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First-Time Musts: Napa Valley

Napa Valley

, which has long drawn oenophiles from around the world, has now become a mecca as well for passionate foodies and design scouts. Below is a selection of the restaurants, shops and activities that Indagare deems First-Time Musts—classics that warrant a spot on any Napa itinerary.

Gourmet Emporium: Oxbow Public Market This incredible farmer’s market is a one-stop shop for wine, local produce, casual dining and artisan gifts. Gott’s Roadside and Model Bakery have outposts here, while the Oxbow Wine Merchant offers tastings and expert assistance in choosing bottles to take home.

Sweet Fix: Woodhouse Chocolate Reminiscent of an old-fashioned, small-town candy store, this boutique sells delicious chocolates handmade by a husband-and-wife team with gourmet credentials: one comes from a wine-producing family, while the other studied at the California Culinary Institute.

Culinary Icon: French Laundry Considered by many to be the best restaurant in the country, the French Laundry has boasted three Michelin stars since 2007. The two nine-course menus provide a sensory experience akin to going to the opera or touring an art museum. The restaurant has a two-month advance reservation policy, so plan ahead.

Comfort Food: Bouchon Bakery Stop by Thomas Keller’s casual eatery for coffee and breakfast pastries like his legendary glazed and fruit-filled doughnut, or lunch alfresco on soups and sandwiches served on the patio. To-go goodies like biscotti and homemade granola make great souvenirs.

Quintessential California: The Restaurant at Meadowood This three-Michelin-starred spot strikes the perfect balance between high-end and down-home, with serious farm-to-table cuisine served in an elegant dining room done in subtle earth tones. Request a table by the window or, during the warm months, on the dining patio overlooking the natural splendor that surrounds this special restaurant.

Touring Oenophiles: Top Wineries

When deciding which vineyards to visit, focus on those that produce wine you enjoy drinking. Some may be by appointment only, so check beforehand. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team for personalized recommendations and guided tours. Read more about Napa wineries.

Neighborhood Watch: Calistoga Located between San Francisco and Napa Valley, Calistoga is a charming town worth visiting on the way to your final destination. Don’t miss Gott’s Roadside for an organic, locally sourced burger or Evangeline for classic French bistro fare and craft beer.

Learn from the Best: Cooking Classes Some of the world’s most innovative cooking and cultivating can be found in Napa Valley. Visitors interested in the culinary arts—especially California’s farm-to-table cuisine—can partake in cooking classes and tastings featuring take-home recipes using locally sourced produce. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange a private lesson.

Special Access: Napa from Above Napa’s rolling hills and well-kept vineyards are stunning when viewed from a hot-air balloon during a private sunrise ride. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to reserve a place.

Published onSeptember 1, 2015

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