Chef Dominique Crenn runs one of the hottest tables in town—in the whole country, really—at San Francisco's Atelier Crenn, so last year, she added the more casual Bar Crenn next door. But despite the humble appellation, it's still a destination for classic French food and wine, which is why the chef launched the Bar Crenn Tour de France. Each month, through the end of the year, Crenn is hosting a dinner exploring the wine and cuisine of a specific region of her native country, and the Oct. 29 rendition is heading to Champagne with a purpose: Proceeds from a silent auction at the dinner will benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Crenn herself was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year. “I've learned so much from experiencing breast cancer for myself,” she told Unfiltered. “But it's not about me, it's about encouraging all of the women who have been or are still going through this difficult journey."
Following successful fêtes of Bordeaux and Provence (Crenn’s personal favorite), the Champagne feast (tickets) will feature pours from four organic growers: Lelarge-Pugeot, Val Frison, Fleury and Vouette & Sorbée, paired with intricate dishes like black truffle custard; oyster and Champagne sabayon; vol-au-vent crème fraîche and caviar; and macarons, of course.
“Courtney Olson, my beverage director, and I sat down together to talk about the regions we wanted to ‘travel’ to, and the chat got everyone talking about their favorite regions, wines and dishes," Crenn explained of the series, sponsored by American Express and heading to Burgundy in November. And the toque hinted at future "travel" as well: “I know the sommeliers are very excited to try some excellent Beaujolais very soon. It's such an amazing creative process, tasting these wines, learning about traditional, regional dishes and reinterpreting them for San Francisco.”—A.R.
Wineries are also doing their part to raise money and awareness for the cause, and not just this month. Two of the most active, Sutter Home and OneHope, have been pulling in substantial sums each year, and this year they've introduced special cuvées and other experiences to keep the proceeds coming.
Sutter Home for Hope was started back in 2001, when founding family member Vera Trinchero Torres was diagnosed with the disease, and has raised $1,415,000 since. This year, the company's pink wines—white Zinfandel and rosé—are wearing limited-edition labels with pink ribbons and topped with pink corks. The company is donating $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (up to $60,000) for any of its wines' corks, screwcaps or labels that drinkers mail back, as well as $1 for social media users sharing certain posts on Facebook, through the end of 2019. "For all of us at Sutter Home, the fight against breast cancer is personal," said Brie Wohld, vice president of marketing, in a press release. "We strive to provide financial support to the charities and nonprofits that are working to make a difference in our communities nationwide."
OneHope, a Napa winery whose bottles benefit charities of all stripes, has also bedazzled a bottle for the cause: A "pink glitter" Chardonnay (the glitter, to be clear, is on the outside of the bottle) launched this month. Proceeds from that and several of the winery's other Chardonnays go to the Gateway for Cancer Research year-round; through the organization, OneHope has funded nearly 19,000 days' worth of clinical trials for women battling breast cancer.—Ben O'Donnell
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