Since most visitors to Napa Valley come for the great food and wine, why not learn how Napa Valley cooks and take the knowledge home for a lifetime? Here are a couple of ideas to to round out your food and wine adventure.
Susie Pope, co-proprietor of Cedar Gables Inn, used to run a culinary school in Los Gatos, where her husband worked in high tech. It was natural that when they renovated the kitchen, that they make a spacious, professional kitchen that guests would feel welcome in. They offer cooking classes for a five-course dinner about twice a month featuring local chefs as instructors, such as Ken Frank of Michelin star La Toque. These classes are interactive so are maxed at 12 students. After the instruction, students then become pampered guests as they sit down to a formal dinner paired with world-class wines.
Friends complain to me that they can never get into Taylor Boetticher’s Whole Hog Butchery class at Fatted Calf Charcuterie. It’s always sold out. Not just the most popular Whole Hog class but also the classes on salumi, pates, sausages and duck. The four hour session includes instruction which, depending on the animal, includes complete butchery, smoking, curing, encasing, emulsifying and roasting, a lunch and a bag of the goodies that you made to bring home as ultimate momentos of a Napa Valley culinary experience. The classes are geared to novices and pros alike so home cooks will learn how to recreate the products using amateur cooking equipment.
Cedar Gables Inn’s cooking classes usually take place on Saturdays, and preference is given to Inn guests. Cost is $150/person including wine. For a schedule and description of previous menus, check out the website.
Fatted Calf’s classes are $150/person. For descriptions, check out the website and then get on their email list to be apprised of upcoming classes or to be put on a waiting list.