Entertaining, Playboy-Mansion Style

There weren’t any bunnies but plenty of Hugh Hefner style last night when Playboy Mansion executive chef William Bloxsom-Carter offered tips on how to entertain to a roomful of eager listeners at the Wine & Spirits Marketplace. The affable Bloxsom-Carter presented with all the elegance and charm befitting an employee of Mr. Hefner and the Mansion. Adhering to strict employee confidentiality rules, the chef did not spill any juicy Playboy secrets, much to the chagrin of us in the audience. But he did share some insight on how to host a fantastic party that all guests would enjoy.

Some of Chef Bloxsom-Carter’s suggestions:
Wine – He said learn about wine by tasting. At the Playboy Mansion, he tries to have something for everyone. At your own party, think about a 50-50 consumption rate on red and white wines. “At the end of the day, it’s all about your guests having a great experience,” he said.

The Secret to Entertaining at the Playboy Mansion – it’s all about planning, planning, planning. Even at your own party, be it small or large. Make sure you have enough ice, watch your service stations if it is a large party (keep the line flowing), anticipate your guests’ needs.

Themes – use fun themes. Chef Bloxsom-Carter shared a few menus from past Mansion parties including Halloween-, Super Bowl- and Fourth of July-themed foods. For Fourth of July the menu included hot dogs and popcorn – it doesn’t have to be complicated.

A few other good thoughts: understand your client or guest – think of what they’d like; a $10 bottle of wine can be fabulous; don’t get stuck in the kitchen.

One last tidbit – s’mores. He said s’mores have been the hottest trend in desserts for the last few months. Would you like s’more? Why, yes, I would!

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(Wine) Knowledge is Power!

I know you are coming to the Fair. You know you are coming to the Fair. So, how about we take a class? The work in this classroom is work we will enjoy – trust me! Meet me at the Wine & Spirits Marketplace for one (or more!) of the many great wine education classes and seminars available.

Conducted by wine makers, educators, sommeliers and wine writers, the classes range from wine and food pairings to classes on different wine varietals to cooking demonstrations by Chef Henry Gonzalez of Spaggi’s Restaurant. Master Sommelier Michael Jordan will host two Internet radio shows on Sept. 9 & 16 from the marketplace.

Each class features a minimum of six wines and three cheeses. Each participant will receive a tasting ticket for a taste of a gold medal winner from the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, available at the International Tasting Bar. The cost per class is $17. See a complete list of classes here.

At the Wine & Spirits Marketplace, taste more than 300 medal-winning wines, spirits, beers and extra virgin olive oils. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, get a bite to eat, relax in air-conditioned splendor or have a seat in the beautifully decorated patio.

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Don’t Whine, Wine….

wineWe have a ton of great classes at the Wine & Spirits Marketplace, so be sure to check out the class schedule before you head to the Fair (or check the Fun Guide if you are here). Today we have vodka tasting all day! Now that will make the carnival rides spin a little faster for you!

Today at 5 p.m. it’s Wine, Cheese and Chocolate; tomorrow don’t miss Wines of Spain at 7 p.m.; and Wednesday it’s Picnic & Pink with Stacie Hunt – lots of fun! Check out the entire schedule here.

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Become a Wine Expert, Take a Class

The schedule of the Wine & Spirit Marketplace’s wine education classes is lacountyfairwinemarketplacewinnerlineupnow up on our Web page for you to peruse and register for a seat. The Fair’s wine education program, run in conjunction with the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, is extremely popular – and worth the effort to get to one. Some of the top names in the wine, spirits and olive oil industries lead the classes. And besides learning a lot, you’ll have a fun time.

To whet your appetite we have: Wines of Santa Barbara County with Wes lacountyfairwinemarketplacecrowdHagen, winemaker for Clos Pepe; Wine, Cheese & Chocolate (yum!) with Mark Newman; Wines of Spain with Adam LaZarre, winemaker of Villa San-Juliette, formerly of Hahn Estates; Spirits 101; and Bottle or Box – A Whole New World of Wine.

Each class features a minimum of six wines and each participant will receive a tasting ticket for a taste of a Gold Medal winner from the International Tasting Bar. The cost is $17 per class.

Besides wine, we have Chef Henry Gonzalez of Spaggi’s Restaurant who will be out on four occasions to conduct a cooking class.

Wine education classes are held every day of the Fair. Check the Web site for a schedule.

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