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Jan 21, 2011 09:56 AM

Napa Cooking Classes

Hi All - I'm currently researching a honeymoon trip to Napa (with one night in SF). I'm looking for a cooking class in Napa. So far I've found "Cooking with Julie", "Casa Lana" and "Cooks&Books&Corks" in Napa and a recommendation in Sonoma for "Ramekins".

Does anyone have experience with any of these classes or any others? There's nothing at the CIA when we will be there next month.

I'm also still researching dinner ideas for Napa and SF and would love input although I know that will be easier to search on the boards while I haven't found much on cooking classes in my searches thus far.


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  1. Raymond Cheesemongers has some classes:

    Fatted Calf has classes but I'm not sure whether they're at the Napa shop or how you hear about them before they sell out.

    Be sure not to confuse the world-famous and beautiful Napa Valley with the relatively uninteresting town of Napa a few miles to the south.

    Fatted Calf
    644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

    1. I enjoyed Ramekins. Much of it depends on the instructor, but Sonoma is cute, the facility is nice and once you finish you rest and waitstaff serves your food to you out on a lovely patio area.

      2 Replies
      1. re: myst

        Second the recommendation of Ramekins.

        Also the CIA in St. Helena has "food enthusiast" classes which might work for you. Gorgeous property and very impressive classrooms (architecture-wise, can't speak to what is actually taught or the quality thereof):

        Here are there one-day classes which might be perfect for a honeymoon:

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          I took some classes at the CIA a few years ago, and they were a good combination of explanations about the technique and then hands on cooking. I really enjoyed them. So it would just depend on your schedule and what interests you.

          BTW, I believe that Fatted Calf has their classes in Napa, where their kitchen is. The winter classes are all sold out. Their focus on charcuteri and salumi making.

          Fatted Calf
          644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

      2. Ramekins has a good reputation-- though as myst says, much depends on the personality and teaching ability of the instructor. Not all (and in fact not many) cookbook authors and chefs are all that terrific at teaching fantastic classes.

        My only experience with it was accompanying a friend up there for the day who was teaching a class. I don't know if all their classes are like this, but the one he was teaching was demo only-- he talked and samples of recipes from his book were passed around. He's a phenomenal presence and it seemed like people enjoyed it -- but personally I prefer hands-on classes.

        I think that kind of class works if you want to get close time with food world celebs while enjoying tasty nibbles - but I'd also think carefully about what you want more, hands-on or hands-off instruction.

        Ramekins Sonoma Valley Culinary School
        450 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: originalfig

          To elaborate. I did try a hands on class. I don't think I would enjoy a demo as much, but maybe if it is a favorite celebrity and there were samples to taste it could work. We had a a day of the dead menu with mole and tamales and several other dishes. It was delicious.

          1. re: myst

            The demo classes in the CIA cooking theaters are very helpful in learning dishes or technique. They're $15, an hour long, a great deal:

            "Sample the CIA during our public cooking demonstrations at Greystone in St. Helena CA. During the weekends, the CIA's DeBaun Theatre comes to life with live cooking demos performed by the school's renowned chef-instructors. The one-hour events feature recipes that reflect the seasonal flavors of the Napa Valley wine country. Recipes presented change every weekend, so you'll want to attend our California cooking demonstrations again and again. View our cooking demonstration calendar for a sneak peek.

            * Cooking demonstrations are featured on Saturdays and Sundays only
            * Saturday & Sunday: 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
            * Please call 707-967-2320 daily to verify scheduled times and topics

            "Reservations are also available online or by telephone at 707-967-2320. "

            You can also take joining us a 30-minute tour of campus.

            Here are listings of other CIA classes for non-pro students -- the weekend classes look great:




        2. Also check into the Napa Valley College Culinary Arts Program classes (in St. Helena), called the Food and Wine Enthusiast Progam.

          Can access online at:

          The link for the 2011 schedule of classes is at the bottom of the page.

          Or, go directly to the schedule here:

          1. Thanks so much for all the information. I will definitely report back to this board with our experiences!