A Pear-fect Time

That’s what’s in store at the second annual “Pear & Wine Festival,” 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at San Jose’s Santana Row.

The festival pays tribute to the pear orchard that once thrived where Santana Row’s glittery shops and hopping restaurants now stand.

This year, amateur chefs will be facing off in a new pear recipe challenge. Today is the last day for contestants to submit a written recipe and photo of their dish to the Santana Row Concierge Center. Five finalists will be pre-selected to tote their dishes to the festival (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.), where a panel of judges — including yours truly, the Food Gal — will judge them for taste, presentation, and originality.

The winning recipe will be posted on the Santana Row Web site. The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card to Consuelo Mexican Bistro and a Santana Row shopping spree. The winner also will get a signed copy of
“Giada’s Kitchen” (Clarkson Potter), the new cookbook by Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis.

Yes, the ever-popular De Laurentiis will do a Q&A at noon that day in Santana Row Park, then a book-signing afterwards at Sur La Table. Reserve your spot and a copy of the book by calling Sur La Table at  (408) 244-4749.

For more pear deliciousness, chefs from some of Santana Row’s and the South Bay’s most celebrated restaurants will conduct free cooking demos of pear dishes. The demos will be at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., more than 20 Bay Area wineries will be pouring tastes. Twenty bucks will get you six tastes and a souvenir glass.

Additionally, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., representatives of G Bar G Ranch of Kelseyville will be on hand to talk about the varieties of pears they grow.

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