The holidays have a way of seeping into every aspect of our lives, sometimes making wonderful places even more wonderful. It’s true with Disneyland, and it’s true with the Northern California adult Disneyland that is Napa Valley. We’ve gathered a list of a few of our favorites:
Sonoma Square Holiday (Nov. 12-Dec. 31, 2016)
“Holidays in Healdsburg” Tour (Daily Nov. 26 - Dec 31, 2016)
This gathering from Wine Country Walking Tours is so popular that it’s now become an annual event (view the calendar for all seasonal tour options). It centers around a four-hour guided Fine Wine and Foodie Walking Tour beginning at the festive tree lit Healdsburg Plaza. Then, you stroll the decorated tree lined streets throughout downtown, stopping at restaurants, tasting rooms and boutiques to savor freshly baked artisan breads, delicious chocolates and Ports, warm holiday spiced teas and delectable bites paired with wines all along the way. Day and evening tours are available.
San Francisco has the Dickens Fair, but Napa, of course, has the Dickens Dinner. The Dickens Dinners are a highlight of the year at Madrona Manor, when carolers wander the dining rooms, dressed in period clothing of 19th Century England, and The 12th Night Singers pause for private a-cappella serenades of “Jingle Bells” (complete with theatrical cracks for the whips) and breathtaking hymns. Michelin-star executive chef Jesse Mallgren prepares a five-course celebration of new and old holiday traditions, paired with wines.
Santé at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa puts together one of the most elaborate Christmas dinners to be found. This feast combines a lavish buffet made more delicious by holiday music. The menu from chefs Bruno Tison and Andrew Cain is extensive, with table after table of appetizers like house made pâté de campagne wrapped in Hobbs applewood smoked bacon; house made terrine of Liberty duck and organic pork in pastry; charcuterie; local and artisan cheeses; and caviar blinis.
There are salads, soups, and the showstoppers - carving stations featuring roasted all natural goose with spiced cranberry, apple and raisin relish; Niman Ranch beef tenderloin Wellington with mushrooms duxelle and sauce financière; and roasted marinated leg of venison with sauce poivrade. Other temptations include braised veal sweetbreads, roasted lamb shoulder à la Provençale, and dozens of hand-crafted desserts from pastry chef Dave Blom.