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Jul 9, 2006 10:21 PM

Boysenberry Pie

Last weekend the Napa Valley Vintners sponsored dinners for symposium attendees at a number of individual wineries. I was lucky to be assigned to my first pick, Schweiger Vineyards. I was interested in it because it was new to me. In the past, I'd enjoyed Schweiger's Merlot, plus I wanted to learn about Spring Mountain district terroir. I knew it would be a smaller affair with more opportunities for one-on-one interaction than the larger winery events. When I saw the homemade Boysenberry pie on Sally Schweiger's kitchen counter, I couldn't help but grin knowing that I had made the right decision to come here. Her home cooking is outstanding --- Cheese-filled lemon risotto arancini, prosciutto-wrapped fresh figs, and tuna tartare on sesame crisps accompanied by 2005 Sauvignon Blanc; Dungeness crab and avocado salad with champagne vinaigrette and tostada chips with 2003 Chardonnay; and grilled pork tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon cumberland sauce and roasted summer vegetables with the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet for me, the star was the double-crusted Boysenberry pie ala mode.

Pie image -

Dessert was accompanied by the Cabernet "Port" V, my favorite of the high quality wine portfolio here. Sally said that she'd bought the organic boysenberries at the Friday farmers market in St. Helena. The taste of these berries was a new discovery for the visitor from the UK, more high-toned and delicate than blackberries and more full flavored than raspberries. We three guests agreed that we had struck gold in Sally and Fred Schweiger's hospitality.

Schweiger Vineyards is open to the public for wine tasting by appointment. It is also available for receptions and group events.

Schweiger slideshow -

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  1. Growing up in the central valley, boysenberries were an every summer treat. We made jam each year and we always made boysenberry cobbler. Two weekends ago I found a stall at the SF ferry plaza farmer's market that was selling them and they were outstanding. I highly recommend trying them to anyone that likes fruit!

    1 Reply
    1. re: tracee

      I saw boysenberries at Alemany market two weeks ago too; the farm from Placerville that had cherries and blueberries had them. I hope they have them again this week. I'm not sure I've ever had one except in Dannon yogurt growing up.

    2. Melanie, that slice looks like the sweet pie of my dreams! I grew up w/ boysenberries in Washington state and love them. Now, what are the credentials of that creamy, luscious looking ice cream?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover

        My hostess has a great touch. Boysenberries are so delicate in flavor and texture, and she managed to just have enough thickening to keep the middle for being runny, a teeny amount of sugar, and all those whole juicy berries, in a double-crust pie, no less. I don't know the provenance of the ice cream, as this was scooped out in the kitchen and then brought to us out on the terrace. It was still about 70 degrees after 10pm with the heat inversion up to the top of the mountain, and I had just started to reach for my wrap.

        I can't recall when I'vve last had boysenberries. I'm a convert now and I'll be keeping an eye out for them.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I've been gorging on boysens for the past month (as I do every year about this time), and frankly, I don't think they were particularly good this year. Definitely not as sweet and flavorful. I always buy from Kaki farms out of Gridley? at the Berkeley FM. There might be some at the market today, but likely last Saturday was the last day. I still have 4-5 baskets in the frig. I may have to go into the city to try another farm.

          1. re: chocolatetartguy

            If you go to the city, it is Langiers for berries. Not boyens, but ask if they have Arapaho berries this year. They usually have them for one week IF the weather cooperates, otherwise it is jam or nothing. I hope they are still selling these since they indicated they were a lot of trouble and low yield. They are just my all time favorite berry in the world that I've ever tasted.

            Click on the Langiers Link for more info


      2. Boysens are great; I've also been buying Tayberries and Olallieberries from Yerena Farm at the Saturday Ferry Building Market. They both makke outtstanding ice cream, the olallies especially.

        1. is this a restaurant or someone's home were you had the boysenberry pie? I'm always on the lookout for some grand pie.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kevin

            This is a winery that is open by appointment and for private events. It is not a restaurant. Usually caterers are hired to prepare the food; for this dinner the winery owners did the cooking for our small group. The berries were purchased at the local farmers market for you to make the pie yourself.

          2. thank you. please excuse my stupidity.