At first sight, Sarabella Tuscan Jars draw you in with their bright beauty and artful arrangement.
In fact, it’s been said by the late winemaker Eric Dunham that “These Sarabella, look like (artist Dale) Chihuly in a jar.”
As the light hits the glass and the liquid glows, illuminating the gorgeous colors of the fruits and vegetables inside, you might begin to wonder: What makes these “fruits and veggies in a jar” come alive?
Surprise! It’s not real produce!
In fact, Sarabella Tuscan Jars are custom handmade individual pieces of art created by another Washington talent, Lynda Calder.
Each individual “fruit” is sourced from around the world including cultured stone “lemons” from Sweden and braided fabric imported from Germany..
These culinary inspired treasures have been placed at some of the swankiest international establishments such as Napa Valley’s Ferrari Carano Winery and Grosvenor House on Hyde Park in London and recently, Calder’s “Diva Jar” made an appearance as “swag” at the Honoring the Academy Awards gifting event.
Sarabella Tuscan Jars has been asked to create table centerpieces for chef demonstrations and will have an elegant display at Food and Wine Festival Palm Desert 2015, set for March 27-29, featuring amazing chefs, local restaurant creations, culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, and more.
Calder and her husband, Jim, are self-described foodies, world travelers, and connoisseurs of fine living and good taste, splitting their time between their homes in Washington and La Quinta.
A few years back, the Calders decided to take a one week cooking school in Tuscany established by their friend (and one of their favorite chefs) Umberto Menghi.
Actor Kurt Yeager from The Sons of Anarchy with Lynda Calder.
“We fell in love with Italy’s culture on the trip,” she says. “When we came home, here to the desert, we found some similar jars locally and they were not only stunning but reminded us of our fondness for Italy. Jim and I decided to purchase the rights to the product, trade secrets, and recipes, and give it our own twist to create what is known as Sarabella Tuscan Jars.”
Wait a minutes, trade secrets? Recipes? If it’s not real produce, what makes these decorative items so special?
From her home studio in Seattle, Lynda sources her “fruits and veggies”, glassware, and “secret sauce” to hand-place each fruit strategically to achieve a one of a kind arrangement.
• Many of the jars are made of recycled glass hand-blown in Spain and Italy.
• Jars shapes and sizes are given Italian names such as Primo, Dolce, and Belissimo.
• Each individual “fruit” is sourced from around the world including cultured stone “lemons” from Sweden and braided fabric imported from Germany.
• Each “product” is made of a different material such as sponge, wood, plastic; then hand painted or air brushed to create flaws seen in nature to look more real.
• They are then glued in place and packed in a “magic formula” made with health additives for “freshness” and to give visual depth and vibrancy.
Calder has mastered her passion for design, but she does encounter challenges.
“I’ve had jars so deep that I’ve had to use tongs because my arms aren’t long enough to put things in place and ‘cherry’s’ are tough to place because the stems are like knitting,” she says. “Some ‘fruits and vegetables’ colors ‘run’ so we have to give each new piece a fluid test to make sure the color won’t change. We still haven’t found a good ‘grape’. I was so excited to find a great cabernet grape shape once that I did 4-5 jars without testing them first. All the jars turned solid black.”