Since the Napa Valley is about food and wine, a great complement to wine-tasting is food-tasting, and there is no better, authoritative place to receive food education than at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. As the CIA is situated in the heart of the Napa Valley, visiting this National Register Historic Landmark is a great way to fill in the gaps on your trip or pace your wine tasting activities.
With the lastest Flavor Bar, the CIA fills a spectrum of educational experiences for food enthusiasts at all price points and time constraints that range from the 15-20 minute Flavor Bar to one-hour cooking demos to two-hour, six-hour and multi-day hands-on cooking classes from master chefs. At the CIA, enthusiasts always take away written recipes or information cards for future reference. For full-day and multi-day courses, lunches are included
The Flavor Bar is situated in the re-designed marketplace which is now immediately accessible from the entrance to the Greystone facility. Currently, there are two flavor experiences available to visitors which are self-guided with video. “Calibrate your palate” is a sensory exercise in taste, exploring bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami flavors. “The chocolate experience” takes visitors from bean to (chocolate) bar. At the Flavor Bar, there are also chocolates for sale ($1.80 each), hand-made in the dedicated kitchen at the CIA.
Coming soon to the Flavor Bar will be the Oleoteca featuring super-premium olive oils from Tuscany, Sicily, Andalusia (Spain), Greece and our own North Coast McEvoy Ranch. The producers belong to a quality consortium called Association 3E (Ethics, Excellence and Economics) and their objective is to educate consumers on how quality in olive oil is achieved. At the Oleoteca, visitors will learn how to taste and to use olive oil as it is served in Europe, as a condiment and not solely as a cooking oil.
The Flavor Bar runs every hour on the hour (Calibrate your palate) and half-hour (Chocolate experience) and costs $10/person. Reservations not required. Visitors can combine these experiences along with the cooking demos and make a half-day out of the visit.
The cooking demos are held every weekend at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm with the dish changing every week. Examples of upcoming “Spring Flavors” in May include pan seared duck breast with cherries and clafouti au cerises (cherry custard tart). Cost is $15/person, reservations welcome but not required. Call 707-967-2320.
Two-hour hands-on cooking class “Samplings” are held on the weekends and typically cost $95.00/person. For details on the two-hour, all-day and multi-day cooking classes, check out the enthusiasts’ site on the CIA website.
The CIA at the historic Greystone facility is open every day to the public. 2555 Main Street, St. Helena 94574.