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03.11.09

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Mellow Yellow

By Hannah Smith


Color affects mood and emotions. Yellow can bring to mind bright, happy images of sun, early autumn, golden light, spring. Looking out at our fields of mustard is a reminder that spring and constant sunshine are just around the corner—and the Napa Valley Mustard Festival is already here.

Mustard used to be considered a medicinal plant that could be used to cure scorpion stings and toothaches, but also became used as a culinary paste by the early Romans. Mustard lovers have been adding it to their cooking creations ever since; the Mustard Festival celebrates such flavorful dishes. This month's long midwinter festival reaches its pinnacle with the annual awards, this year titled "A Spicy Soiree!" and slated for Friday, March 13, at Napa's Black Stallion Winery. This is a fancy wine-sipping affair where world champion mustard makers receive their awards and promises to delight guests with the most creative mustard recipes of the year.

Saturday–Sunday, March 14–15, mustard madness hits the Marketplace, a less expensive daytime event for mustard connoisseurs at the Robert Mondavi Winery featuring tastes of mustards from around the world, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, live broadcasts of Dining Around with Gene Burns, taping of Martha Stewart Living radio shows, a Sunset magazine pavilion, plenty to eat and drink, and live music.

People attracted to the color yellow are said to be of a higher intelligence. Draw whatever conclusion from that you'd like.

A Spicy Soiree! is slated for Friday, March 13, at 7pm. Black Stallion Vineyards, 4089 Silverado Trail, Napa. $100–$125. 707.253.1400. The Marketplace takes place Saturday–Sunday, March 14–15, from 11am to 5pm. Robert Mondavi Winery, 7801 Saint Helena Hwy., Oakville. $35–$45. 707.259.9463.


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