Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

Summer Festivals in Monterey

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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As many know, the Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth. From the rugged coastline of Big Sur and the serene inlets of Moss Landing’s Elkhorn Slough to the winding trails of Carmel Valley and the Fort Ord National Monument, there is something for everyone. While those attractions are available throughout the year, some of the Peninsula’s most popular attractions only come around every 365 days.

Monterey and the surrounding area have long been synonymous with music and art of many kinds and nothing exemplifies that better than the summer festivals that make Monterey their home. The granddaddy is the Monterey Jazz Festival September 20-23, 2013. The longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, the MJF has continued to hold its September dates since 1958 and has features some of the biggest names in Jazz and popular music. Not to be outdone is the Carmel Bach Festival which is celebrating its 76th year with 15 days of performances, talks and educational events July 13-27, 2013.

 

Monterey stamped itself on the counterculture scene with the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, which was the blueprint for future musical spectacles like Woodstock and Lollapalooza and continues the tradition today, although with a slightly mellower vibe. The California Roots Music & Arts festival gets the summer started right, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26, 2013. The good times continue August 9-11, 2013 with the Monterey Bay Reggaefest. In its 18th year, the festival is one of the largest in Northern California and features over 20 performers.

The ear has been satisfied, but how about the mouth? The food festival season kicks off with Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The three day event, May 17-19, 2013, focuses on sustainability and environmental stewardship in the food and beverage industry.  Also that weekend is the 54th annual Castroville Artichoke Festival. Celebrate California’s newly crowned State Vegetable and soak in a bit of history as the Festival counts a young Marilyn Monroe as one of their first “Artichoke Queens.” Memorial Day weekend features the Great Monterey Clam Chowder & Calamari Festival as two of the peninsula’s favorite seafood dishes collide at Custom House Plaza behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. If you are a wine lover, the area also plays host to the Monterey Wine Festival, June 7-8, 2013 and the Winemaker’s Celebration on August 10, 2013.  Both showcase the best of Monterey County’s vast winemaking region which was recently named one of the “Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Ear; check. Mouth; check, but what about your eyes? Monterey also hosts a number of summertime art festivals and while music and food are certainly considered art, these are the traditional forms are highlighted at events like the Carmel Art Festival May 16-19, 2013. With its origins as a bohemian artist colony, Carmel-By-The-Sea plays host as the 20th annual event that showcases visual arts, sculpture, a judged plein air painting competition and much more. Three weeks later, the Valley gets into the act with the Carmel Valley Art & Wine Festival June 8, 2013. Carmel Valley Village comes alive as over 60 artists and art galleries display their works. Sand City, Monterey County’s hotbed of alternative art and vision hosts the Sand City West End Celebration August 23-25, 2013. Known for its independent and irreverent artistic atmosphere, the West End Celebration features and open air artist’s fair throughout the streets and the public is invited into the many studios and creative spaces that call Sand City home.

So if the dog days of summer are getting you down or you need to break for the coast to beat the heat, cruise into Monterey County and enjoy the eclectically rich summer festival scene. There truly is something for everyone!

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Friday, March 29th, 2013
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Photo By Patrick Tregenza ©

Not since the days of Bacchus, has a feast so sumptuous, splendid and stupendous been laid out as will be gracing the grounds of Pebble Beach for the 6th Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine, April 4-7, 2013. Each year, the event seems to top the previous year’s offering and this year will be no different. Take over 100 of the world’s top chefs, mix in world class food and wine, a liberal dash of glitz and glamour and you’ve got the PBF&W. The event, which started as the rebirth of the Masters of Food and Wine, brings food and drink to the forefront through a series of interactive seminars, tastings, dinners, receptions, screenings and demonstrations. From the most revered names in the industry, like Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud to chefs with a style all their own, like Guy Fieri and Morimoto Yamaguchi, Pebble Beach Food & Wine packs more into four days than most people can experience in a lifetime. With events numbering more than weeks in the year, 54 in total, your every need and want can be met and then some, why not take a break from the gastronomic action enjoy a casual walk or bike ride along the Coastal Recreation Trail and breathe in the rejuvenating salt air of the Monterey Bay. Or, if something more relaxing is needed, book a day at the award-winning Portola Hotel’s Spa on the Plaza or tee it up on one of the Peninsula’s many golf courses. This is an amazing event, set against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful places in the world. Make sure you reserve your place at the table!

