Flavor! Napa Valley

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Welcome to Napa Valley where wine is bottled poetry!  Flavor! Napa Valley is a delicious four-day extravaganza of farm-to-table fine cuisine and world-class wines hosted in America’s premier Napa Valley wine region. Personally, I’d love to live here, but the there’s no shopping! This Fashion Stalker would go through withdraws and not from missing my bubbly baby! Perhaps I could make up for it with the fact there are beautiful vineyards, five-star restaurants and fresh produce at farmers markets all over town. Sounds enticing, eh? Combine that with almost perfect weather & flowers in bloom nearly year round and you had me at hello…nahhh, still couldn’t do it, but love to return for special events such as this. As you may recall, it was on a visit a few years ago where I ended up at Charter Oak Winery in search of Uncle Guido and met Rob & Layla Fanucci who have become dear friends, all thanks to a pair of leopard boots that were spot on. I love when that happens!

Each year at Silverado Resort and Spa and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone in St. Helena, Flavor! Napa Valley is where food and wine experts from around the world lead a series of tastings, gastronomic events and demonstrations over a long weekend in November. Look, we’re talking about big guns in the kitchen like Charlie Palmer, Michael Chiarello, Brothers Forgione and Johnny Luzzini with his sweet desert. There is an incredible star power lineup featuring many of the world’s culinary wine experts and chefs such as recent Top Chef “All-Stars” winner Richard Blais, dashing dare devil Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and award winning author/teacher and wine expert Karen MacNeil to name a few. So many chefs, so little time! Add to the mix legendary Chef Thomas Keller, ( oh to be a fly spy in his kitchen) Cindy Pawlcyn of Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, ( love her Mongolian beef rub recipe) Larry Forgione, Scott Conant and more and you get an idea of what’s happening at the CIA in St. Helena (and I’m guessing it’s not just about tantalizing the palate). You know what they say, there’s no better aphrodisiac then a great meal with the right wine! Sometimes, having the right glass of wine is not just a symbol of refinement, it can simply be a fun and wicked thing. Yea, make em wonder why you’re still smiling. But I digress…

Patrons of the event can be found exploring the barrel rooms and kitchens of the Greystone Mansion, west coast home of the Culinary Institute of America and local wineries. Everyone knows Napa Valley is renowned for it’s wine and natural beauty, but better yet, this event is for a good cause as proceeds from the inaugural festival will go to deserving students for programs and scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America. Napa, it’s a place to which you want to return again and again…just as long as we can stop in San Francisco on the way for great shopping. Buckle up buttercup and mark your calendars in advance for next year. It’s a ticket that’s as difficult to score as the one to see Prince William & Kate at The Polo Club when they came to Santa Barbara. Bottom line, it’s a food and wine event that will whet your appetite…Food Stalker promise.

* images courtesy of Flavor Napa Valley

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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