Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review: Daily Decadence by Sherri Dobay

Daily Decadence The Art of Sensual Living
Towards the end of summer this year I had the pleasure of meeting Sherri Dobay at Envy Wines in Calistoga.  Sherri Dobay is a multifaceted woman, being an accomplished artist, a graphic designer, a marketer, a businesswoman, and a true equestrian.  Along with all of that she also has her own wine label, Ruby Kurant.  This year she wrote and published her book Daily Decadence: The Art of Sensual Living.  Having met Sherri briefly at a wine industry event, it was nice to sit down with her and find out about her and get a copy of the book.

Who wouldn't love a book about decadent, sensual living.  She had me at the title!  Sherri's book is a mix of personal reflections, recipes, wine/food pairing ideas and funny advice on life.  I do enjoy her advice on entertaining--from the types of people to invite to the type of ambiance to create.  She also gives advice on how to look at life by relating how she has done things--in life, in love and in the home.

The book was a fun romp through Sherri's life--her love affairs--her adventures--and her dreams.  I do really enjoy the recipes.  They are made for real cooks--the kind that cook for their friends, their families and themselves.  Most of the recipes are unfussy and allow you to start something early and come back to it when you are ready to eat.  Reading the recipes is often a kick--start the cooking at lunch time, let it simmer and come back when you can.  Add a few finishing touches, put some music on and open a nice bottle of wine.  Perfect--that kind of cooking will work out just fine on most of my days. 

I also enjoyed Sherri's wine pairing advice and her tasting notes.  From the short ribs that I made yesterday which she likes to cook with Syrah she had tasting notes for her own red wine, Ruby Kurant's The Archer,  "butter cookies, blackberry jam, rich and spicy layered on top of earth and crispy salmon skin, cacao nibs, yes, that is dark chocolate!"  A lot of different descriptors come into her tasting notes--and it is fun to think of what triggers certain notes she writes.

So far I've tried the roast chicken (delicious and well received by the entire family--3 times so far--and great the next day), the short ribs (last night--made some adjustments due to supplies on hand--food was gobbled down by the family), Nutella (already a huge fan--do buy it in bulk), slow beef stew (very hearty--yummy), beef barley soup (like my mom makes),  and savory scones (very nice and light--a bit too chic for my teenage boys).  I've got a few of those recipes dog-eared because they were so good--and also I am looking forward to making the lobster very soon.  One thing that would help me with the book would be an index--but I can handle looking through the table of contents for the information--reading it again also reminds me of Sherri's reason for including the recipe.

Sherri's advice to live everyday with a bit of decadence is great to hear.  Want real butter on that fresh bread--do it.  Want to sample some champagne midday--go ahead.  Feeling unproductive and want to get away from work--walk the dog, call a friend or take a long soak in the tub.  We are all going a million miles an hour--including our highly talented wine maven/artist/website developer/horseback rider/marketer.  It is nice to allow ourselves little pleasures during the day.  Stop and read a quick entry in her book and you can get a peek into what Sherri enjoys doing--and maybe incorporate some of that into your own life.