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Food and Wine

Food and Wine

From its five-star restaurants to its award-winning wines, Monterey County is a gourmet food lovers' paradise. With the seafood bounty of the Monterey Bay, a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables from the Salinas Valley, and the fine wines produced throughout the region, local chefs can create a meal you won't soon forget.

You might celebrate your anniversary with a romantic dinner for two in one of our charm-filled restaurants in Carmel, or bring the whole family to Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf for casual dining with a waterside view. An eclectic mix of ethnic cuisine is also available for the adventurous visitor. Try one of our many Thai or Pacific Rim restaurants, or Mexican taquerias. (Of course, if it's a good old-fashioned hamburger you crave, you can get that, too.) And don't forget to save room for dessert!

No visit to Monterey County would be complete without a trip to one of our many award-winning wineries. Chateau Julien Wine Estate, Paraiso Springs Vineyards, Chalone Vineyard, Smith & Hook WineryHahn Estates and Galante Vineyards are just a few of the wine labels you might recognize. With a whopping 40 tasting rooms to choose from, we guarantee you will be back again and again. Cheers!

Seen from the air, Monterey County seems a patchwork of sprightly greens and rich browns: thousands of intensively farmed acres. Few nights here see frost, except on the hillsides where cattle graze; even the hot, sunny inland valley is often tempered with fog on summer days. This moderate year-round climate allows our farmers to grow virtually any crop successfully, with tender lettuce, luscious strawberries and the prickly artichoke our best-known produce.

Food & Wine Events 2002

January | February | March | April | May | June | July
August | September | October | November | December

Year-round 2002  

Tuesdays Year-round
Old Monterey Market Place
Monterey: 831-655-8070
From 4-8pm April to October; 4-7pm November to March. Arts, crafts, collectibles, plus fresh produce, food stalls, and Baker's Alley.

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Thursdays Year-round
Farmer's Market
Monterey: 831-728-5060
Fresh produce and flowers every Thursday from 2pm to 6pm at Monterey Peninsula College's lower parking lot.

January 2002  

January 1
10th Annual Rio Grill Resolution Run
Carmel: 831-644-2427
This 6.8 mile foot race and 3-mile family fun run is set on a breathtaking cross-country course and benefits local nonprofit organizations.

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January 19
Valley of the World WineFest
Carmel: 831-757-3996
An annual wine tasting and auction to benefit a range of Monterey County charities.

February 2002  

February 1
Clam Chowder Feast
King City: 831-385-3243
Held at King City Fairgrounds from 3:30pm to 8pm, to benefit the museum at San Lorenzo Park.

February 14
Valentine's Dinner
Carmel: 831-620-8886
Romantic dinner at the Covey Restaurant in scenic Carmel Valley.

February 15
Love at the Aquarium Island Dance Party
Seaside: 831-649-1223
Fine wine, chocolate, and island sounds ranging from hot salsa to cool reggae, as you dance amid the fantastic tanks of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

February 16
Presidents' Day Celebration & Open House
Carmel: 877-659-2800
Visit the beautiful Joullian Vineyards to toast the Founding Fathers at this Saturday open house at the winery & vineyards.

February 21-25
16th Annual Masters of Food & Wine
Carmel: 831-620-1234
The world's leading international summit of the best food and wines. Rare wine tasting and food prepared by the best chefs in the world.

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February 22
Wine Tasting Seminar
Carmel Valley: 831-659-8100
Joullian Vineyards hosts a series of wine tastings in Spring 2002. This evening: (Red) Bordeaux Blending.

February 24
Great Taste of Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove: 831-373-2891
Sample food and wine presented by the area's finest restaurants and wineries at this gala event to benefit Pacific Grove schools.

February 27
Steinbeck's 100th Birthday Party
Monterey: 831-648-8132
A party in honor of Steinbeck's 100th birthday at the Monterey Conference Center, sponsored by the Cannery Row Foundation and the City of Monterey. Leon Panetta, keynote speaker; invited guests include Steinbeck's son, Thom. Free, 6-10pm.

March 2002  

March 10
Spring Floral Design
Carmel: 831-624-2600
Master the art of the flower, as an expert shares tips on flower arranging and design, offered in morning and afternoon sessions in the winery's conservatory.

March 10
Clam Chowder Festival
Monterey: 831-649-6544
Soup's on!at Fisherman's Wharf, as waterside restaurants offer samplings of their finest.

March 22
Wine Tasting Seminar
Carmel Valley: 831-659-8100
Joullian Vineyards hosts a series of wine tastings in Spring 2002. This evening: Tasting 101, the sensory evaluation of wine.

