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North County Life April 2013


AUDREY JOHNS Health blogger at Lose Weight by Eating


ianchi’s wines have recently become popular in Hollywood. Chosen by Chef Gordon Ramsay, their 2009 Petite Sirah and 2010 Chardonnay were paired with his lavish menu for Sir Elton John’s 2013 Oscar party. Stars caught sipping Bianchi’s wines have included Heidi Klum, Sean Penn, Steven Tyler, Bono, Jenna Elfman, Christina Hendricks, Katy Perry, Naomi Campbell, Dave Grohl, Taye Diggs, Miley Cyrus and Brittany Spears. “It was at every table and every bar — not too bad for a small family-owned winery in Paso Robles,” Beau Bianchi said. “I guess the word is getting out.” The Bianchi family has been in the wine industry since 1974. Their first vineyard — located in the California Central Valley — utilized the most advanced farming and production technologies and soon became an industry leader. In the pursuit of crafting the perfect wine, Glen Bianchi purchased 40 acres in Paso Robles in January 2000 and has been creating amazing wine ever since. Proud of his lifelong work, Glen Bianchi — Beau’s father — said, “We support the belief that it is vital to grow only those varieties of grapes which are best suited to the particular aspect of the land: such as soil, exposure and climate. That is why the Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot are planted in the winery's sloping vineyards. These varietals make up our sought-after Heritage selection.” Glen believes this so strongly that their signature selection wines are made from grapes purchased from premium growers in and around Paso Robles and the Central Coast. The winery has combinined the best of both worlds — or shall we say — grapes. Always in search of a beautiful picnic spot, I came across Bianchi Winery recently and immediately fell in love. As you

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BIANCHI & CUPCAKES Your favorite cocktail, now available in delicious cupcake form


arrive at the gates, you’re whisked away to a new world. A driveway lined with purple-topped trees greets you as you arrive — behind them are rows of vines ready to produce next year’s crop. Pulling open the nearly twostory tasting room doors, you enter a building that takes full advantage of their surroundings and view. A wall of glass doors opens to the lake and a fantastic picnic area. Inside the tasting room, a fireplace lounge, stone walls and a wooden ceiling with steel beams add a virtual feast for the eyes. I took my family to Bianchi on a sunny Sunday afternoon and we bought a bottle of their California Champagne. We sat by the lake, and as I sat there — with a glass of their bubbles in my hand and a slice of birthday cake next to me — I was instantly inspired to combine the two together. Bianchi’s California Champagne is a lively and fruity style bubbly Brut that adds complexity to these miniature cakes. I encourage you to use only a bottle of sparkling wine that you would enjoy drinking, as the flavor of champagne is strong and you want to choose something really delicious. Bianchi’s California Champagne is incredibly delicious and reasonably priced at $16 a bottle. Be warned: You will use almost an entire bottle for the cupcakes, so I recommend purchasing two when you visit Bianchi. This way, you have one to cook with and one to drink with dessert. What could be better?

Photo by Audrey Johns

SWEET IDEA — Try Audrey Johns’ edible take on a mimosa or Chambord and champagne. These cupcakes are full of bubbles and topped with orange and raspberry butter cream frosting.

Courtesy photo

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE — Enjoy spring from the patio at Bianchi in Paso Robles. Take a picnic and enjoy a bottle of their wine for a picture-perfect afternoon. For more great picnic-style recipes, visit www.loseweightbyeating.com.

Champagne cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting WHAT YOU NEED: 2 cups flour 3/4 cup sugar ¼ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 2 cups California champagne ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce ¼ milk

FROSTING: 5 strawberries quartered ¼ cup orange juice 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil GET COOKING: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 24 muffin tins, unwrap your butter, put it on a plate and use the wrapper to butter your tins. If you want to use muffin liners use baking

■ Photo by Audrey Johns

CELEBRATE — For a tasy, bubbly treat, use Bianchi Signature Selection Champagne to create the delightful cupcakes, pictured above.

spray on them. Otherwise, the cake will stick.

blespoon of warm water at a time until proper consistency.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Slowly add champagne so it does not bubbly over, then add apple sauce and mix together. Do not use a mixer, use a spatula or spoon otherwise it will bubble over. Once it’s mostly combined add the milk and mix until there are no lumps.

■ Take half of the cupcakes out of the fridge and with a frosting piper or a spoon cover with raspberry topping. After they sit for a couple minutes you can top with fresh raspberries and move back to the fridge for 30 minutes to help the frosting set.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes until they are firm to the touch. Let cool in the tins as they will continue to cook in them. Once cooled place in fridge for 20 minutes while you make the frosting.

■ Make the orange frosting the same way you did the raspberry, substituting the liquor for warm water. Cover cupcakes, let sit for a minute top with orange slices and place back in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

■ Use the whip attachment on mixer

■ Sip on the glass of champagne left

and whip ¼ cup, 2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam and liquor until it just starts to ball up on the attachment. If needed add 1 ta-

in the bottle while the cupcakes set up, later serve with Bianchi’s California Champagne.

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North County Life - April 2013  

North County Lifestyle is dedicated to informing, connecting and enlivening our readers with news and features fresh from the source.

North County Life - April 2013  

North County Lifestyle is dedicated to informing, connecting and enlivening our readers with news and features fresh from the source.