Answers from Our Experts (1)
You can't help but load your bags with food gifts in Napa — the valleys produce some of the highest-quality nibbles and tipples around. Here's what I stocked up on during a recent trip to the area:
Wine. As you hop from winery to winery, you'll inevitably find a wine you want to share with friends at home. Since many of California's boutique vineyards don't distribute far and wide, you'll just have to buy a bottle (or two) while you're onsite.
Spices. Napa is serious about cooking (with restaurants like The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood to prove it) and the area's spices are second to none. Lavender flowers and powders are a good buy — you'll likely see lavender-flavored sweets on more than one menu during your visit — and for savory dishes, I love the Napa Valley Rub from Whole Spice at Napa's Oxbow Public Market.
Olive oil. Another Napa staple, olive oil is seemingly sold in every store. You'll see tastings, too, especially during olive season each winter. A couple of great shops in downtown: The Olive Press and Napa Valley Olive Oil.
Baked goods. There must be something about the water that makes Napa the perfect place to bake — or, more likely, there must be something about the local products like grapeseed flour that bakers use to elevate their goods. Either way, don't miss famous stops like Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in Yountville or Model Bakery in Napa and St. Helena.