On the Town: 2012 Flavor! Napa Valley


11/16 Appellation Trail at CIA (Culinary Institute of America), St. Helena

Flavor! Napa is a five day food and wine festival in its second year, potentially the definitive event representing the wines of the region and the chefs and restaurants that make this grouping of small towns in the countryside one of the great culinary and wine destinations in the world.

Despite some nasty rainstorms hitting the area for part of the week, festivities were many and varied, from classes and demos to dinners and galas.

Here are a few highlights this year in photos, including sessions with two of the biggest chefs in the world: Thomas Keller and Masaharu Morimoto.

My top taste at the 11/16 Appellation Trail event: an incredible chicken liver creme caramel – silky, sweet & savory – with roasted grapes & bacon from Chef Brad Farmerie at The Thomas & Fagiani’s Bar

11/17 Interactive Lunch with Masaharu Morimoto who helped attendees make sushi for a three course lunch

11/17 morning session with Thomas Keller on the importance of selecting produce

Food highlight at 11/16 Appellation Trail event: Chef Richard Reddgington of Redd’s confit chicken thigh in a winning chocolate orange spice mole sauce over cheddar cheese polenta with cracklins’

Appellation Trail wine highlights: 2009 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc

Appellation Trail wine highlights: 2009 Moone-Tsai Howell Mountain Hillside Blend


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At 11/17 Morimoto lunch, second course was a lush, braised black cod paired with 2011 MerSoleil SILVER Unoaked Chardonnay

Perfect dessert at 11/16 Appellation Trail from Chef Valentina Guolo-Migotto at Ca’Momi Enoteca: dreamy bigne (beignets), both Tchocolato with TCHO chocolate & latte miele, caramelized on top, filled with vanilla bean cream