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Every chef likely has a “culinary bucket list”.  This is a list that is focused around major food experiences, like those at Napa Valley.  For chefs, food is a way of learning about cultures.  It allows you to experience their tastes and emotions as well as their histories and techniques.  I get so excited just thinking about crossing an item off my culinary bucket list and can’t wait to start planning for the next.

One of my last bucket list achievements was my trip to Croatia.  It was an amazing experience and of course I wrote all about it!  Check out Back to Croatia to hear about the country, it’s people and the mouthwatering food! But I digress, let’s “dig in” to Napa Valley!  Napa Valley is known for its FWS – Food, Wine, and Scenery.  There is something for everyone from the die-hard foodie and wine aficionados to the nature buff.  I had an opportunity to experience all three of those but of course I was in it for the food and wine!

Stop 1: Domaine Caneros Winery
Domaine Caneros at Napa Valley

Our first stop on the Napa Valley culinary journey, was the Domaine Caneros Winery. Boasting a French-inspired chateau and formal gardens, this winery specializes in still and sparkling wines. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather to kick off our trip.  It was a great start and set the tone for the rest of a memorable experience. To me, this view is just picturesque Napa. It was everything I wanted it to be and then some. We sat outside for hours, tasting our sparkling wine while enjoying smoked salmon and delicious cheese.

Stop 2: Bistro Jeanty

Bistro Jeanty's Rillettes de Canard- duck confit with goat cheese pate at Napa Valley

Next up brings us to the neighborhood French bistro, Bistro Jeanty in Yountville.   This family run restaurant serves up classic French cuisine lit the “Rillettes de Canard”- duck confit with goat cheese pate. It was RIDICULOUS! It was so good we ordered two.  I couldn’t even snap a picture before our group dug in! and ended up being one of the most memorable parts.

Stop 3: Muir Woods

Muir Woods at Napa Valley

After so much great food, we needed a good hike and what better place to go than Muir Woods.  This park is the first national monument created because of a generous individual’s land donation.  The ocean view from our long hike at Muir Woods was breathtaking! After ascending through the tall redwood trees, the view opened up and presented a scene that was beyond words. What many do not know is that this is where the wonderful breeze comes from that brings all the nutrients to fertilize the vineyards in Napa Valley.  Every part of this area plays a part in making it the serene, foodie getaway!

Stop 4: Bouchon Bistro

Poulet Rôti from Bouchon at Napa Valley

Enough nature lol, back to the food!  So of course I had French Laundry at the top of my list for this trip; but alas, it was not meant to be this time around.  Instead we made it to another Napa Valley culinary bucket list item to dine at a Thomas Keller restaurant, so we ate at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville to enjoy its cozy French bistro feel. The Poulet Rôti is a super delicious roasted chicken dish that is one of the most ordered off the menu.  So, you know what I did?? ORDERED IT! And it was everything that they said it was!

Stop 5: Jarvis Estate Winery

Underground Waterfall at Jarvis Estates at Napa Valley Jarvis Estates at Napa Valley

The last place I will take you is the Jarvis Estate winery. This place is literally carved into the side of a mountain. It is the first winery in the country to be built entirely underground.  It was so amazing! From the ultra-premium win selection to the education wine-making, it was a must see! While constructing these caves, they hit a natural spring, so they builders turned it into a waterfall on the inside (you can see it all the way at the end of the hallway on the left). My favorite wine was their 2013 Merlot.  And of course, you know my chef brain thought of all the incredible foods that would pair well!

Hopefully, I wet your palate just enough to make you add this to your bucket list (if it wasn’t already on there).  Napa Valley is a place of to die for food, heavenly wine, and spectacular landscape.  Going there is a true escape.  Tell us about your culinary bucket list.  What is at the top of your list?

If you would love to bring a bit of Napa Valley flair to your table and can’t quite make the trip just yet, contact us and schedule a meal delivery.  I’m sure we have a menu option that will put you at the table of a French bistro!

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