Whitehall Lane Winery offers private cooking classes filled with incredible food, wine and fun

Nothing goes better with incredible wine than amazing food! So what better way to enhance your Napa Valley culinary adventure than to experience hands-on food and wine pairings created by your favorite winery’s in-house chef, exemplifying the flavors of their winemaker’s newest releases.

An increasing number of Napa Valley wineries are joining the culinary explosion by offering interactive and intimate food demonstrations prepared by their own award-winning signature chefs. A rapidly growing number of food enthusiasts traveling to wine country are indulging in this new wave of Napa Valley wine and food tasting.

Whitehall Lane Winery, on Hwy 29 in Saint Helena, is a small family-owned winery, operated by the Leonardini Family since 1993. The winery produces several varietals from seven of their estate vineyards in the Valley including Rutherford, Oakville, St Helena and Oak Knoll appellations. Each appellation offers distinct characteristics in their wines and allows Whitehall Lane to provide an in-depth education about their wines to consumers.

Whitehall created a “Cooking Demonstration and Wine Pairing Experience” that is offered most Fridays and Saturdays (reservations are required). These classes offer a unique opportunity for the wine consumer to better understand the uniqueness that their wine brings to food, along with what wines pair best with different foods. Chef Larry, the winery’s private chef, prepares a delicious lunch in the winery’s gourmet kitchen. The three-course menu is paired with Whitehall Lane’s current releases which are perfectly matched with the flavors of the courses.

Get ready to sit back, watch, taste and indulge, as Chef Larry’s food journey is entertaining and inspiring. He is extremely knowledgeable and meticulous when it comes to identifying aromas, flavors, tastes, textures and selecting seasonal ingredients to enhance the tasting experience while taking it to the next level. He knows his stuff and is happy to share his tricks of the trade giving you new skills and the enthusiasm to take those skills and knowledge home to your own kitchen.

Chef Larry began creating his own recipes derived from flavors of his family’s traditional recipes while also being influenced by the Leonardini’s Italian heritage. He sources locally grown products whenever possible and blends them with his creative imagination. Being involved in the Whitehall Lane cooking program, Larry expressed, “The opportunity to share my passion and experience with people from around the world in an intimate environment is more than I ever dreamed.”

Whitehall Lanes’s cooking demonstrations are geared to home cooks and food enthusiasts. Chef Larry creates the dishes specifically to enhance the characteristics of Whitehall Lane Wines while providing guests with a unique food and wine experience. He is always happy to accommodate his guests dietary needs.

Classes are small and engaging, and require a minimum of four foodies but no more than eight. Classes begin promptly at 11:45am, taking you on a culinary journey for two flavorful hours. The class also includes recipes to take home to try in your own kitchen and of course partaking in the lunch created especially for you and paired with a selection of lovely Whitehall Lane wines. NVL

Whitehall Lane Winery
1563 St. Helena Hwy South | St. Helena
(800) 963.9454


Coffee Bean & Peppercorn Crusted Sirloin Steak

1 1/2 lb beef sirloin steak (1½” thick) or your favorite steak
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 t salt + 1 t
2 T fresh brewed espresso
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T coffee beans, coarsely ground
1 T black peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 T olive oil

Preheat gas grill or prepare grill pan. In a small mixing bowl, pour salt over garlic and smash into a paste, add espresso and vinegar and set aside. Mix peppercorns and coffee beans and set aside. Pat steak dry and rub all over with olive oil, salt with remaining salt and coat with coffee/peppercorn mixture. Grill to desired doneness, (I would suggest medium rare) 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board, cover and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice in thin slices across the grain. Place on platter or plates and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Enjoy the steak with Whitehall Lane Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon


Risotto Primavera

5 C Chicken stock + 2 C water
2 T Extra virgin olive oil
4 T unsalted butter, divided
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
1 Shallot, finely chopped (about 2 T)
2 C Short grain rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
3/4 C Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc
2 Carrots, trimmed and cut diagonally into ½ “ pieces
1/2 lb asparagus (blanched until firm tender, cut into ¼” rounds (leave top of spears uncut)
1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1 Crookneck squash, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 Cup Peas, thawed or if fresh blanched
6 artichoke hearts, frozen or canned, halved (fresh are fantastic!)
1/2 C basil chiffonade
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted

Heat chicken stock and water in saucepan to a simmer, keep warm.
Heat Olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter and the oil in a pot over medium heat, cook onion about 3 minutes, add shallot and continue cooking until translucent (about 2 more minutes). Add rice and stir until well coated, add the white wine and cook until completely absorbed. Add carrots and stir well. Now, start adding the warm broth a ladle at a time, stirring often, until the risotto is almost done (you will have probably used at least 5 cups of liquid), gently stir in the vegetables, continue the cooking process, adding more liquid as necessary (at this point, it should be no more than 4 or 5 minutes, just long enough to heat the vegetables).  The rice will be creamy with almost no bite When cooked add thebasil, parmesan and butter,mix well. Transfer to serving platter or plates, top with reserved asparagus spears and pine nuts drizzle a little good quality extra-virgin olive oil and for good looks shave a little parmesan on top.

Enjoy this recipe with Whitehall Lane Chardonnay or Las Brisas Pinot Noir


Cabernet Chocolate Cake with Ganache

1 1/4 C cake flour
1/2 C unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 C Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon
4  T butter
1 C buttermilk
1 T pure vanilla extract
3 lg eggs
1/4 lb semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 C heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9” round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment. In a bowl sift the cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In
A saucepan, combine sugar, unsweetened chocolate and wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the chocolate melts. Transfer to large mixing bowl, stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat in the eggs then the flour mixture just until combined. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake cake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake tester or toothpick comes out of center clean. Set pan on rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert cake onto a platter and let cool completely. Meanwhile, finely chop chocolate and place in a double boiler or heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, add cream and stir until just melted. Set aside and let cool. Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake.

Enjoy this recipe with Whitehall Lane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon