Flavor! Napa Valley

My first few trips to Napa Valley only had to do with the wine….it is, after all, the birthplace of the American wine movement.  Why in the world would I go to a wine mecca and waste all that time in restaurants….grab a baguette and a piece of cheese and go.

Thank goodness through the years I have been convinced to enjoy meals at places like The French Laundry, REDD, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Brix, Oenotri, La Toque, Morimoto, Bottega and even a short drive out of Napa to Chez Panisse in Berkeley opened my eyes to incredible flavors with California flair created by passionate, enthusiastic, farm-to-table chefs.  Now, the food is as much a purpose in visiting Napa as the wine.

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Next month a new wine and food festival launches in Napa Valley with a focus on the farm-to-table food (or in many cases throughout the valley, the backyard garden-to-table food) of Napa Valley, followed of course by the wine of the region….it is Napa, you can’t do much without a glass of wine.

November 17-20, 2011 marks the inaugural Flavor! Napa Valley weekend with chefs, wine experts and wine makers from around the valley, with a few special guests from around the country, coming together to create a festival celebrating what makes Napa Valley so special – great food, incredible wine and joyous friendships.

Over the course of the four days chefs like Top Chef All-Stars winner, Richard Blais; original Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto; Easy Entertainer and Bottega owner, Michael Chiarello; and 3 Michelin Star Chef, Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood will teach and entertain guests with culinary demonstrations and wine tastings.

The big event of the weekend brings dozens of regional chefs, including Tyler Florence, Michael Chiarello, Christian Ojeda, Christopher Kostow, Ken Frank, Stephan Barber and more together with stellar Napa Valley wine from wineries such as Cakebread, Rocca, Staglin, Krupp Brothers, Faust, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and so many more for The Appellation Trail: Tasting Napa Valley.  An adventure for all of your senses, as these artistic chefs with paint pictures with their plates, making palates water, which will be easily washed down by the 100+ wineries featured at the event.

Tickets for The Appellation Trail and many other events, like the demos with Richard Blais and Morimoto, along with wine tasting seminars from Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor for Food & Wine, are available now, but are filling up fast.  Take this opportunity for a Napa Valley gourmet experience like none other, it should be a thrilling, food lovers weekend. An added bonus, net proceeds from the inaugural festival will benefit the scholarship fund at the Culinary Institure of America at Greystone in St. Helena.

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