Located just off the square in Healdsburg, California this former bakery transformed into Brothers Aaron Garzini and Dustin Valette Valette Restaurant Healdsburg. Ninety-five percent of the produce crafted into dishes here isn’t just local from Sonoma, it’s from gardens located less than a single mile from the restaurant. Valette grows his own micrograms right inside the restaurant, and also cures meat, which is visible in a large glass case charcuterie case above the open kitchen.
From the start, the brothers aimed to be an establishment to showcase artisans, from the reclaimed redwood tables to the locally roasted coffee by Taylor Maid to the wine. “We want to get people excited about the “lost arts,” Valette says.
The wine list is about 70% from Sonoma but also spans the globe. Wine pairings are available with Valette’s “Trust Me” menu, one that he freeforms daily based on fresh ingredients. Like an omikase meal in a sushi restaurant, the courses just keep on coming until the diners say “halt.”
“This takes away all of the decision making,” Valette says.” You just come in and you’re in la-la-land.” He wants guest to just walk in , sit down, say “yo, send me food, send me wine,” Over a decade ago, Valette was inspired by a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. “You just walked in and said “food” and like 20 courses came out,” says Valette.
He highlights the most fresh and exciting ingredients and most importantly, uses predominantly what the local farmers happen to drop off that particular day or a fish caught that day. It’s a constantly changing menu.
Valette calls his gig a “chef’s dream come true.” Rather than sitting down and ordering from a large supplier, Valette simply leaves it open. “We only order the basics— garlic, onions, the base ingredients we need .” But most of it comes in on a whim.
“Thankfully, we have a menu that we print on paper so it can change all the time.”
“They talk about painters and musician who have the muse, the “je ne sais quoi,” Valette says about how he operates creatively. “It has to be exciting and authentic; it has to just come off the cuff too and not be over planned,” he says. He doesn’t find inspiration from just ordering ingredients but when a farmer brings in the freshest, sweetest seasonal produce, he is inspired to whirl his cooking craft. “it gets you motivated, excited and fired up.”
Their Charcuterie programs is one of just a few licensed restaurants in the area that cure meat and create hand-crafted charcuterie. They make the meat from local pasteur raised pigs; heritage breed pigs. He feels its a lost art and they wanted to bring back the artistry. All are done the old fashioned way, salt-cured. The14’x7’x4’ double stainless steel, air-tight charcuterie curing box was custom welded by their brother Les Garzini of Garzini welding. The meats are aged anywhere from 1 1/2 months to 1 1/2 years, as is the case for Proscuito. Copa Lomo, Lanzo, Salami, to name a few. “All of this tradition that was lost and we’re trying to bring back,” he says of the meat curing.
Tune in to hear more about the menu, wine program and wine pairings.
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