It is hard to resist stopping into a chocolate shop when you can see one of their chocolatiers working right in the window, mixing up delicious looking batches of ganache for truffles and bon bons. This very scene is what made me poke my head into Kollar Chocolates, in Yountville, after a friend of mine pointed me in their direction and said I should check them out. The beautiful chocolate shop is relatively new to the area, but already seems to be becoming a favorite with local chocoholics.
The shop is located in the V Marketplace, right on the main street in Yountville. It’s a beautifully appointed shop, with a warm, but modern aesthetic – and the chocolate bar wall at the back of the store is definitely eye catching. Of course, the real draw is the case at the front of the store that is loaded up with beautiful chocolates. They have a mix of molded (shaped) bon bons and enrobed (square) bon bons, with a mixture of milk and dark chocolate options. There was a lot of variety to choose from, from munchable chocolate barks to truffles with locally-sourced herbs, wine and liqueurs as flavoring. It also looked like this shop primarily used Valrhona chocolate in their candies.
Addendum is an annex to the restaurant Ad Hoc in Yountville, California. Ad Hoc is the most casual of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, serving one set 3-course menu every night. All of the food is served to each table family-style, and you don’t know what is going to be on the menu until that day. The food is always good and it’s a very fun concept. The restaurant is only open for dinner, however, and plenty of people who would love to be able to stop in for lunch.
Addendum is the answer to this little problem.
It is a small building out in back of Ad Hoc where you can pick up a boxed lunch featuring either fried chicken or barbecue pork, two of Ad Hoc’s most popular menu items. The lunch includes two small sides and a piece of cornbread, as well as a fairly generous serving of the main protein, for $16.50. Addendum is only open from 11:00am-2:00pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.
Food-lovers who have been to San Francisco always stop by the Ferry Building, a marketplace that showcases some of the Bay Area’s most well-loved artisan food producers and home to one of the city’s most famous farmers markets. The Oxbow Public Market in Downtown Napa has the same kind of feeling as the Ferry Building, but on a smaller and even more accessible scale. The market houses artisan food producers selling something for just about everyone, whether you want goodies to take home or something to snack on while you’re out, from top-notch cuts of meat to locally produced cheeses to tacos and pastries.
The market is indoors, with about two dozen permanent vendors inside the main court. Some of my favorites include the Oxbow Cheese Merchant, where you can sample and buy all kinds of delicious cheeses, and Whole Spice, which carries more salts and spices than you could know what to do with (although they have plenty of suggestions for great ways to use them). You can pick up some bread to pair with any cheese you get at Model Bakery and some olive oil for dipping at the Olive Press.
The Model Bakery has been a fixture in the Napa Valley for more than 80 years, supplying fans with freshly baked bread, pastries and other goodies. Their main location is in the town of St Helena, but the bakery recently opened up another location in downtown Napa at Oxbow Market, which makes their artisan breads even more available. When you walk into the bakery, you smell the bread being made and you can see bakers hard at work in the impressive kitchen behind the retail area.
The most well-known item on the Model Bakery menu is the english muffin. Their muffins are are big, chewy and handmade – definitely not the same muffin you’re going to find in your typical grocery store, although they still do have lots of “nooks and crannies” to soak up butter and jam. They’ve been featured on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, recommended by Michael Chiarello. They’ve also been known to sell out on particularly busy mornings, so if you are in Napa during the peak of the holiday season, you’ll want to make sure to stop by early to pick one up for breakfast.
If someone handed you the keys to a car, told you to take few days off and go for a drive, where would you go? Your answer to this question depends a little bit on where you live and what is around you, as some people might want to spend some time visiting family and friends nearby and some might want to leave town for a real road trip. For me, the answer is to take a drive to Napa – which is just far enough away from my home in Southern California to feel like a real vacation and is where you can find some of the best food and wine in the country.