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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Holiday feast with Carlos’ Food & Wine and Domaine de la Riviere

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Holiday traditions are always special. It is an opportunity to slow down among the bustle and hustle and dedicate time to family and friends. A time to count your blessings and be thankful.

This year has been so very special to me because my passion project, Carlos’ Food & Wine, has now become a passion venture. There are too many people to thank for this dream to become a reality but I will honor them all by doing what I love…cooking, telling stories and sharing wines from all over the world.

This posting means a lot because I was recently able to create and cook with family. I would like to thank my mother Aida for the inspiration, my aunt Manani for the motivation, my cousin Carolina (for the delectable cream spinach recipe) and cousin Nico for his artistic contributions.

To make this new holiday feast menu particularly memorable and unique, I am so excited to introduce a new Carlos’ Food & Wine partner, Domaine de la Riviere.

Domaine de la Riviere is a gem of a vineyard nestled in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley in California.

(Photo: courtesy of Domaine de la Riviere)

In 2011, Geoff and Marla Bedrosian, whom I am honored to now call my friends, purchased a small Pinot Noir vineyard that was in search of an owner to care for its needs, nurture its vines, and take an emotional interest in the fruit it produced.

(Photo: courtesy of Domaine de la Riviere)

The Bedrosian’s believed they were the lucky ones to revive this precious land, Vineyard eleven. After growing and selling their grapes for several years, a passion for creating their own wines developed.

Today Vineyard eleven is planted with two distinct growing blocks:

Red Barn Block – Clones; UV Vosne-Romonée, Pommard and Swan; and,

Heritage Block - Clones; Swan and Mount Eden.

(Photo: courtesy of Domaine de la Riviere)

Domaine de la Riviere is focused on growing and sourcing ultra-premium grapes from the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley, as the Besrosian’s believe wine produced from this region has unique age worthy flavors and characteristics that all will enjoy.

The Bedrosian family goal is to craft artisanal, limited production wines that will create many memorable experiences for you.

(Photo: courtesy of Domaine de la Riviere)

Thank you Marla, Geoff and the Domaine de la Riviere team for indeed creating a delightful and most memorable experience.

Let‘s get cooking!


Appetizer: Pumpkin-Ricotta Crostini with marinated arugula & pistachios.

Entree: Roasted pork tenderloin stuffed with walnuts, sage and fig jam. Served with fig-red wine reduction sauce.

Side dishes: Saffron-leek Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and Carolina’s creamed spinach au gratin.

Dessert: Apple-Pear holiday spiced cake.

Wine pairings:

2018 Domaine de La Riviere - Next Door Neighbor - Chardonnay

(Russian River Valley, California)

*For crostini and cake.

2018 Domaine de la Riviere - Middle Reach Vineyards - Pinot Noir

(Russian River Valley, California)

*For pork tenderloin and side dishes.

Serves 8



  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/2” rounds

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 cups baby arugula

  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of black pepper

  • Red Chili Flakes, for serving (optional)

Pork Tenderloin:

  • 2 (1 1/2 pounds each) pork tenderloins, cut lengthwise (butterflied) and pounded to stretch out.

  • 1/4 cup extra Virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup of roasted walnuts, crushed to a course almost ground consistency

  • 1/3 cup of fresh sage, finely chopped

  • zest of one lemon

  • 3 garlic clove, finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper

  • 4 tablespoons of fig jam

Fig-wine sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra Virgin olive oil

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves

  • 1/2 cup good quality red wine

  • 1 cup beef stock

  • 1 tablespoon fig jam

  • 4-6 fresh figs, quartered

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • 8-10 medium to large sized Yukon gold potatoes, skinned

  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced (white part only)

  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter

  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon of saffron threads diluted in 4 tablespoons of water

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper

Creamed spinach:

  • 2 packages (approx 15 ounces each) frozen spinach, defrosted and drained

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 4 shallots, finely minced

  • 4 tablespoons of butter

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Panko breadcrumbs (about 1/3 cup)

  • 1/4 grated grano padana


  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped in small cubes

  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and chopped in small cubes

  • Zest and juice of the one lemon

  • 4 tablespoons of dark aged rum

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon of allspice

  • 1 ½ cups of ricotta

  • 2/3 cup of olive oil

  • 1 ½ cups of sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup of almond meal/flour

  • 1 tbl baking powder

  • 1/3 tsp soda

  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting cake



  • Heat oven to 425˚F. Place the pieces of sliced baguette on a sheet pan and brush with olive oil. Bake until lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes.

  • While the bread is baking, combine the ricotta with the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whip until mostly smooth.

  • Place the arugula and pistachios in a bowl. In a small jar, combine ingredients for dressing and shake until combined. Pour over the arugula and toss until the leaves are coated.

  • Assemble the crostini by spreading the ricotta mixture on each piece of crostini. Top each with a bit of salad and finish with a sprinkle of chili flakes (optional).

Pork tenderloin:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix garlic, lemon zest, sage, walnuts, salt, pepper and olive oil.

  • Spread walnut mixture evenly on top of each stretched out pork tenderloin.

  • Dot tenderloins with small quantities of fig jam.

  • Roll up tenderloin as tightly as possible (lengthwise) and secure with either toothpicks or twine string (highly recommended).

  • Place in oven and cook until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Approximately 30-40 minutes. (Also recommend turning tenderloin over hallways through cooking).

