ST. HELENA, CA – Whether you’re a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-alcoholic activities to entertain you in just about every sub-region of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. This article will point you to some of the less obvious ways to have fun in the land of wine.
Get Involved With the CIA. The Culinary Institute of America, that is. This world-class professional culinary school offers many of its classes to the public, some for a single day, others for only two hours. For those with even shorter attention spans, there are 15-minute crash courses at the Flavor Bar to train your palate… learn how to select and balance different aspects of flavor (bitter, salty, sweet, sour, and spicy) to maximize tastiness in the Taste Like A Chef session, or explore the aromatic features and terroir specifics of chocolate with The Chocolate Experience. Both classes involve “mouths-on” training and an easy to follow video for only $10 per person.
In June of last year, the Flavor Bar launched its Oleoteca experience with super fresh, super premium olive oils, the likes of which we Americans have never previously gotten to enjoy. Don’t miss the school’s seductive Spice Island cookware store on the way out, which carries many professional books and equipment as well as items for the home chef. If you’ve worked up an appetite with all that learning, kick back on the restaurant’s lovely patio, enjoy the gorgeous view over the valley, and let the pros prepare you a fabulous seasonal meal that makes the most of the valley’s agricultural bounty.