Friday, February 29, 2008
COPIA, SWEETIE PIES, OXBOW MARKET...ALL IN NAPA
Thursday was a warm springlike day and the perfect day to head for Napa with my food-demo friend, Bev for a day at Copia, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts.
I always start my Copia visits with an early morning start at Sweetie Pies Bakery, which is a short drive to Copia.
My most favorite of Sweetie Pie's pastries is their Morning Bun, a sinful pastry made of puff pastry dough which is wound around a mix of cinnamon and suger...so yummy!
Their scones are very good too and Bev throughly enjoyed her pain chocolat, a croissant filled with chocolate.
After our pastries and tea in Sweetie Pie's cozy dining area, we headed to Copia.
Since my last visit, Copia has made some changes...now admission is FREE! But, one must pay for wine classes and food demos...somewhere between $20 and $25 per class; Copia members save $5 on each class. Also, Copia has decided to emphasize wine and has removed much of its food-related art...their "Forks in the Road" permanent exhibit remains and the current temporary exhibit is of wine photos from all 50 United States, but the art and sculpture that I also so enjoyed here, is all gone. We started our visit with the 10:15 docent-led orientation. I always take this free orientation tour as there is always something new to learn about Copia which was founded by chef Julia Child and winery owner Robert Mondavi.
While I've remained a fan of Copia since it opened, I've noticed that few people seem to visit. Most of my wine and foodie friends have not been here. I think the free admission will encourage visitors but fear the cost of classes may not bring in much revenue.
That said, Bev and I had a lovely day here...we took the Wine and Food Pairing Class during which we tasted two wines with sweet, sour, salty, and savory foods to see how food influences the taste of wine. The class lasted about 45 minutes and was excellent. We took time to walk through Copia's vast edible gardens and browsed in the gift shop and onsight restaurants.
Dining choices at Copia are the elegant, full service Julia's Kitchen restaurant and a more casual cafe. Outside Julia's Kitchen is the peg board from Julia Child's home, all filled up with her pots and pans.
Rather than have lunch at Copia, we decided to check out the newly-opened Oxbow Market next door to the Copia parking lot. This new market is something like San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Marketplace, but much smaller. It is a mix of casual restaurants, and shops of all kinds. We enjoyed the Venezualan food at Pica Pica...A warm ham and cheese on sweet cornbread for Bev and a Bululu Salad for me...a mix of corn, red bell pepper, jicama & pineapple, topped with a sweet vinaigrette..a perfect light lunch after our wine tasting class.
Open less than a week, Oxbow Market is still under construction, with many more businesses scheduled to open soon.
There is seating indoors and outside in the back. overlooking the Napa River...I know this will be a popular destination...and, being next door to Copia, I suggest visiting both if you come up this way.