  • Once cooked, place tenderloins on cutting boards and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting in 1 inch-thick slices.

Fig-wine sauce:

  • Heat a medium frying pan over medium-low heat and add oil. Add the shallot and thyme leaves and sauté until the shallot begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Pour in the wine. Simmer the mixture until it is reduced by half, about 5 to 6 minutes.

  • Add the stock and fresh fig pieces to the pan and continue to simmer until the mixture reduces by about two-thirds or until there are bubbles across the entire surface of the pan.

  • Add the fig jam, whisk well to combine and simmer 30 seconds more.

  • Test the consistency of the sauce by dipping the back of a spoon in the sauce and running one finger through the middle of the spoon to form a channel. If the sauce doesn’t ooze back across the area you swiped, then it is at the nappé stage and is ready. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Stir the butter into the pan until it melts.


  • Boil potatoes until soft. In the meantime, in a small frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of salted butter. Heat pan on medium heat. Cook leeks for about 2-3 minutes, careful not to overcook or burn. Transfer cooked leeks from pan to large mixing bowl. Add potatoes to bowl. 

  •  Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until there aren’t any solid chunks seen, adding small pieces of unsalted butter while mixing.

  • Add saffron dilution and mix well.

  • Add heavy cream and mix well.

  • Add black pepper and more salt to taste.

  • Transfer potatoes to oven proof shallow dish and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Creamed spinach:

  • On a medium pan melt butter in large sauté pan.

  • Add shallots and cook about 2-4 mins on med-high heat.

  • Add garlic, cook until fragrant.

  • Add cream and cream cheese, stir until slightly reduced.

  • Add spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

  • Toss to completely mix.

  • Add grana padano reserving some for topping. Mix thoroughly.

  • Pour onto casserole dish top with panko and remaining cheese.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden.


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.

  • In a medium bowl, place chopped apples, pears and add zest and juice of one lemon and rum, gently mix so that all the apples and pears are coated with the zest and liquids.

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the ricotta, olive oil, and sugar until completely combined.

  • Next, add in one egg at a time until they are completely mixed in.

  • In a separate large bowl whisk together the flour, almond meal baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice until combined. Whisk well to ensure and clumps are removed.

  • Transfer the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and whisk together just until everything is combined. Add apple-pear mix and mix well.

  • Pour the batter into a 9" spring form pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until browned on top and firm in the center.

  • Place the cake onto a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature (could take up to two hours) before dusting with confectiobee’s sugar and serving.

Serve it up!

These dishes truly make for a memorable holiday feast, so bring out the nice serving platters and dishes.

Crostini: Serve single layers of crostini on a large platter or tray.

Pork tenderloin: Arrange sliced pieces on a large platter and garnish with pieces of figs from the fig-wine sauce.

Fig-wine sauce: Transfer sauce to a sauce serving dish with small ladle.

Potatoes & creamed spinach: Serve directly from baking dishes/casseroles.

Cake: Place cake on a large and round decorative plate. Generously dust the top and sides of cake with confectiobee’s sugar.

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

Chardonnay & Pumpkin-Ricotta Crostini

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Pumpkin-Ricotta Crostini

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Pumpkin-Ricotta Crostini

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Roasted-stuffed pork tenderloin

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Roasted-stuffed pork tenderloin

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Roasted-stuffed pork tenderloin

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Fig-red wine reduction sauce

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Saffron-leek mashed potatoes

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Saffron-leek mashed potatoes

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Carolina’s creamed spinach au gratin

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Carolina’s creamed spinach au gratin

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Apple-Pear holiday spiced cake

(Photo: Nico Drake)

Apple-Pear holiday spiced cake

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wines…

2018 Domaine de La Riviere - Next Door Neighbor - Chardonnay

(Russian River Valley, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: This wine exhibits aromas of white blossom, white pear, honey dew, and a hint of tropical pineapple that supports flavors of lemon zest, yellow apple, stone fruits, wet marble, and butter scotch.

Barrel aging has softened the youthful acidity, adding balance and layers of minerality.


100% Chardonnay



Barrels: French oak

Barrel Aging: 11 months

Cellaring Time: 7-10 years

Food pairing: Great with mild, buttery and creamy dishes. Delicate poultry and seafood plates. Light salads with toasted nuts. Sweet vegetables such as butternut squash, sweet potatoe, pumpkin and corn.


2018 Domaine de la Riviere - Middle Reach Vineyards - Pinot Noir

(Russian River Valley, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: The aromatics display boysenberry, candied cherry and hints of licorice and sage.

The palate is driven by black cherry, red plum red current and pomegranate accompanied by touches of allspice, cardamom and white pepper. Intense acidity supports a long velvety finish.


100% Pinot Noir



Barrels: French oak

Barrel Aging: 11 months

Cellaring Time: 7-15 years

Food pairing: Excellent with roast herbed pork, grilled steaks, mushroom based sauces, dishes with nuts and fruits and mild cheeses.

For more information, visit:

2018 Domaine de La Riviere - Next Door Neighbor - Chardonnay

(Russian River Valley, California)

2018 Domaine de la Riviere - Middle Reach Vineyards - Pinot Noir

(Russian River Valley, California)


Special thanks to Marla Bedrosian & Domaine de la Riviere!

(Camera: Nico Drake)


Decorative wine bottle collar drip rings by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)


Hand-painted table provided by:

Giardini Di Marzo USA


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! 🎄

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

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