Adventure: Flavor! Napa Valley Festival
Eating & Drinking: SO. MANY. THINGS.
A few quick, fun facts about me:
- I’m a serial meal-splitter. I always make my dinner companions pick options we can share, so we can try at least two different dishes.
- I will always agree to accompany anyone to Costco, just so I can try all the samples.
- A dinner of a variety of small plates is way more exciting to me than one rich main dish of, say, steak.
If you’re reading between the lines, you can tell I absolutely love opportunities to try a ton of different bites and sips, not limited to one dish or one choice.
Flavor! Napa Valley Festival occurred this past weekend with 5 days of culinary demos, tastings, meals, panels, and lectures. The best wineries and restaurants came together to create an amazing agenda infused with amazing food and wine, culminating in one of the biggest events, The Grand Tasting.
The Grand Tasting took place in the Culinary Institute of America, in St. Helena just north of Napa.
The venue itself it stunning. Made of brick and stone, you feel as if you have been transported to a medieval castle, enveloped in a majestic atmosphere.
Entering the main floor, you are surrounded by almost 80 wineries and 25 restaurants, all sampling their finest bites and libations.
Everyone pulls out all the stops. Delicious, tender meats. Cuts of fresh fish in sashimi and ceviches. And the wine. So many cabs, but still such a range between the taste of each.
Favorites from the evening included Acumen (superb), William Cole, and B Cellars (this 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite!)
Ceviche from Sam’s Social Club.
Crushed English pea crostinis with goat cheese feta and Meyer lemon from Atlas Social.
Raw fish over watermelon with a sorbet from Sienna Restaurant.
Ahi tuna tostada from Scotland Yard (a personal restaurant fav actually located in San Francisco!).
Delectable flannery beef hangar steak with the perfect amount of marbling, topped with chile garlic, hazelnut and gremolata from PRESS Restaurant.
If you think the night is over after working your way around one floor, you are absolutely wrong. Heading upstairs, you walk in to another floor filled with food and wine.
Well-lit, this area is a number of culinary stations that are used for actual cooking classes when this fine event isn’t going on.
Other amazing bites included this beef with corn polenta.
This gorgeous beet puree spoonful with flowers and other accents.
And one of my favorites, this house made sausage was on the perfectly toasted, light, crunchy bread topped with melted cheeses by Del Dotto.
This festival isn’t limited to just one evening. With 40 events going on over 5 days, there is something for everyone to enjoy part of the festivities.
If you find yourself in Napa during March (or needing an excuse to come), The Grand Tasting event alone is worth a trip. Friendly faces that are eager to chat and share their stories and cuisine, an exquisite atmosphere, and delicious wines, make this an evening you won’t soon forget.
Learn more about Flavor! Napa Valley Festival on their website.