Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ashland's Love Affair With Wine and Food

Bella Fiore: Old World Beauty & New Wine

I've written about the plethora of wineries here in southern Oregon, especially in the farmland known as the Applegate, but now wineries are appearing closer in to Ashland, and the latest, opened six months ago, is the magnificent Belle Fiore, just off of Dead Indian Memorial Rd, and only about 3 miles from the heart of town.

This gorgeous place consists of two castle-like structures, One a classical French chateau, elegant with marble, glass and art, overlooking fabulous sweeping views of the Rogue Valley.  It is magical standing so regally on its hill among the vineyards, with elegant rooms for small and large gatherings, available for corporate parties and weddings, but also open for lunch and dinner in the beautiful dining room or the spacious terraces. Oh yes, wine tasting as well, with charming tiered wine holders for flights of their signature whites and reds.
It is a stunning, delicious and moderately priced place to dine, and music is played from 5 to 7 on thursday and friday nights.  It is open to all but members are invited to private events for a mere commitment of two bottles a quarter.  Currently a bocce ball tournament  with barbecue is planned, and tasting room parties happen in September and quarterly. The chateau is also open for tours on Friday afternoons. 

Here are a few photos, that cannot do it justice.  Go to for more information.

College Food Service You Won't Believe!

Speaking of food.  One of the best kept secrets in Ashland is the amazing new Hawk Dining Commons on the SOU campus, next to the dorms on Wightman St.  I would bet you have never feasted so well in a college cafeteria, courtesy of A'viands food services.  And it is a gift to the community because anyone can eat here.

Set up like a food court, with many wonderful fresh offerings every day, including plenty for vegans and vegetarians, for a small fee (ranges from $5 to $8 depending on time of year and time of day) you can enjoy any or all of it.  This includes great coffee, varieties of cold drinks, and great desserts. The stations each have a unique speciality.  I love PAO, Asian-infused stir-fry. You choose from a variety of fresh veggies, meats or tofu, starches and sauces and it is mixed while you wait.  Always fresh and delicious.  Likewise CHOPPED lets you choose your own salad fixings and watch as they are put together just for you.  The RED PLATE always has a complete meal available for you to choose your own portions.  A hamburger and sandwich bar gives you those options.  Mexican and Italian and sometimes Chinese food is available.  Every day is different and the environment is open, light and full of college students who are always fun to watch.

Gradually Ashlanders are finding their way over to enjoy the great chefs, fresh offerings and easy prices and are grateful to be included.  Even tourists may be finding the spot someday.

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