Pair wine with Heirloom Walnuts at Limerock Orchards
Tucked in amid West Paso vineyards, on a serene little bend in Peachy Canyon Road, Limerock Orchards is the only place in the county where the grapevine collides with deeply rooted, organic heirloom walnut trees to produce a delicious, one-of-a-kind pairing phenomenon that cannot be found elsewhere. Not only do their estate-grown walnuts complement the Brochelle and Roxo Port Cellars wine poured on site, but walnuts—like wine—are also a rich source of culinary inspiration, a sort of magic ingredient that brings people together to enjoy the many other edible joys of the Central Coast.
Gourmet artisan food boutique
Olivia Wenger, the second generation of Limerock Orchards who kicked off the family’s foray into the retail side of the walnut business, says it’s common for visitors to come in thinking they don’t like walnuts—that they’re too bitter or that they make their mouth sore. One bite of these light, buttery and sweet snacks leaves tasters with a renewed perspective on walnuts – and a view of wine country cuisine that’s been cracked wide open.
Limerock’s creamy walnut butter and Ojai Jelly Company’s zesty habanero jelly can combine for what Wenger calls a “high-end PB&J” and a gourmet reimagining of the classic that will leave a lasting impression on the adult palate. Inspired concoctions take center stage at Limerock’s tasting room in spring 2015 as the boutique, family run ranch’s recently opened gourmet artisan food boutique debuts a unique and taste bud-tantalizing walnut-themed flight program.
The cozy gourmet shop sets the culinary-creative juices flowing with its flickering fireplace, attractive food displays, and scenic views of the spacious patio, reflective pod and umbrella-shaped canopies of walnut trees in the orchard. With both dry and dessert wines to round out the palate, they have cultivated a rich spread of unique products including Limerock’s own luscious walnut oil (ideal mixed with local Chaparral Gardens’ vinegars on salads), artisan honey, Mama Ganache chocolate-dipped walnuts, locally made caramel corn, and walnut brittle that has been dubbed by the staff as “crack” for its incredibly addictive qualities.
Savory, sweet & spicy
The tasting room-food boutique arrangement provides a genuinely indulgent and fun outlet for designated drivers, teetotalers and those who have simply done enough wine tasting for the day. “Not everybody out here is drinking,” says Olivia’s mother, Owner Deanne Gonzales. “We have something for everyone.”
The new walnut flights will range from savory to sweet to spicy, and give guests cause to dream up their own concoctions at home: a healthy snack of apples and celery slathered with walnut butter, walnut oil and honey drizzled over oven-fresh biscuits, or a paleo-diet breakfast of sweet potato pancakes with walnut butter.
Peaceful patio views
On the patio, tables offer private groups, passing wine tasters and picnickers a peaceful place to enjoy the flavors while glimpsing the ranch life. Looking around at the idyllic surroundings, Olivia and her mother say they simply want to share this, to let people enjoy the views and the tastes. Thanks to Olivia’s father, Owner Richard Gonzales, who has dry-farmed their walnuts—without irrigation, pesticides, fertilizers or genetic modification—since 1985, these delicate, buttery wine nuts and the serene West Paso environment will surely be here for generations to come.
Visit the Limerock Orchards tasting room, open daily from 11-5, at 6996 Peachy Canyon Road in Paso Robles. Call (805) 238-6887 to reserve a private tasting; find more information or purchase products online at www.limerockorchards.com.
– Jamie Relth