Culinary Camps in Napa Valley California, and San Miguel, Mexico
July 20-25, 2014
September 14-19, 2014
September 21-26, 2014
October 5-10, 2014
Join us for this “insider’s” tour, limited to just 14 attendees, to Napa Valley’s elite small wineries, great kitchens, and homes. Hugh is your teacher for three of the participation cooking classes and your host for every event throughout the week. All the recipes are based on his 16 cookbooks. The programs are created for travelers who want to combine a learning vacation with free time to pursue their own interests while in Napa Valley. More than 1,700 food and wine lovers have attended “camps” during the last 22 years, and many are returning “graduates.” Between our scheduled events, you’ll have time to take the “cure” at a luxurious spa, visit artists’ studios, explore the historic towns of Yountville and St. Helena, and dine at Napa Valley’s great restaurants. Join us for an opening night party at our home, and then treat yourself to five more days in one of the world’s great wine and food regions.
How to Get Here: Napa Valley is approximately 50 miles northeast of San Francisco. If you fly into San Francisco (or Oakland or Sacramento, the closest airports), we recommend you rent a car at the airport. We will provide you with hotel information and directions.
Sunday: Reception and Dinner at Hugh and Teri’s Home. Tonight Hugh and his wife, Teri, host a reception and dinner at their home set in an olive grove and surrounded by the vineyards of Napa Valley. Among the dishes that Hugh will cook are barbecued shrimp with mango relish, pan fried crab dumplings with citrus glaze, braised short ribs with red wine and rosemary, and homemade caramel swirl ice cream.
Monday: Cooking Class at Cakebread Cellars, Appetizers at Auberge Du Soleil. This morning Hugh teaches the first of three participation cooking classes at Cakebread Cellars. Jack and Dolores, their son, Bruce Cakebread, and their families are much loved in Napa Valley, and we are fortunate to be their guests at the winery. Every top chef in America has cooked in their wonderful kitchen during the annual Cakebread Harvest Workshop. Each class is full participation. Aiding us in the kitchen is long-time Cakebread winery chef Brian Streeter, whose unique skills include two Cakebread Cellars’ cookbooks. The afternoon is free. In the early evening, we meet at one of Napa Valley’s most luxurious retreats, Auberge Du Soleil. Perched high in the hills overlooking Napa Valley, we’ll gather on the outdoor terrace and enjoy appetizers and wine in the spectacular setting. Your evening is free.
Tuesday: Morning Visit to Tim Mondavi’s Continuum Estate, Evening Cooking Class and Dinner at Silverado Vineyards. This morning we have the rare opportunity to visit one of Napa Valley’s most talked about wineries, Tim Mondavi’s Continuum. He is the winemaker, visionary, and creative force behind all aspects of Continuum Estate. He has devoted his life’s work and passion to enhancing the art of wine. This is a rare opportunity to visit one of Napa’s great wineries that many read about but few see. We’ll drive through the vineyards, tour the beautiful winery designed by famed architect Howard Backen, and sample the wines as all of Napa Valley stretches before us. Following this visit, you are free to make your own lunch plans and enjoy the afternoon. Early this evening we meet at the beautiful Silverado Winery. Diane and Ron Miller established the winery in 1981. Located in the Stag’s Leap District, the winery is known for its outstanding wines and for hosting many cultural events. Tonight we’ll cook a “wine-country dinner” under the direction of Chef Morgan Robinson. He worked as a chef at The Ritz Carlton/Aspen, Bistro Don Giovanni, and Domaine Chandon, before opening his own catering company. Acclaimed in “the Valley” for his cooking and teaching skills, he will lead us in a partipation cooking class whose dishes are perfectly matched with the Silverado wines. Then we’ll dine on an outdoor terrace having one of the great wine-country views.
Wednesday: Cooking Class and Lunch at Cakebread Cellars, Afternoon Visit to Smith-Madrone Winery. This morning we return for a Hugh Carpenter participation cooking class. The theme is seafood. Working in teams, we’ll cook lobster, mussels, shrimp, scallops, as well as salmon and other line-caught fish by applying a diverse range of cooking techniques including grilling, smoking on wood planks, sautéing, and oven roasting. Then we will dine at a long table in a beautiful garden setting. Early afternoon free. Later this afternoon, we have the opportunity to visit a Napa Valley winery famed for its great Cabernet and Chardonnay wines, Smith-Madrone Vineyards. Located high in the western mountains behind St. Helena at the top of Spring Mountain Road, Smith-Madrone was founded in 1971 by brothers Charles and Stuart Smith. It’s a 200-acre ranch with 40 acres planted, yielding about 4,000 cases a year. The rocky soil plays a key part in producing wines with great fruit, tannins, and acid—wines that can age for decades. One or both brothers will host our group. This is a rare opportunity to meet the owners, hear their “arrival story,” and be led in a wine tasting that includes older vintages. Your evening is free.
Thursday: Cooking Class and Lunch at Regusci Winery, Afternoon Visit to Staglin Winery. This is going to be another exceptional day. This morning we gather at Regusci Winery located in the Stag’s Leap District. The historic winery and vineyards developed by Angelo Regusci are now under the leadership of Jim Regusci and produce 6,500 cases of Estate Regusci wines. We are honored that Jim will host our lunch, which will be the result of a participation cooking class led by Winery Chef Angel Perez. He is one of the most gifted chefs I have known. Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, he will teach us how to duplicate Mexico’s national dish, Mole, and surround it with easy-to-make side dishes that perfectly highlight Regusci wines. We are very lucky to have Angel as our guide, and you will quickly understand why he is considered a marvel of cooking skills matched with a charming personality. Later this afternoon we meet at Staglin Family Vineyards located in Oakville. Founded by Garen and Shari Staglin in 1985, the vineyards now include their two children, Shannon and Brandon. It is a 61-acre property located in an alluvial fan containing rich volcanic soils. Today the property is home to the Staglins, 51 acres of vines, an underground winery, and a beautifully restored historic homestead. We’ll tour the property and then taste the wines while seated at a long table that overlooks the neighboring vineyards of Oakville. Your evening is free.
Friday: Cooking Class and Lunch at Cakebread Cellars, Graduation Dinner at Far Niente Winery. This morning we meet at Cakebread for Hugh’s third participation cooking class. The theme is BBQ. You’ll be introduced to many techniques using charcoal and gas grills for cooking meats, seafood, and vegetables matched with a diverse range of marinades and barbecue sauces. All the key cooking methods are covered, including everything you need to know about smoking ribs, chicken, and brisket. You’ll become the neighborhood barbecue expert! Afternoon free. This evening we have the rare opportunity to dine at the beautiful Far Niente Winery. Restored in 1981 by Gil and Beth Nickel, the winery is famous for its Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and its premium dessert wine, Dolce. Very few people have the chance to visit the winery, let alone dine in the beautiful garden setting. We’ll tour the historic main building, see Gil’s extensive classic car collection, and then gather around the dining table for a magnificent “Graduation Dinner” cooked by Far Niente Winery Chef Trevor Eliason. We’ll feast leisurely into the night with great foods and wonderful Far Niente wines, take farewell photographs, and reminisce about the week.
Saturday: Napa to Home. After last-minute morning adventures, those with flights depart for the airport, or you may stay on to enjoy the many other activities available in the Bay Area. We look forward to your visiting us again in Napa Valley.