Get Fired Up: Best Cooking Classes in Healdsburg, Sonoma and Napa
Many wine travelers looking for things to do in Sonoma County seek out the best wineries, wine tours, outdoor activities and attractions, and if you’re a food lover, that means cooking classes in Healdsburg, Sonoma or Napa should be at the top of your foodie vacation must-do list. Here are four of the best cooking class experiences offered during the Sonoma County and Napa Valley harvest season. Events are fairly intimate and sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve tickets in advance. Most offer cooking classes year-round, though fall harvest themes are noted in select descriptions.
Best Sonoma Cooking Classes
A hands-on culinary adventure like those offered at Relish in Healdsburg is not to be missed. Relish is the only culinary school that brings together talented chefs and fabulous, farm-fresh cuisine at several gorgeous rural locations in Sonoma County wine country to create authentic cooking classes and culinary tours. In July 2017, Relish announced a new Farm-to-Table Interactive Cooking Luncheon co-hosted with Jordan Winery during September and October, featuring breakfast in the Jordan garden, harvesting fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, farmer’s market shopping and a hands-on cooking class and luncheon with Jordan wines at Relish Culinary Center, just off the Healdsburg square. This food-and-wine-pairing experience is limited to 12 guests and only those of legal drinking age.
Located in a Spanish Mission-style building a few blocks from the historic Sonoma square, Ramekins hosts cooking classes a few times a week, from the heirloom tomato extravangaza and stone fruit celebrations to perfecting pizza and pie workshops. The property also hosts weddings and has a small hotel with six guest suites.
Other companies offering Sonoma cooking classes include The Epicurean Connection (Sonoma), Williams-Sonoma (downtown Sonoma) and Sur La Table (Santa Rosa).
Best Napa Cooking Classes
Considered one of the best Napa cooking schools, Silverado Cooking School offers fast-paced, hands-on cooking courses led by professional chefs. Themes include Italian cooking sessions, Napa Farmers’ Market Lunch, cheese classes, stone fruit tree farm lunch and more. Classes are limited to up to 16 people, and they do allow teenagers, though many companies book these Napa cooking classes as team-building exercises for employees. After the dishes are completed, everyone joins together at a communal table to enjoy the meal with wine pairings. Chef Malcolm is highly recommended by past students.
Since 2005, Julie and her guest chefs have been teaching Napa Valley cooking classes. Guests rave on social media about her wealth of information, the fresh ingredients and most importantly, the fun. Students meet at the Napa or St. Helena Farmers’ Market and shop for their ingredients before heading to Julie’s kitchen for a hands-on cooking class, where attendees create a three-course meal from scratch with wine pairings. Classes are held at a private location with a well-equipped kitchen, so the address is withheld until booking. She also offers private classes, offering flexibility on date, time and location–cooking with Julie in your own kitchen is even an option.
The Culinary Institute of America (Greystone and Copia)
The pioneer in Napa cooking classes, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has operated its culinary college at Greystone in St. Helena since 1995. Students attend culinary classes full-time here, but travelers are also welcome to join the fun through hands-on cooking and wine tasting classes. From baking artisan breads to learning how to cook a South American feast in your own home to learning the basics of food and wine pairing, there is a class for everyone.
The CIA’s newest location, the CIA at Copia, located in the heart of downtown Napa, is the CIA’s first facility dedicated to offering a variety of food, wine and community experiences to the public, not just students. Experiences include interactive cooking classes, wine tasting and food pairing classes, restaurant dining, shopping in the lifestyle store, community events and more. The CIA at Copia is the ultimate Napa Valley destination for food and wine lovers.