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creations from France, Bouchon Bak- ery is quite simply the best bakery not in Paris. Choose from a selection of freshly baked muffins, breads, quiches, sandwiches, tarts and even pet treats but don’t leave without sampling the signature chocolate bouchons. But it’s possible to enjoy the small-


town atmosphere without having to take a loan. Shopping and art galleries complete the experience. If you anticipate a complete day of wine-tasting, it might be wise to look into the Napa Valley Wine Train. The three-hour, 36-mile trip connects Napa and St. Helena with stops in between for different winery tours. There are options for lunch and din- ner on board. Other restaurants to consider


include The Girl & The Fig, a cozy, French bistro on nearby Sonoma Square. The imaginative menu is packed with local ingredients and guests who grab a table in the outside courtyard enjoy an intimate setting which makes you linger well after the meal is over. Natural fig dishes permeate the menu and are best uti- lized in a signature


1 The Girl & The Fig 2 Napa Valley CC


2 1


salad, house- made fig cake and fig kiss cocktail. Dean &


Deluca is perfect for diners on the go or an af- ternoon snack in between wine tastings


on St. Helena Highway. With more than 1,400 wine offerings and fresh produce that is grown just miles from the store, this is not your average mar- ket. Browse the bakery and handmade chocolate case or grab a freshly-made sandwich or salad crafted to your lik- ing in the elegant displays throughout the store.


Bottega Napa Valley sits in down-


town Yountville. Bold Italian flavors dominate the menu. Caprese salad with whipped mozzarella burrata is a perfect starter while Rigatoni tomato braised Sonoma rabbit sugo and black garlic spaghetti with prawns are two of the best homemade pasta dishes. Pastry chef Michael Glissman delights with the cookie and biscotti


plate and tiramisu profiteroles. An overnight stay is necessary for


golfers wanting to truly experience all the region has to offer. Auberge du Soleil is one of the finest (and most expensive) properties in the state, but the setting, food and attention to detail will not disappoint. A drink and appetizer on the wraparound deck provide an indication for those not staying at the resort. A more rea- sonable option, Napa Valley Lodge, sits in the middle of Yountville central to many of the wineries and restau- rants while national chains such as Holiday Inn Express dot the outskirts of the area.


As wine-tasting regions have


proliferated—it seems like every chamber of commerce around the country touts the local wineries— it’s comforting to know that Napa, with more than 300 wineries growing many different varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, among others, is still the best destination for wine travel. The region’s terrific golf and proximity mean Northern Califor- nians are just a short drive away from a world-class vacation.


40 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2011


PHOTO: STEVEN KRAUSE


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