Flavor! Napa Valley Heats Up Wine Country This Weekend

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A scene from last year's Flavor!
A scene from last year’s Flavor!

Photo Credit: Bob McClenahan

Flavor! Napa Valley, a food and wine festival that celebrates Cabernet season, is taking place this week, Wednesday March 22 though Sunday, March 26 up in wine country. The five-day event is a culinary extravaganza and fundraiser with all ticket sales benefiting the Culinary Institute of America’s St. Helena campus. This is the seventh annual Flavor! and the third time that it’s been held in the springtime. The event originally took place in November, but founders like Clay Gregory, the president and CEO of Visit Napa Valley, thought the month was too statured with events like the Napa Valley Film Festival and Thanksgiving, so they moved it to March.

Chef Richard Blais's cooking demo at the 2016 event
Chef Richard Blais’s cooking demo at the 2016 event

Photo Credit: Bob McClenahan

This week’s festival promises to be a delicious one—with several big name chef’s on the lineup. “We have chefs from around the whole country. All the chefs need to be either from the Culinary Institute of America, graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, or have to been from the Napa Valley,” Gregory told Haute Living in a telephone conversation. “That’s one of the things that we are really strict about, and then all of the wines have to be Napa Valley wines. We just want it to be the kind of festival that can only happen in Napa Valley. This year we’ve got a lot of returning chefs like Richard Blais, Chris Cosentino, Tyler Florence, and a bunch of other really great chefs.” One reason many of the chef’s like to participate in Flavor! Napa Valley is Thursday’s golf tournament. Chefs, winemakers, and golf enthusiasts partake in a round of 18 holes at the Silverado Resort and Spa’s championship course.

The wine will flow at Flavor! Napa Valley
The wine will flow at Flavor! Napa Valley

Photo Credit: Bob McClenahan

The event that we are most looking forward to? Thursday’s Napa Valley Icons Dinner honoring the legendary winemaker Heidi Barrett. “We’re really super fortunate that we have Heidi Barrett, who is arguably the most well known wine maker in the United States. She’s coming and we’re pouring only Heidi wines,” Gregory said. “I’m super proud that we were able to achieve that because she is so much in demand. I think that’s going to be a fantastic evening.” The meal will be prepared by a group of chefs including SPQR’s Matthew Accarrino, State Bird Provisions’s Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, and La Toque’s Ken Frank. Since the Culinary Institute of America has reopened Copia, some of the events will take place in its classrooms, campus, and gardens.

Check out the full schedule of happenings for Flavor! Napa Valley on the festival website.

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