The combination of award-winning wineries, local restaurants, food festivals, the thriving agricultural industry, and internationally renowned resorts makes Napa County home to some of the most incredible cuisine in Northern California. Early on in Napa County’s culinary history, settlers quickly realized that the soil and climate were excellent for growing grapes, vegetables, spices, and raising livestock. These realizations lead to an abundance of local agriculture, viticulture, meat, and dairy production.
Local vintners and civic leaders took advantage of state legislation to preserve the agriculture lands of the Napa Valley and when the county officially became an American Viticulture Area, the agricultural future of the county was solidified. Today, the farms, ranches, and vineyards of Napa County are almost solely responsible for the amazing local cuisine that can be enjoyed in this temperate region of Northern California.
Because Napa County discourages chain restaurants, most of the dining establishments are owned and operated by the locals. This is exciting for culinary enthusiasts, who can take advantage of truly native cuisine. Menus are seasonal, incorporating the harvest of the Napa Valley and complimenting regional dishes with the wines that are native to the area. Some restaurants are off the beaten path and others are a little Tourister, but rest assured, you will never be disappointed by a meal in the historic Napa Valley.
While Napa County has over 130 local restaurants, as an alternative, quite a few residents have taken to dining out at the local markets. Everything at the markets is fresh, including the seafood that is brought in weekly from San Francisco. Because of this, and the friendly nature of the open markets, the markets have become a social as well as a culinary epicentre for the communities. At these market/eating establishments, diners can enjoy daily specials, new recipes and sample wine varietals. Not to be left out, there are also candy and ice cream stores that specialize in chocolates, jelly beans, and other confectioneries. Bakeries offer artisan pieces of bread, pastries, freshly baked pizzas, and sandwiches. Local coffee houses buy the highest quality beans to match the fresh cuisine in the area.
The Napa county festivals are yet another great place to grab a bite to eat in Napa County, because everything is fresh off the farm, ranch or vineyard. While the two of the most famous festivals are the mustard and tomato festivals, all of these year-round events celebrate everything that is harvested in the Napa Valley. This includes fruits, vegetables, olives, mustard, tomatoes, grains, honey, beef, and cheeses.
It’s hard to define a certain type of cuisine in this part of California because most restaurants are operated by chefs of international acclaim who are constantly creating new dishes. Some of the best restaurants in the world are located in Napa County, a testament to COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, which is a major venue for international cuisine. The cuisine of Napa County is fully complemented by the award-winning wines and the landscape of the Napa Valley to create a total culinary experience for anyone who loves fine foods.