It seems like the feasting never ends in Wine Country, with culinary festivals nearly every month year-round. What a wonderful challenge to have, as we do our best to attend them all! Here are some of our favorites this month:
Flavor Napa, March 16-20, 2016
Now in its 5th year, the annual Flavor Napa just keeps getting more delicious. This year, 40 mouthwatering events span five days, celebrating food, wine and the chefs and winemakers that make it happen. Highlights include the “Celebration of the Judgment of Paris 40th anniversary Dinner,” which alas, is sold-out, but there’s still room at the table for a cooking demo with three-Michelin Star Chef Christopher Kostow, a Retrospective Tasting with Chateau Montelena and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, and “The Butcher, the Baker, and the Sparkling Winemaker” brunch. Check out the “Terroir to Table” educational series, as well, like the “Detox to Retox” retreat at Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga, or the “Offal Good” class with Top Chef Masters talent Chris Cosentino.
Pigs & Pinot, March 18 & 19, 2016
Healdsburg practically explodes with wine and pork lovers crowding in for this extravaganza of top chefs and winemakers. Tickets sell out fast for everything, including the Taste of Pigs & Pinot walk-around sip-and-supper, Tournament of the Pig whole animal cooking competition, Ultimate Pinot Smackdown, Dry Creek Kitchen’s Gala Dinner, and Spoonbar’s Swine & Wine Dinner. This year, celebrity chefs include Michael Mina, Matt Lambert, Barbara Lynch, and Bryan Voltaggio, alongside celebrity winemakers like Paul Hobbs, Jeff Mangahas, Randy Schock, and Jesse Webster.
Savor Sonoma Valley, March 19 & 20, 2016
Sonoma Valley spans the gorgeous area between Santa Rosa and the town of Sonoma, and it’s a wondrous space that contains more than a dozen wineries. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, 19 of these destinations will showcase wines straight from the barrels, sample new releases, and offer more of their award-winning wines paired with dishes from local restaurants. Keeping the party hopping, there’s also live music, cellar tours and art shows at many of the locations.
Yountville Live, March 31-April 3, 2016
Fans of the Goo Goo Dolls and Plain White T’s will love this second annual food, wine and music celebration. The signature Taste of Yountville walk-around feast is a must, for dozens of local vintners pouring premium wines, as is the finale April 3 Bubbles Brunch with open-fire cuisine from chef Morgan Robinson of Smoke, buoyed by an acoustic performance from “American Idol” winner Kris Allen.
Tip: Make it an even fancier festival time with limo or Town Car service to-and-from the events.