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March 24
Oscar Night Gala
Monterey: 831-646-0910
Email: [email protected]
A glamorous evening celebrating the Academy Awards. Dinner plus big screen telecast.

March 31
Easter Celebrations
Carmel: 831-620-8830
The Clubhouse will serve an extensive brunch - with a special buffet for kids and entertainment; in the evening, the Covey Restaurant serves an elegant four-course menu.

April 2002  

April 5
Taste of Old Monterey - and All That Jazz!
Monterey: 831-655-8070
Food and entertainment. Monterey County wines and a fun-filled epicurean extravaganza of downtown's international delights. Held at the Monterey Marriott Hotel.

April 6
Steinbeck Wine Country Spring Open House
Salinas Valley: 831-678-0300
Salinas Valley Tasting Rooms open their doors and welcome the public to get a taste of Monterey Wine Country. Complimentary wine tasting, light appetizers, hospitality, and music.

April 13
Culinary Classic
Salinas: 831-678-0300
The all-day (10:00am-4:00pm) Culinary Classic features celebrity chefs hosting cooking demonstrations, vendor booths with decorating and entertaining ideas, as well as kitchen equipment and specialty foods.

April 18-21
Monterey Wine Festival
Monterey: 831-656-WINE
"America's original wine festival," featuring California wines exclusively. Variety of tastings, educational seminars, cooking demonstrations and food events.

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April 20
Earth Day at Earthbound Farm
Carmel Valley: 831-625-6219
Down on the farm, they celebrate Earth Day with farm tours, bug walks, composting and planting demonstrations, and great activities for kids. Sample organic foods and beverages, too.

April 21
Wine & Art Festival
Carmel Valley: 831-624-2600
Local artists display their most treasured works, from ceramics to oils, throughout the cobblestone garden courtyard.

April 21
Treasures & Pleasures
Monterey: 831-647-9890
Auction and sale of treasures, old and new, as well as a fresh produce market, Monterey County wines and food from seven Carmel restaurants.

April 27
A Taste of Spring: Wine and Wildflowers
Carmel Valley: 831-659-2800
This springtime open house features wine tasting, vineyard and wildflower tours, and wine sale at the mountainside winery. Bring a picnic and enjoy grand views.

April 27
9th Annual Wildflower Walk
Salinas Valley: 831-678-1717
California poppies and purple lupines are a sweet complement to the lunch and wine-tasting at Chalone Vineyards. Call ahead for reservations.

May 2002  

Paraiso Springs Vineyards 8th Anniversary Open House
Soledad: 831-678-0300
Join the Smith Family as they celebrate 8 years since the opening of their tasting room in the vineyard. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres, wine tasting, music, great views, and Smith family hospitality.

May 3
Wine Tasting Seminar
Carmel Valley: 831-659-8100
Joullian Vineyards hosts a series of wine tastings in Spring 2002. This evening: (White) Bordeaux Blending.

May 5
May Springfest
Carmel: 831-626-3779
Celebrate the coming of spring with an afternoon of live music, dancing, Chateau Julien wines, and a delicious array of Swiss specialities including chocolate!

May 12 TBC
Mother's Day Wine and Chocolate Pairing
Salinas Valley: 831-678-2132
Mothers and others can explore the mysteries of pairing chocolate and wines at Hahn Estates/Smith & Hook Winery.

May 15
"Seafood Choices: What's for Dinner?"
Monterey: 831-633-6565
Lecture series at the Monterey Bay Aquarium presents chefs, scientists, and conservationist, discussing sustainable seafood. Optional pre-lecture dinner event; seating limited, so reserve early.

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May 16
Monterey Wine Competition Grand Wine Tasting
King City: 831-385-3243
Taste the medal winners at the 2002 Monterey Wine Competition. Located at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City.

May 17
Wine Tasting Seminar
Carmel Valley: 831-659-8100
Joullian Vineyards hosts a series of wine tastings in Spring 2002. This evening: Chardonnay Blending.

May 17-18
Springtime at La Mirada
Monterey: 831-372-5477
Delicious food, guest speakers, and bountiful rose gardens enhance these two days in which local artists display and sell their works.

May 17-19
Cooking for Solutions
Monterey: 831-644-7561
Celebrity chefsincluding Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant, Portland (OR), and Nora Pouillon of Asia Nora, Washington, DCare featured in a three-day extravaganza dedicated to sustainable seafood.

May 18
Spring Winemaker Dinner
Carmel: 831-624-2600
The winery's garden cobblestone courtyard offers the ideal setting for this brilliant spring evening in the Valley. Enjoy new releases, barrel samplings and a delightful spring buffet.

