.  So I stopped by our local grocery and saw a Miso I wasn’t familiar with (most stores carry Red, Yellow and/or White Miso).  The Miso was called Mugi and it is made with aged, fermented barley in addition to soybeans.  Well you know Mrs. Vino loves her a new food toy – so I had to take it home and check it out.

So I made my basic Miso Soup recipe to check it out.  Mugi is much milder and less salty than Red/White/Yellow Miso.  It’s got a really interesting barley-y, malty aroma and slightly sweet flavor.  It’s really delicious and I recommend it for a basic miso soup.  But it reminded me very much of Guiness Stout (which I love with Salmon) and got the wheels turning for a new recipe.

So here it is:  Glazed Salmon in Miso-Stout broth.  Mr. Vino loves it.  I love it.  AND, it’s a great way to use up any Stout beer left over from St. Patrick’s Day!!

Glazed Salmon in Miso-Stout Broth
Serve with Morovino Petite Sirah

4 C. chicken brothsalmon_miso stout
1 Shitake mushroom, remove stem, slice cap thinly on diagonal
1” of ginger, sliced into 4 or 5 coins
3 cloves of garlic, whole, but peeled
pinch of red pepper flake (to taste)
¼ c. rice wine vinegar
¾ c. dark beer, like Stout
6 ounces of soba noodles
2T Mugi Miso (aged, fermented barley and soy beans)
1 Carrot, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 rib of celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
¼ c. shelled edamame
¼ c. Garlic Hoisin Sauce
1 2-lb Salmon or Steelhead filet, skin removed
2 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

In a large saucepan over medium low heat, add the chicken broth, shitake mushroom stem, ginger, garlic, red pepper flake, rice wine vinegar and stout. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon. Spread the garlic hoisin sauce atop the salmon. Fill a second pot with water and bring to a boil.

Using a slotted spoon, take all the funky, chunky bits out of the broth (garlic, ginger, mushroom). Reduce heat to low. Add in the miso, carrot, mushroom, celery and edamame and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes. While the broth is simmering, add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. AND put the salmon in the oven to roast.

When soba is ready, drain well and put a little nest of noodles in the bottom of a pretty bowl. Ladle the broth over the noodles. Cut the salmon into 4 pieces and place a piece atop each nest of noodles. Garnish with sliced scallions. Serve with a green salad or quick-pickled cucumbers.

If you eliminate the Stout and use Yellow or White Miso, this is my standard Miso Soup recipe.  You can add tofu and/or whatever fresh veggies you have in the fridge and it’s really delicious.


Making your own whole grain mustard is easy!

OH YEAH, if you still have Stout beer left over, use it to make your own whole grain mustard – see the recipe/blog post for it here.

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Putting Forks Over Knives

This January, Vino Man and I decided to move to a more plant based diet.  Better for us.  Better for the environment.  Tasty-licious.  This move was made easier when we signed up for the amazing Talley Farms Fresh Harvest Program and started picking up a box of amazing, seasonal, locally-sourced produce every week. (Info on Talley Farms Fresh Harvest, here.)  That, too was good for our bodies.  And good for our pocket book – the Jr. share is less than $20/week (I was already spending that much on veggies at the grocer).

In honor of our Tenth Wineversary, we decided that our monthly newsletters would feature some of our great wines in the past.  So we dipped into the cellar and pulled out a Double Gold Medal Award Winning 2009 Dolcetto.  We hadn’t sampled it in a while, and thought it would be a great opportunity to see how it was aging.

But in our new more veggie-based world, we wanted to try the Dolcetto with a Vegetarian duck-tofumeal.  Big wines and plant based meals pose some challenges, but I’m always up for a food challenge.  Having recently been introduced to an incredibly amazing product called Kimbo Veggie Smoked Duck (Tofu), I thought it would be a great experiment.

Full disclosure.  I usually hate tofu.  It’s my “Bête Noire”.  In my 40 years of cooking (and I grew up cooking Asian-style dishes) I have never been able to successfully execute tofu.  Until now.

The recipe below is VERY quick and easy.  Came together in about 15 minutes (excluding preparation of the rice).  The Veggie Smoked Duck is available at larger Asian-style markets.  My friend Judy brings it up from SoCal for me by the box – cuz the Vino man loves this too.  Enjoy!

smoked-duck-tofu-stir-fryOh yeah, the Dolcetto?  Well Damn.  That Dolcetto is good stuff.  The 2009 is prime right now – even smoother than when you put it in your cellar.  It was great with this dish and will still absolutely hold up to lamb, steak and meatier dishes too.  We recommend that this wine be consumed this year – before the fruit begins to fade out.


1/2 large head Napa Cabbage, shredded (or thinly sliced)
1 bunch broccoli – cut off florets, then peel and slice the stalk (it’s the best part)
1/2 large onion – peeled and sliced thinly from root to tip
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 C. frozen Edamame (shelled), defrosted
1 1″ piece of ginger, grated
1/2 C. Garlic Hoisin Sauce (We like Soy Vay)
1/4 C. Sake or dry white wine
1/2 package of Kimbo Veggie Smoked Duck, sliced, then quartered
2 T Canola oil, divided use
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
Brown Jasmine Rice

Prepare your rice via your preferred method.  I like my rice cooker – perfect rice every time.  When there’s about 10-15 minutes left on your rice, start your stir fry.  Preheat your oven to 250 degress.  In a large heavy bottomed skillet or wok, heat 1 T of Canola oil over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Add the onions and saute until they are limp and lightly brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir constantly, as you are using pretty high temperatures.  You need to keep the food moving or it will scorch. Add broccoli florets and stems and saute another 3 minutes. Then add cabbage and Edamame and saute 2 minutes more.  Add the garlic and half the Hoisin and all the Sake/wine.  Stir for about 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.  Put the veggies in your serving dish and place in the oven to keep warm for a few minutes.  Put the second tablespoon of oil in the saute pan and heat till shimmering.  Lower heat to medium.  Add the smoked duck and the second half of the Hoisin sauce and heat until just warmed through – 2-3 minutes.  Pull out the veggies, top them with the smoked duck, then sprinkle with the green onions.  Serve atop the rice with the Morovino Dolcetto vintage of your choice.  Amazing.

