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Aug 2, 2007 11:44 AM

My fantasy trip to gourmetland, CA

Hello All,

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!

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  1. Here's as link to some of my favorites for Sonoma County.

    Don't think you'll find date farms nearby, but you can purchase fresh dates on the branch at the farmers markets in the fall.

    1. The date farms would be in Southern California, in the desert, as in Palm Desert.

      1. Recent topic on artisanal cheesemakers:

        McEvoy Ranch (olive oil producer) has a tour on September 22:

        1. That's an insanely large topic, but here's a really good post about olive oil tasting in Napa Valley.

          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.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            In addition to carrying a mind-blowing selection of cheese, Cheeseboard also carries very good EVOO, all of which is available to sample, although it's no substitute for Round Pond's tasting and tour.

            1. re: Morton the Mousse

              Round Pond has recently opened a Wine Tasting room as well. It's really beautiful and they are producing a pretty tasty Cab.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              Here's a thread about a Berkeley food tour I did with a visiting NYer:

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Housewives Market was unfortunately torn down to build condos. They moved some of the vendors to a new space nearby but it's not the same time-warp experience at all.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  The link is to the current location. I agree it's a mere shadow of its former self, but there are some interesting vendors there still (like the sausage maker).

                  I also linked it because the location is the same as the Old Oakland Farmer's market.

            3. Cheeseboard! Not sure about their hours but if you are there between 3-7 there is also an all organic farmers market at Rose and Shattuck.

              The Cheese Board Collective
              1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

              1 Reply
              1. re: hulan

                That farmers' market is on Thursday evenings only.