Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Picnicking in the Napa Valley - Part I

I've written about some dining options in Napa (see my March 27, 2006 post on Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and May 9, 2006 post on Auberge du Soleil), but sometimes folks prefer a casual picnic at a winery. The first step in having a great picnic is getting quality food. There are three places I recommend in the Napa Valley.

First is the Oakville Grocery in the small town of Oakville. Located at the intersection of Hwy. 29 and Oakville Cross, this store doesn't look like much from the outside. Walk inside and you'll find a wide selection of prepared foods as well as a counter where you can order sandwiches and salads. This place tends to get mobbed at lunch time, so try to pick up your supplies early. There are a few picnic tables at the Grocery, so you enjoy your lunch under one of their redwoods if you prefer.

In the northern part of the Valley, the town of St. Helena has two places to pick up food and supplies. Dean and Deluca is located just south of the heart of St. Helena on Hwy. 29. This branch of a national chain has great cheese and deli counters as well as a counter that has prepared salads and makes sandwiches and salads on the spot. Less known in St. Helena is Sunshine Foods, which is at 1115 Main Street in the heart of St. Helena. This local grocery store has a counter that makes excellent sandwiches and salads and sells delicious prepared salads. Sunshine also has a wide selection of artisan cheeses. While Dean and Deluca has a bigger selection, Sunshine Market is far less crowded.

The next step on having a good picnic is finding the right picnic spot. I'll recommend some spots in my next post. Meanwhile if you would like to take a private, custom tour of the Napa Valley that includes a picnic lunch, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here. I always carry a cooler and picnic supplies, so you will have everything you need for a great lunch in Napa.

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