Just A Splash
"Just A Splash" with Cameron Diaz
On the shelf, a bottle of wine is just a bottle of wine. But once that bottle is opened and poured for friends, it becomes an experience. In our monthly series Just a Splash, expert entertainers from the worlds of film, stage, food, and hospitality share how they turn a bottle of Avaline wine into a celebration. Our first installment features our cofounder, Cameron Diaz. Call your friends, cue the music and grab a glass: this is how she creates the best afternoon with Avaline White.
White wine is usually a weekend affair for me. It doesn't happen every weekend, but when it does, it takes place in the afternoon. It starts with a highly anticipated text sent by one heroic girlfriend that says: ‘Who's up for a splash?’, which is code for: ‘I need a timeout... where my girls at?’ I have an awesome group of badass women who live in my neighborhood — most of them are moms and creating a moment of reprieve is necessary. (But I guess that's true for everyone. That's what weekends are made for.) Once the text is sent and we synchronize a schedule with the dads for “dad duty”, we decide where to meet. It’s usually my house. After all, I have the perfect wine.
Everything that happens in my house starts in the kitchen. Whenever my friends arrive, they always head straight for the kitchen as if there is a current that is pulling them into it. There, I have wine waiting in a nice cold bucket of ice and a container of fresh ice cubes to add to the glasses that await a pour. Once we have beverages in hand, we’ll usually head out to the porch — it’s a breezy, screened porch that’s surrounded by vegetation and is full of plants. Here we begin the absolute and inevitable outpour of conversation. We always have lots to catch up on. I have an aviary that has a few joyous and spirited parakeets that are always adding their two cents to the conversion.
I personally love to drink white wine over a few cubes of ice, so I always first ask whoever I'm sharing a bottle with for their preference. I’ve kind of converted all of my friends to drinking their white and rosé wines on ice, so they usually say, ‘I’ll have some ice, please!’ What can I say? It’s refreshing!
”I love to feed people and it’s especially important to provide them with something delectable.”
I love to feed people and it’s especially important to provide them with something delectable. If it's a casual affair, I will usually throw together a little cheese and charcuterie situation. My fridge is always loaded with a variety of cheeses — and you can never have too many cured meats as far as I’m concerned. I like to represent all the various consistencies and flavor profiles when it comes to cheeses, so there’s always a drier, milder cheese like a manchego, a softer variety with maybe a little hint of truffle or a nice goat cheese marinated in an herb oil. And if I want to get really crazy, I’ll go triple cream on you!
Marcona almonds are made for a cheese plate, so they are ever-present in my pantry, as is a stash of sweet and salty candied walnuts. Another cheese plate must is adding something pickled. I like cornichons — those cute little miniature pickles that make you wonder, “what the heck are these things for?” Well, now you know.
To complement the pickled bits, it is required to have something sweet. I didn’t make that up. It just exists as a universal truth. That being said, I'm not a huge sweet person but when it comes to the platter, I really enjoy playing with my palate. Instead of using jams or pastes with added sugar, I prefer to add whole fruits that are in season: clementines in the winter; cherries and stone fruit in the summer; and apples year-round. They’re a gift from nature.
Finally, it’s vital to add the secret sauce of the charcuterie and cheese platter: grainy mustard. Of course, you need a vehicle to get all of this into your mouth. I love a baguette sliced thin or a hearty cracker, like a stone wheat or a multi-seed crisp. Again this is about playing with flavor. For me, a cheese and charcuterie plate is just one big old platter of deconstructed sandwiches. Think of it as a playground for your taste buds. Why eat one big sandwich that tastes the same throughout when you can make a bunch of bite-sized sandwiches, or as I like to call them “flavor packages”? My goal is for every bite to not only taste different, but compliment the bite before it and after the one to come. I encourage you to give it a try. Fun with food, people, that’s the goal here!