Your source for Temecula, CA and Southwest Riverside County lifestyle, events, & area information
It started with a tradition from Bunol, Spain that drew Europa Village Winery owner, Dan Stephenson’s attention. It has become one of Temecula Wine country’s most unique events, and all because of the beloved bumper crop of tomatoes.
“Life is about having fun,” said Stephenson, “La Tomatina is all about getting out there, and having some fun.”
No one knows why the first La Tomatina started in Spain, but Europa Village Winery celebrates the tomato, fine dining with Chef Dean Thomas, and their Bolero wine label in this Spanish flavored event. Approximately sixty Europa Village lovers came for the party, no need to dress to impress for this occasion.
Guests checked in, no need to be a Societe or wine club member, for this paid event. Each guest was handed a wine ticket, dinner bracelet, and a t-shirt to cover clothes that would later become a tomato-ey mess.
Based on the HISTORY OF LA TOMATINA: We knew a few things in advance: wear clothes you don’t mind ruining, flip-flops are probably best for foot-wear, cover your eyes, ears, and hair if you don’t want to be plastered with tomato bits and seeds, and the less you care about any of the above? The more fun you’ll have at the event.
The La Tomatina festival benefited Rancho Damacitas children’s charity. Director of Development, Clifford Nunn and wife Kris, were on hand to witness the event. “We sincerely appreciate Europa Village for their continued support,” said Nunn, “especially for their ongoing commitment to Rancho Damacitas, and supporting the kids.”
Upon entry, guests were granted a ticket to enjoy a full glass of one of the Bolero label offerings, either 2011 Muscat Canelli, 2010 Albarino, 2011 Libido, 2011 Garnacha, or 2012 Libido Blanco.
All Bolero wines paired well with the offerings of Chef Dean, a delicious tomato inspired feast of Smoked Pork Torta with sofrito sauce, topped with delectable avocado slaw, a cous cous salad with tomatoes, mint, cucumbers, and golden raisins which was tart, sweet, and mellow in perfect flavorful combination, with the unique sweet and savory tomato semifreddo to finish, along with a saffron infused whipped cream topped with – of course – a perfectly roasted tomato sliver. All vegetables, once again, were home-grown on the Europa Village tended garden at Peltzer Farms down the road.
Dinner was served with the musical stylings of David de Alva on guitar, accompanied by Marco Emtesali. Together, they played gypsy flamenco expressions, with the Spanish verve of Gypsy Kings and Getz and Gilberto’s jazz samba. De Alva’s music lent the traditional feeling and the flamenco favorites inspired several La Tomatina t-shirt wearing fans to get up and dance, cheer, and even conga through the open air patios in this festive occasion.
After the great tomato fight the group gathered for photos, found hoses, sinks, and any methods necessary to de-tomato before the trip home. Laughter and friendship abounded, especially with the well-represented “Walking Wino’s” group who gathered some 20 strong for the event. Debbie Taylor, who runs the group, is also travel agent for Bear Creek Travel in Murrieta. Taylor spoke, recalling, “I remember sending Mr. Stephenson to Bunol, Spain, to many of the European locations that inspired what is now Europa Village. We love his concept, and it’s a favorite stop for our walking club.”
Europa Village Societe member, Bill Reid, and his wife Ruth, have been members of Europa since the very beginning. “It’s like family here,” said Reid. “The employees care about service, and it comes out in so many different ways. We always come to the Europa Village events because this place? It feels like home.”
Home, with tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes.
And there’s no other way to show La Tomatina… then just to show it…
Stay tuned for more information and events at Europa Village Winery.
For more information, visit: http://www.EuropaVillageWinery.com