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A Little Bit of Italy in California

When I am missing Italy (especially at this time of the year when it has been awhile since my last trip and the next one won’t be for awhile), all I have to do is make a trip to Healdsburg in Sonoma County, California. 

Chickens on the loose at Podere Erica

We love the little Healdsburg town center with great shops and restaurants, but enjoy even more visiting unique places outside of the center.  This last weekend we visited DaVero Winery and the Journeyman, a Tuscan style butcher.

At DaVero Winery in Healdsburg

In 1990 Ridge Evers of Da Vero Winery imported olive trees from Tuscany (the first olive trees brought to the US since the 1800s), planted them, and waited. The result was an olive oil that has been acknowledged as one of the very best in the world.  Of course, we will always prefer our own from Podere Erica with its characteristic spiciness, but his is pretty great.   

Visiting with Ridge and hearing his story of how he started to plant Italian varietal grapes which he grows biodynamically, is most interesting.  Being there at the farm makes me feel like I am back at Podere Erica, with the pigs and the chickens and the lovely rows of vines.  I love his enthusiasm and commitment to making wine the Italian way.  To read more about Ridge and his story, please visit their website at

Another discovery that brings me back to Italy is the Journeyman Meat Company. 

After the sale of Seghesio Family Vineyards, Pete Seghesio followed his passion for sausage-making when choosing his next “career”.  On a trip to Italy, he and his wife visited the butcher shop of Dario Cecchini in Panzano, which is about 20 minutes from Podere Erica.  Dario is a legend in Tuscany! 

Pete was inspired and arranged an apprenticeship with Dario which eventually led to this unique shop just off the main square in Healdsburg, where you will find not only Italian-style sausages, but great steaks, chops, and Italian food products imported from Italy.   We had the opportunity to visit with Pete himself when we stopped in for lunch.  (Great pizza and sandwiches too.)  He related to us his passion for the “Italian” way of making sausage – low and slow!

Read more about Pete and his story on their website And the San Francisco Chronicle article about Pete Seghesio is most interesting too.  Click here to read it.

If you are in the Healdsburg area, you should stop by Da Vero Winery and the Journeyman Meat Company for a little bit of Italy in California!  Is there some place in your hometown that reminds you of Italy?

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