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Flavor! Napa Valley festival kicks off Nov. 20

November 01, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • A scene from last year's East-West lunch at Flavor! Napa Valley with "Iron Chef" star Masaharu Morimoto. This year he'll be doing a culinary demonstration on Nov. 23.
A scene from last year's East-West lunch at Flavor! Napa Valley with… (Flavor! Napa Valley )

The harvest is in and November is a great time to head up to the Napa Valley for the annual “Flavor! Napa Valley” wine and food festival. This year, it runs from Nov. 20-24 with a schedule stuffed with events featuring notable chefs and sommeliers, and for those of an educational bent, seminars and workshops.

Better grab the last tickets if you’re thinking about going.

Having won some 12 Michelin stars in the 2013 San Francisco guide, Napa Valley is chuffed. (Three of those coveted stars went to Christopher Kostow at the Restaurant at Meadowood and another three to Thomas Keller and the French Laundry.) Those reservations may be tough to get, but there are plenty more worthy restaurants in the valley, many of them participating in this event.

Guest chefs from outside the valley include our own Roy Choi — and Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi of Carbone and Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York City.

No trouble rounding up a slew of Napa Valley wine experts to join in, including Karen MacNeil (chair of Wine Studies of the CIA at Greystone), Master Sommeliers Andrea Robinson and Larry Stone, winemakers Ashley Hepworth (Joseph Phelps Vineyards), Genevieve Janssens (Robert Mondavi), and Julianne Laks (Cakebread Cellars) — as well as Napa Valley pioneer Mike Grgich (Grgich Hills Estate), who just celebrated his 90th birthday. 

Workshops offer more than the basics. In all, 14 small hands-on workshops will take place at vineyards, farms and kitchens. My pick (if I were going)? “Three Beekeepers, Three Chefs, and a Winemaker” meeting at an apiary.  

Christopher Kostow of the Restaurant at Meadowood will give a demonstration lunch in his Michelin 3-star kitchen ($95 per person). East and West Coast chefs will show off their take on Italian cuisine with Michael Chiarello and Brian Bistrong (Bottega, Napa Valley) representing the West Coast against Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi (Carbone) from the East Coast ($110 per person). And a few tickets are still available for the event’s two flagship dinners. 

Over the five days of the festival, you can expect special wine tastings, celebration dinners and much more. To find out the specifics and to buy tickets for events, visit Net proceeds from the event support programs and scholarships at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena. 


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