Recently, Buzz returned from three days in Napa attending Taste3, a conference at Copia that melds food, wine and art in deliciously unusual ways. Imagine a tour of three local artists studios, including glass designer Gordon Huether, painter Gail Chase-Bien and ceramic sculptor Renata Allen led by the legendary Margrit Mondavi that included lunch at Yountville’s Redd. Everything–and everyone, including the 12 lucky participants– from the art to the food made a terrific segue to the next two days.

This gathering was the third year of Taste3. Started by the bright and ingenious minds behind TED including the creative comedian Tom Rielly, this conference brings together cutting edge thinking presented by experts in their respective fields. Taste 3 tempts, teases and teaches…and is worth every minute of the experience.

In two jam-packed days, 32 speakers, four to a session, each talking about 18 minutes, covered such topics as “Seeds”, “Urban” and “Source”. In”Action/Reaction” I learned about climate change and its impact on viticulture and wine production from Greg Jones, who teaches geography Southern Oregon University. Earlier in “Source” Ben Roche, Moto‘s pastry chef, thrilled the audience as he showed how he designs “technically innovative” desserts that use nitrogen gas, helium and more to create “explosive” and delicious confections. Darra Goldstein in “Worldview” spoke of her trip to Israel and the West Bank and how food, including falafel, can be used as a bridge to quell Arab and Israeli conflict. Also in that session, Bruce Gutlove explained how he directs a Japanese winery (worked by developmentally disabled to produce wine served at the recent G-8 Summit).

Breaks featured chocolates from Tcho and Scharffen Berger, Equator Estate Coffees & Teas and even shoes from Tom’s. Winery dinners and a lovely party and concert at Mondavi winery finished out the symposium’s evenings.

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