January 20, 2015
It’s National Cheese Lovers' Day (yes, that’s a thing… a very good thing). The Napa Valley and Sonoma County boast some of the country’s best – after all, few things go better with wine. Whether it’s from a cow, goat or sheep, these cheese are some of the best cheese we've ever had.
There are many places around the Napa Valley to grab a quick bite or a picnic to go as you travel through Wine Country. One of our favorite stops is the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in downtown Napa. They offer a wide selection, including delicious bites and sips from local artisan cheese and wine makers. Heading up Route 29, a couple other must-stops are Oakville Grocery in Oakville and Dean & Deluca in St. Helena. Both offer wonderful takeaway options, in addition to fabulous cheese and meat selections, perfect for picnicking along the river or anywhere with a vineyard view.
If you love fresh mozzarella, you have to try the Mozzarella “Al Minuto” at Tra Vigne in St. Helena. Chef Nash Cognetti’s hand-pulled mozzarella is perfection; he was even kind enough to teach us how to make it last summer at Festival del Sole.
Looking for more variety? Head up to our partner hotel, Auberge du Soliel, for the Local Artisan Cheese Presentation. Enjoy the chef’s selection of four hand-crafted California cheeses while you soak in some of the most breathtaking views of the Napa Valley.
While there are countless places to enjoy a nibble of cheese with your tasting, our partner winery, Merryvale, offers an Artisanal Cheese & Wine Pairing daily at 11:30 a.m. This seated, semi-private food & wine experience pairs artisan cheeses with Merryvale Vineyards wines. Developed by their on staff, CIA-trained chef, Jason Velderrain, the tasting focuses on family-owned, local-sourced products that embody the values of the Merryvale Vineyards family.
If you’re up in Calistoga, we highly recommend the Cheese & Wine Pairing Tour at Castello di Amorosa. Enjoy a guided tour of the Castello followed by a seated tasting in the Il Passito Room above the Courtyard, where you can taste a selection of six hand-crafted, Italian-style wines, paired with a selection of local cheeses. Call 707-967-6272 for availability and booking.