Everyone knows that the Napa Valley is known for extraordinary food, but what is even more inviting is the variety in the way we get to enjoy our wonderful cuisine.

Long Meadow Ranch is a microcosm of life supporting extraordinary culinary experiences. On its two estates, LMR, as it’s locally referred to, has created an organic, integrated farming system that is centered around wine making, estate-grown olive oils, fruits & vegetable production, hand-tended bee hives, sheep, and a herd of grass-fed Highland cattle. The good news is that all of this creates the resources for 80-90% of their restaurant offerings with Executive Chef Stephen Barber at the helm. Both their indoor and outdoor bars are hangouts for winery elite, however you’d never know it by the laid back, friendly exchange. On the same lush property one can find a relaxed outdoor café, a daily farmers’ market, and an 1800’s wine tasting room to satisfy other delicious cravings. LMR’s summer concert series is the perfect place for an evening picnic. They are also beloved by the community for their inexpensive $5.00 corkage, 100% of which has been donated to community causes, to date totaling over $120,000.

A top chef, locally sourced fresh ingredients, and gourmet meals prepared “on-site”… this is the Napa Valley Wine Train. On this beautifully restored 1915 – 1917 original Pullman cars guests dine in elegance viewing the sunset over vineyards. This has been Chef Kelly’s existence for 20 years – creative, approachable, and a master in this moving kitchen. Everything is prepared to order, even the delicious baked desserts.

Thirty-five year restaurant veteran Andrew Wolfe, owner of Epicurean Excursions, creates a day-long experience through the inner sanctums of culinary sources in Napa Valley. Converse with local Napa Valley artisan food producers, experience the kitchen activity of a top local bakery, or savor the nuances of olive oil tasting. Shop a hidden-treasure of a market where heirloom, non-GMO, produce is their pride. (It’s a top source for local chefs). Enjoy a lunch and beer pairing at the oldest continuously operated market in California. Visit secret gardens of local producers, spend time with a top rated Chocolatier, and, of course, experience a visit to the Culinary Institute at Greystone. All of this personally narrated with the Valley’s history and agricultural evolution.

Alongside the Napa River in Calistoga is The Calistoga Inn, Restaurant and Brewery offering its own unique historic mix. The inside dining room is 1800’s charming, and the adjacent garden patio for dining is idyllic for those lazy summer dinners. Have fun trying the award winning beers from their micro-brewery which occupies the historic water tower. Get creative and design your own “food and beer tasting”. And not to be ignored is the pub, a popular sports viewing venue boasting five flat screen HDTV’s.

Now, here’s where you can really get creative. Have a small dinner party coming up? Chef Mike C, (he goes by no other name), with Wine Country Culinary Adventures, creates memorable culinary experiences that are out of the box. With an expertise in micro-gastronomy, he curates the perfect wine and food pairings with originality. He personalizes each event around your objective. And if it’s a bigger event, he designs around the bigger plan. And his hands-on cooking classes are exceptional.

In Napa Valley we get drawn into the unavoidable awareness of extraordinary wine and food. Pick your own way to experience it. Then pick another, and another… NVL

By Colby Smith

 

RESOURCES

Long Meadow Ranch
738 Main Street | St. Helena
(707) 963-4555
longmeadowranch.com

Napa Valley Wine Train
1275 McKinstry Street | Napa
(707) 253-2111
winetrain.com

Epicurean Excursions | Napa
707-501-0420
epicureanexcursions.com

Calistoga Inn
1250 Lincoln Street | Calistoga
(707) 942-4101
calistogainn.com

Wine Country Culinary Adventures
winecountryculinaryadventures.com