My fantasy trip to gourmetland, CA
My absolutely fabulous mother is going to take me on a long-needed vacation to San Franciso in September. She's agreed that we can do all the gourmet things that I can find for us to do, so I need some advice.
We are going to stay in SF but will have a car to be able to take some trips outside the city. We've talked about Napa and the area surrounding that as a possibliity.
I'm not overly familiary with the area, but I'd like to find places to visit including:
• olive grove where they press fresh oil
• cheese makers, cheese shops
• date farm
• small town types of places that make wonderful, delicious local products
• fabulous restaurants
• interesting food markets
• farmer's markets
I plan to bring a cooler and a large suitcase so that I can bring all kinds of goodies home to Chicago with me.
Thank you in advance for your help identifiying some of these kinds of places!
That's an insanely large topic, but here's a really good post about olive oil tasting in Napa Valley. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/332757
There's also been some recent discussion of honey tasting in the Napa area. The farmers' market on Saturday at the San Francisco Ferry Building (which is also an upscale food mall), is justifiably famous, but you might also want to check out the Marin farmers' market, which is supposedly almost as good (and in some ways better), and a lot less crowded and touristy.
I also suggest heading to Berkeley, including a trip to Chez Panisse and the mandatory visit to the Cheeseboard -- a great cheese shop.