Big Sur Food & Wine

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
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 Photo © Big Sur Food & Wine

Big Sur has been the location of movies and commercials and an inspiration to beatniks and metaphysical practitioners. It is beautiful, rugged and has been called the “greatest meeting of land and sea” by poet, Robinson Jeffers. And, while several thousand people call it home, interestingly, there is no actual city or town of Big Sur. What better way to properly celebrate this wonderful mish-mash of quintessentially Californian attributes, than to have a food and wine festival in its honor!

The Big Sur Food & Wine Festival runs Thursday, November 1st through the 4th and features a bevy of out of the box food and wine centric events, just like the region itself. Friday’s offerings feature the beginning of the Hiking with Stemware series with allows participants to take in the beauty of Big Sur on foot along with the beautiful taste of some of the area’s best wines. The events feature meals al fresco from local chef’s and are often paired with an inside look at artisan producers from around the state.

Evenings embrace the wild mystery of the area with events like the Wine & Swine and a series of Winemaker’s Dinners. These limited seating events feature small batch wineries paired with the creations of local chefs. The nighttime activities conclude with the After Parties at the Henry Miller Library. This venue has played host to a Who’s Who of American creative genius from Jack Kerouac to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and this weekend features music, wine, food and fun.

There is a wonderful mix of events throughout the weekend so you can choose to try a taste or go whole hog. The event organizers have graciously provided shuttle transportation for some of the events so be sure to check the Big Sur Food & Wine website for more details. As food and wine festivals go, this one may give you a little more than you bargained for; and that’s a good thing!

Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival

Friday, October 19th, 2012
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The Salinas Valley is widely known as the “Salad Bowl of the World”. From strawberries and lettuce to artichokes and broccoli, much of our nation’s produce comes from this fertile region. So it should come as no surprise that one of the fastest growing events in Monterey County is the Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival. The fun begins on Saturday October 20th at noon and runs until 5pm. Featuring world class wine and gourmet food, the event highlights the culture of the Salinas Valley and takes over six square blocks of Oldtown Salinas. The event is free to the public and those wishing to taste wine and beer can purchase a wristband.

In addition to the gourmet highlights of the day, a variety of art and activities are also available including musical acts performing throughout the day and a classic car show. The National Steinbeck Center also plays host to a VIP Pavilion starring an additional 150 vendors. In addition to food exhibitors the VIP Pavilion an additional 50 wineries and 30 breweries will be on site. The Portola Hotel & Spa’s very own Peter B’s Brewpub will be on site, pouring some of their famous craft beers. So come experience the bounty and the rich culture of the Salinas Valley at the Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival!

Wine Trolley Package for 2

Friday, October 5th, 2012
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Wine is one of those strange and wonderful things that for some is the means to a good time and for others it is the time itself. It is the most ancient of libations and one that through the ages has been enjoyed by princes and paupers alike. There are many ways to experience wine. It could be over a fine dinner or at home with friends, but nothing beats experiencing wine at the source; the tasting room. And nothing complements the tasting room like an expertly guided tour of several of the region’s best aboard an open air Wine Trolley. With more grapes grown in the Monterey County region than in any other area in California, Monterey County wines are quickly becoming some of the most sought after varietals in the country. Your five hour guided tour stops at five of the area’s finest boutique wineries while taking in the sites along the way.

Your package also includes a stay in one of the Portola Hotel & Spa’s nautically inspired guest rooms, a warm chocolate chip cookie upon arrival and breakfast buffet for two at Jacks Restaurant. In addition you’ll also receive complimentary corkage fees at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and access to the outdoor heated pool, relaxing cabanas, Jacuzzi and state of the art fitness center.

Fine wine, a journey of discovery that awakens the pallet, comfortable lodging and more. Salud!

For more information about the Wine Trolley Package for 2