Magazine article Sunset

A Perfect Day in Placerville: The Gold May Be Long Gone, but an Up-and-Coming Food and Wine Scene Makes This Sierra Foothills Town Worth Mining

Magazine article Sunset

A Perfect Day in Placerville: The Gold May Be Long Gone, but an Up-and-Coming Food and Wine Scene Makes This Sierra Foothills Town Worth Mining

Article excerpt

The gold standard breakfast

Back when Placerville was in the middle of the Mother Lode, the town was a hodgepodge of bars, brothels, and factories. Many of Main Street's original buildings remain intact, including the two-story cobblestone Placerville Soda Works, now the Cozmic Cafe, home to dharma talks, open-mic jams, and the healthiest breakfast menu in town: tofu scrambles with portabella mushrooms, and breakfast burritos wrapped in organic sprouted-grain tortillas. Take your fresh-squeezed beet juice to one of the hidden nooks in the back of the cafe, which are said to lead to a series of underground mining tunnels. The calories come more quickly at Sweetie Pies' across the street, a brunch hangout known for its olallieberry obsession--they use it to make everything from muffins and pies to house-jarred syrups. Cozmic: $; 594 Main St.; ourcoz.com. Sweetie: $; 577 Main; sweetiepies.biz.

Eat your fudge, drink your wine

On the eastern edge of town, Fudge Factory Farm lies among some 20 orchards. Most of the U-pick farms close to visitors when the apples stop dropping at the end of autumn, but triple-F keeps 'em coming all year with homemade peanut brittle and 75 flavors of fudge, including thick blocks of peanut butter and chocolate swirl, best savored at nearby High Hill Ranch's fishing pond. Down the road, Boeger Winery sits smack in the middle of 85 acres of Sierra Foothills grapevines. Tour the winery, then settle in the remodeled tasting room with crisp complimentary Barbera. Fudge: 2860 High Hill Rd.; fudgefactoryfarm. com. Wine: 1709 Carson Rd.; boegerwinery.com.

Strike oil

You don't have to be an enophile to spend the day slipping in and out of tasting rooms. At Winterhill, "the oils are the star of the show, says Annette Schoonover, owner of the olive-oil tasting bar and shop, where you can choose from about 10 cold-pressed selections to sample, all sourced from orchards in El Dorado County. Nearby, Dedrick's Cheese hosts daily tastings from its array of 200-plus cheeses. The knowledgeable staff is quick with recommendations, but in a pinch, try the house favorite P'tit Basque, a delicate and mild sheep's-milk cheese with subtle nuttiness. …

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