Hi friends! I’m going to start a new series of posts outside my normal ‘Trend of the Week‘ fashion posts to bring you some local Napa news! There’s a very predictable perception of Napa and the standard recommendations of where to eat, what wineries to visit, and what to do, so I’m going to start creating some ‘insider’ posts from a local’s perspective. To kick things off, we’re going to be chatting about an event I went to at the end of August called HERITAGE FIRE sponsored by DRY SPARKLING; this type of event isn’t something that usually pops up on Trip Advisor’s list of Napa happenings, but is something both tourists and locals would love! Let’s look at some pics from the event and I’ll explain more…
In so many words, HERITAGE FIRE is a premiere, whole animal, live-fire, and outdoor food-and-wine event, that features whole animals roasted over open fires and prepared by top area and national chefs paired with premium wines, beers and ciders (cool right?). In one location (this year being at the stunning Charle’s Krug winery), you get to experience all different types of meat, cooking methods, spirits, wines, cheeses, noodles, etc. surrounded by gorgeous vineyards. To steal their words: “Heritage Fire Napa Valley will showcase over 50 notable chefs and butchers, each grilling heritage breed animals en plein air amongst the area’s impressionistic hills and vineyards. The event features responsibly raised food prepared with traditional outdoor cooking techniques, free-flow wines from more than 35 boutique producers, craft beers from Magnolia Brewing, and small-batch Common ciders. The list of heritage and heirloom foods includes dry-aged beef, whole pigs, lamb, goat, squab, rabbit, duck, fish, chicken, artisan cheeses, oysters, and heirloom vegetables.”
(^this Thai salad was make with beef jerky!! I was very impressed…)
One product I’ve had my eye on for quite a while now is ‘the Perfect Puree‘, a local Napa company that makes delicious purees for perfect homemade cocktails. This product is not only extremely tasty, but very versatile. You can make multiple ingredient cocktails (like the sangria and Peach Shandy here), or simply mix with your spirit of choice for a single ingredient libation!
(As you can see, this event was jamming! The first 2 hours are reserved for VIPs-so you get first pick at all the goodies-and then the last few hours are open to GA ticket holders. With over 3000 pounds of meat, you’ll be sure to get more than enough food though!)
It’s not very surprising my favorite bite of the day was the ramen 🙂 This station had one of the longest lines as it was also a crowd favorite with hand pickled kimchi, slow cooked pork and a soft boiled egg…so good!
(How cool is this method of cooking?? These chefs had been preparing for hours on end with their make shift fire pits made from cinder blocks and wood)
These types of events are always so fun because you get to try a little bit of everything. We loved seeing the creative ways in which these chefs not only cooked the meat but what they paired it based on their style and taste. Even if you’re not a raving carnivore, you’ll be able to enjoy all the other aspect of HERITAGE FIRE. There was a killer cheese booth, some amazing grilled veggies, and unlimited wine of course!
When attending an event like this, there are some things to keep in mind that I was reminded of before going:
‘ Don’t arrive late. Don’t leave before 6:00pm if you are still hungry. There’s more than enough meat per person (2.1lbs per guest), so you won’t leave hungry unless you leave early. In the first 30 minutes, all the chefs are getting crushed – don’t stand in the largest line you see, navigate to smaller lines. Grab your first glass of wine or beer and head to your favorite chef first, while your companion goes to your second favorite chef – grab plates of food for each other. Eat quickly, toss your plates in the trash (don’t worry, they’re biodegradable).‘
Now one of my favorite parts of this shindig was being introduced to this new sparkling product: DRY SPARKLING. This company created a product with the thought to pair it with gourmet food and create premium cocktails (both right up my alley!). I was able to grab a few bottles to play around with and was so excited with the results! First of all, I love a sparkling cocktail more than anything, and it’s almost impossible to make a bad drink with these. Simply add your favorite spirit, your DRY SPARKLING, and whatever garnish you like…voila!
^My first creation was using DRY’s Lavender with Chopin vodka…you don’t get an overwhelming lavender flavor but more of an herbal, floral touch to your cocktail. I then garnished with a sprig of rosemary and was done!
(Also great with the Rainier Cherry that comes in a can!)
^My second cocktail was with DRY’s Fuji Apple, vodka again, and sliced Fuji apples; there are very few cocktails that actually use apples (besides ciders which usually are overpowered by cinnamon) but it’s such a great flavor. You get a great combination of the sweetness from the apples with the creaminess of the vodka (I only drink Chopin which is made from potatoes and has an extremely smooth, creamy profile). Delicious!
^This variation on a gimlet is my go-to summer cocktail. I used DRY’s cucumber sparkling beverage, gin (which has great botanical flavors) and garnished with sliced cucumbers and a sprig of mint. Super refreshing and herbal with a hint of sweetness from the sparkling soda.
(I also tried the cucumber with vodka for a 2 ingredient cocktail…so easy and so good!)
Last but not least, the dessert cocktail mmmmmm! Now if you haven’t heard or tried DORDA Double Chocolate Liqueur, you are missing out!! Go to your local BevMo and grab a bottle right now! It’s seriously the most amazing thing ever invented…they simply melt bricks of European dark chocolate, mix it with Chopin vodka, and then pop it in the bottle for immediate chugging 🙂 It’s like a candy bar in a bottle. To make this cocktail, I mixed Dorda with a little Chopin vodka, and then poured DRY’s Vanilla Bean over it (is your mouth watering yet??). It’s not overly sweet and the dark chocolate and vanilla flavors together are insanely good. You’re welcome!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this ‘Napa Local Edition‘ for some alternative activities and home made cocktails you wouldn’t normally consider. Feel free to ask any questions about the event, vendors that participated, the cocktails or anything else you’re curious about. The next Heritage BBQ will be in San Francisco on October 16th! Find out more about it here.