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Introducing Morovino Small Batch” Wines!

We are so excited to have received TTB approval on our new “small batch” label!  Several of


Small batch wines are hand crafted in quantities of 50-75 cases.

you have asked why a “small batch” label when we are already a very small producer (2,000ish cases/year)?

We are a small producer tasting and selling out of a destination beach town.  Because our town is so exceptionally beautiful, we are lucky enough to get repeat visitors – people who come to see us every six months, or even once per year.  We call these customers the Morovino “irregulars”.  We’ve sensed some frustration with our irregulars that they visit and taste a wine, but when they come back 6 months or a year later, they can’t get the same great wine they loved on their last visit.

Our core Italian varietals – Dolcetto, Barbera and Sangiovese – are typically produced in 200 – 300 case lots.  While that’s small to most producers, we typically expect to sell out of a 300 case lot in a bit more than a year. The “small batch” label is to help identify wines that were produced in lots of 50 – 75 cases.  These are wines that will move in and out of the tasting room quickly (probably a 3-4 month lifespan). The cool new label will help our customers know that if they LOVE a small batch wine, they might want to consider getting an extra bottle – it probably won’t be around the next time they visit.

Plus, Mrs. Vino is just loving the burgundy background.  Small Batch wines should be in the tasting room by the end of February.  We hope you come and check them out!!

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Strawberries Dolce

A great way to celebrate the start of strawberry season!

strawberry2 pints fresh strawberries
½ C. plus 4 T. Cosa Dolce
2 large seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
Angel food cake
Whipped cream and/or chocolate sauce

Sometimes the simple things are the best! This dessert is really easy and very fancy looking. It’s a great way to use strawberries that may be a little past their prime. Hull and quarter strawberries and place in a large non-reactive bowl. Peel oranges and section them to remove membrane. Do the sectioning over the strawberry bowl to catch the orange juice. Add orange sections to berries. If you have never sectioned an orange before, it’s a great skill to have. has a great video tutorial. You can find it on You Tube. Just go to and type in “section an orange.”

Add ½ cup of Cosa Dolce. Stir gently, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cube 3 1-inch slices of Angel Food cake. In the bottom of a martini glass, put 5 cubes of Angel Food cake. Top with ½ c. to ¾ c. of the berry and orange mixture. Be sure to include some of the juice. Drizzle the top of each dessert with 1T of Cosa Dolce.

THEN, go crazy! Drizzle the top of the strawberries with chocolate sauce or top with a big dollop of whipped cream. What the heck, do both! Prepare for the rave reviews. Serves 4.

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Tesoro Sundae

Gotta love a super easy, flashy party dessert.

Gotta love a super easy, flashy party dessert.

While Mrs. Vino loves to cook, she is not a baker!  You see baking has rules, my dears, and I quite simply don’t like that.  So it’s important to have a flashy, go-to party dessert that doesn’t necessarily involve baking!  And here you go.

Tesoro “Sundae”

4 Martini Glasses
4 Brownie Bites (from Costco – cuz they fit in a martini glass perfectly and they are a bit stale so they absorb all the Tesoro-y, ice cream-y goodness)
4 Quenelles (small scoops) Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
8 T. Tesoro

Start with a martini glass – because everything is prettier in a martini glass. Put a brownie bite (I get mine from Costco) in the bottom of each martini glass. Put a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream on top of the brownie bite. Drizzle 2T of Tesoro (more, less, whatever you want) over the ice cream. The dessert wine will melt over the top of the ice cream, down through the brownie bite and end up pooled in the bottom of the martini glass like a crumbly, creamy shot. Top it with whipped cream, if you dare.

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Maple Roasted Chicken Thighs

MAPLE ROASTED CHICKENSometimes it’s hard for people to envision pairing a sweet wine with a savory dish!  But this beautiful recipe has it ALL goin’ on – Sweet, tart, salty, spicy, and umami – it tickles all your taste buds.  And the spicy black pepper is the perfect foil for the lightly sweet riesling.  You are going to love it!

Serve with Cosa Dolce Riesling

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. ground black pepper
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 c. real maple syrup (Use the closest thing to real maple syrup you can find – NOT Aunt Jemima Lite)
zest of 1 lemon

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof baking dish, combine the sweet potatoes and the olive oil. Toss well to coat. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt and black pepper. sprinkle half of this mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss or stir to coat. Arrange the sweet potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of the baking dish.

Rub the remaining sugar mixture over the chicken thighs with your hands (sure it’s a little messy – but so much fun). Arrange the chicken in a single layer over the sweet potatoes. (I don’t need to tell you to wash your hands thoroughly at this point, do I?) Drizzle the maple syrup over the thighs. Cover the baking dish with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for another 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thighs. Serve the chicken on top of the sweet potatoes – just before serving, sprinkle the lemon zest over the chicken. It’s great served with biscuits to sop up all the yummy maple juices.


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