Wine tasting is wonderful, to be sure.
But a visit to California’s Napa Valley offers so much more — especially if you enjoy outstanding food with your drink and are curious enough to slip a culinary class into your itinerary.
1. Culinary Experiences at Wineries
Many Napa Valley wineries feature on-site chefs, kitchens and cooking classes that invite visitors to immerse themselves in the art of pairing food and wine. Check out the lineup of cooking classes at Cakebread Cellars and Peju, and work in a memorable meal at Chateau Lane Winery, B Cellars or V. Sattui Winery.
2. Cooking Classes
For many foodies, a visit to Napa Valley is celebrated with a day (or more) in the kitchen. Learn to make your favorite dishes — and strengthen your kitchen skills — with top-shelf classes at schools such as the Silverado Cooking School, which focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, and Cedar Gables Inn, a bed-and-breakfast offering chef-led classes. (In lessons at Cedar Gables, you’ll prepare your own dinner and enjoy it by candlelight when you’ve succeeded.)
From wineries and bed-and-breakfasts to cooking schools, culinary lessons make an interactive addition to any Napa Valley Itinerary (and end in delicious results).
3. Food and Wine Events
Napa Valley hosts a variety of food and wine events throughout the year, including the Napa Truffle Festival in January and Flavor! Napa Valley in March. Both events are prime for sampling the delicious tastes associated with California Wine Country.
Wine tastings are an essential part of the annual culinary event known as Flavor! Napa Valley in March.
4. More to Taste Than Wine
Whet your palate with an olive oil tasting at Round Pond Estate Olive Oil or Lucero Olive Oil. Wake up your taste buds with a sampler of bourbon and rye spirits at Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ (save room for the tender smoked meat). Sample a bit of everything at the Spice Islands Marketplace at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, where you can nibble on artisan chocolates, cheeses, cured meats and olive oils.
5. The Culinary Institute of America
This is a dream destination for people who love food and wine. The world-renowned college offers classes for food and wine enthusiasts, chef demos, shopping, a Tasting Bar and dining in the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, Conservatory Restaurant and Bakery Café by illy.
6. Oxbow Public Market
This scenic market has become the local gathering place for great food and wine. The 40,000-square-foot marketplace, which includes an outdoor deck with seating along the Napa River, features a mix of local food vendors, artisan cafés and organic produce from area farms.
Oxbow Public Market is an extravaganza of local food vendors, artisan cafés and organic produce from area farms.