Monday, August 16, 2010

Gravenstein Apple Bento

Gravenstein Apples are an heirloom variety of apple that have been grown in Sonoma County since the late 1800s. This past weekend we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Gravenstein Apple Fair. This fair is my very favorite fair of the entire year. It is set under sprawling oak trees in a big park and does not have the typical fair things you expect like carnival rides or trying to throw darts at balloons for cheap stuffed animals. They have a hay bale maze that is free for the kids to wander through, and there was a place set up with apples tacked to a plywood board. Hit one with a dart and win a bag of apples! But mostly, this fair is about the Gravenstein Apple.

The Walker family has been growing apples since the mid 1800s in Sonoma County. Generations of Walkers have made their living by growing Gravensteins.

A new company in Sonoma County called Hot Cheese made special grilled cheese and Gravenstein sandwiches. They were sooo good, paired with zucchini pickles and seasoned sweet potato fries.

The treat I look forward to most of all is the piping hot Gravenstein Apple Fritter. Church ladies have a booth set up and all they do for two days straight is make these cinnamon powdered sugar topped fritters and vats of coffee. The line for Fritters can get pretty long, but it is so worth it!

Of course, I had to make a nail design to go along with the Gravenstein Apple Fair! Gravensteins have a red and green streaked skin, sweet/tart flesh, and are perfect for making pies. Of course there is a apple pie baking contest, apple pie eating contest, applesauce eating contest, and more! They should have an apple nail design contest, ha ha!

I look forward to this fair so much, that I kind of go into withdrawl when it is over. So I decided that today's bento would celebrate the Gravenstein Apple! I used the Hot Cheese recipe as my inspiration for an apple shaped grilled cheese sandwich with Gravenstein Apple and ham, and a little cucumber skin 'leaf'. Also in this bento: Gravenstein Apple 'rabbits', edamame, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, cucumber slices, grapes (including a cutie grape 'tree'), and red bell pepper slices. The Hot Cheese version of this sandwich does not have meat in it, and they added a delicious curry seasoning. If you can find them (Windsor Farmers Market or they do catering!) you have to try it... sooooo good!

Recipe for Gravenstein Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 grated garlic clove
2 slices white bread
1 slice gouda or provolone cheese
thin slices of Gravenstein Apple
1 or two slices ham
mayo (optional)

Soften the butter and add the grated garlic. I use a Microplane Zester to grate the garlic really fine, into a paste really. Set the butter aside. Assemble the sandwich by spreading mayo on the bread then top with cheese, slices of apple, and ham. Top with the second piece of bread. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread butter mixture on the outside of one of the sides of the sandwich. Place that buttered side down in the skillet. Grill until the bread is golden brown. Spread butter on the top of the sandwich, then carefully flip the sandwich over to grill the opposite side. If needed, cover the skillet to help melt the cheese. Serves one.

P.S. You can now vote for my nail design at The Daily Nail! I entered in a design representing Sonoma County for a 'home' themed contest. I would really appreciate it if you took a moment to vote for me on The Daily Nail blog. Thanks and wish me luck!


  1. Such a lovely & healthy apple theme bento! The little grape tree is so cute! :)
    And you are so good in nail art, the design looks exactly like the skin of the apple!

  2. Thanks Kids Dream Work! I put very little polish on the brush to make the streaky lines of red and green on my nails to try to duplicate the apple skin. It was fun!

  3. Woh, delightful post, I almost feel like I got to be there, too! The festival food treats are enough to dream of all year, nom!! Your sammie is inspired as are your cute crisp green nails, thanks for sharing this seasonal celebration with us!

  4. Just voted for you! Good luck! :) I've never had Gravenstein apples before, being a FL girl. They look delicious!

    <3 OhayoBento

  5. Thanks Bentobird! I love this fair so much, and the anticipation makes it that much better. If you ever plan a trip to Wine Country, I would make it coincide this great event. :)

  6. Thanks Heather! It really is a special seasonal treat, since Gravensteins are fragile and don't store well. And Thank You So Much for voting for me. I really appreciate it! :)

  7. Wow...nice bento & pretty nail art. Your nail look like real apples...I wanna have a bite..LOL.

  8. Hi Emily! Thanks, I guess this would not be a good design for someone trying to stop biting her nails. :)

  9. ha ha I love your nail art!!! What a great idea!! This apple fair sounds very cool and interesting - the food looks soooo delicious! Thanks for sharing sonoma! <3

  10. I love these type of apples especially with greenish and reddish skin! They must be crunchy!
    Apple fritters.... wooooooooo yum-yum!
    And what a healthy bento!

    Oh yeah, I voted for your nail! Hope you'll win! :)

  11. It's fun to see your nails' design hehehe. I think my place has a similar kind of Gravenstein Apple that has red and green streaked skin too, it's called Rome Beauty Apple :D. Love the fresh bento!

  12. Miam ! ça donne très faim tout ça :)

  13. Love the nails and the apple and grilled cheese sounds amazing!

  14. Vielen Dank Token! I think you would really get a kick out of the Gravenstein Apple Fair. It is a great place to see our local culture and history.

  15. Hi Angeleyes! The apples are crispy and delicious and they also cook really fast which makes them great for applesauce. Thanks so much for voting for me on my nail design! :)

  16. Hi tatabonita! Ooo, I love Rome Beauty apples too! One of the farmers we talked to grows over 50 types of apples. Can you believe there are even that many different kinds of apples?!

  17. Hi Steph! The addition of a bit of apple to a grilled cheese is super yummy. Thanks for your nice compliment. :)