The Feast of Napa Valley’s Food Culture

by Elysian Magazine

If it is your first time visiting Napa Valley, then your taste buds are in for a sensory treat. It only takes a short stroll down Napa Valley’s Main Street to be amazed by its culinary wonders. Save yourself a couple of days, if you can, to indulge in the delectable Napa Valley flavors and make sure that the entries of your summer diary include some of the best of Californian cuisine.

Napa Valley is paved with succulent and tempting experiences for your palate. Local cooking schools offer food and wine courses, savor the confections of phenomenal chocolatiers, enjoy luxurious wine tastings, browse well-curated boutiques, cozy cafes, and indulge in scrumptious ice cream and gelato bars. Here are a few MUST-NOT-MISS places in St. Helena, in particular:

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

The CIA at Greystone is a majestic property that dates to the late 19th century and is one of the most unique locations for culinary learning in the world. The CIA offers a range of experiences from the very-best cooking and beverage classes to world-class dining and cooking demonstrations.

Whether you have a few days or only a few hours to spare, the CIA experience is a must. The food and wine courses offered here will change the way you see the culinary world and food in general. While on campus, you can treat your tastebuds to the drool-worthy comestibles served at The Bakery Café by illy and Gatehouse Restaurant. As an added bonus, you can also find some great bakeware and cookware, rare spices, and food books in the Spice Islands Marketplace at the CIA.

For more information, visit

New West KnifeWorks

Any chef or serious home cook knows that the right tool for the task makes all the difference, and the folks at New West have just what you need: “Cooking is an art and a quality knife is the artist’s brush,” as they say. Headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with outposts in Utah, Idaho, and here in St. Helena, its American-made kitchen knives and tools are available from its shop on Main Street every day. These will make a great souvenir for your trip!

Visit their website here at

Image courtesy of Cedar Gables Inn

Cedar Gables Inn

Cedar Gables Inn is a 10,000 square-foot historic bed-and breakfast in the Arts & Craft style best known for its packages that include amazing cooking classes taught by some of the best chefs in the Napa Valley. Take a class at the inn to learn tips and tricks of the trade while feasting on beautiful food and having a great time with fellow foodies.

Napa Valley Cooking School

We meant it when we said that Napa Valley will change your culinary skills and food aesthetics for good. Napa Valley Cooking School, part of Napa Valley College, is yet another premier culinary school based in the heart of this beautiful area. It offers weekend or evening classes for the professional or the enthusiast, with current options including Baking & Pastry Skills and a focus on appetizers, canapés, as well as a class on kitchen safety and sanitation.

For more information, please visit

Image courtesy of Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market

If you want to see what paradise is to chefs and home cooks alike, make your way to the Oxbow Public Market. You can find incredibly good food to nibble on at this collection of local food shops on the Napa River, while you shop for the freshest ingredients for your favorite cuisines. Organic and sustainably-produced local crops, regional specialties, and other high quality and unique food products make this a delightful food shopping experience.

For more information about the market, visit

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