May 18-19
Castroville Artichoke Festival
Castroville: 831-633-2465
Sample the many unique flavors of the artichoke in a fiesta atmosphere, with tasteful treats, musical entertainment, arts and crafts. Admission: $6 for adults and $3 for children.

May 19
Calamari Fest
Monterey: 831-649-6544
Discover the delectable and delicate taste of Monterey Bay squid in their Italian disguise: calamari. A 'Best Choice' seafood in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide.

June 2002  

June 15
13th Annual Art & Wine Festival
Carmel: 831-624-8886
Taste the wines of local wineries, stroll the gardens and see exhibiting local artists, listen to live music and sample food.

June 21
Wine & Cigar Dinner
Carmel: 831-624-8886
Hand-rolled Dominican Republic cigars paired with each course, served in the winery's conservatory.

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June 29
Annual Zin-Q
Carmel: 877-659-2800
Zinfandel Release Party & BBQ at Joullian Vineyards. Wine tasting, vineyard tours, a picnic under the sun and wine sale are on the agenda between 11:00am and 4:00pm.

July 2002  

July 14
Summer Jamboree
Carmel Valley: 831-624-2600
Chateau Julien's day of non-stop music, endless gaiety, terrific food and great wine discounts.

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July 20
Crab Feed
Salinas Valley: 831-674-5522
Jekel Vineyards adds tasty crustacea to samplings of their white wines at this gourmet afternoon.

July 26-28
Gilroy Garlic Festival
Gilroy: 408-842-1625
Gourmet garlic food fair with arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, children's area, three stages of musical entertainment and 65 food booths.

August 2002  

August 3-4
Turkish Festival
A celebration of Turkish culture and arts, featuring live music and folk dances, dance workshops, belly dancing, arts & crafts, delicious food, and activities for children.

August 3-4
Strawberry Festival
Watsonville: 831-728-6183
Arts and crafts fair, food and strawberry treats. Pie-eating contest, multiple music stages and kids' activities.

August 10
10th Annual Winemaker's Celebration
Monterey: 831-375-9400
Over 25 Monterey County wineries will pour new releases and special wines. Also featuring educational exhibits (grapevine pruning, barrel building, cork display), live music and silent auction.

August 11
Tasting Room Open House
Monterey: 831-372-7415
Ventana Vineyards hosts an open house in their conveniently located tasting rooms.

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August 25
Jewish Food Festival
Carmel Valley: 831-625-5460
A celebration of Jewish foods like latkes and bialys, strudel and kugelhopf, plus Jewish culture: Klezmer music, crafts, cooking demos, folk dancing, art exhibits, more.

August 25
Savor Monterey Peninsula
Carmel Valley: 831-648-5356
Evening event held at Chateau Julien Wine Estate, with live music, silent auction, food and wine. Call for tickets.

August 31 - September 1
Annual Monterey Bay Reggae Fest
Monterey: 831-394-8047
Reggae crowds enjoy the gentle music, ethnic arts & crafts from around the world, and authentic Caribbean food.

August 31 - September 1
15th Annual Greek Festival
Monterey: 831-424-4434
An ethnic festival featuring authentic Greek food -from dolmades and gyros to baklava, live music, traditional dancing, a taverna and crafts.

September 2002  

September 1
2002 Galante Vineyards Summer Sounds Concert
Carmel Valley: 800-GALANTE
Enjoy great wine while you dance on rose petals at Galante Vineyards and listen to the music of singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith.

September 7
Taste a Rising Star
Soledad: 831-678-0300
Celebration of Syrah and the coming 2002 harvest in intimate evening setting. Tours of night harvesting and Syrah punchdowns.

September 7-8
Festa Italia-Santa Rosalia Festival
Monterey: 831-649-6544
Italian music, bocce competitions, arts and crafts, delicious Italian food.

September 12
Taste of the Valley
Salinas: 831-424-7611
This food and wine festival is part of "A Salute to Agriculture" and boasts the bounty of Salinas Valley with gourmet recipes, Monterey County wines and floral displays.

September 15
TomatoFest 2002
Carmel: 831-620-8886
Help celebrate Julia Child's 90th birthday, at the largest tomato tasting event in the nation, featuring more than 200 varieties of tomatoes and 50 different tomato dishes created by the best chefs in the region.

September 19
Taste of the Valley
Salinas: 831-424-7611
This food and wine festival is part of "A Salute to Agriculture" and boasts the bounty of Salinas Valley with gourmet recipes, Monterey County wines and floral displays.

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September 21
Days of Wine and Roses
Carmel: 1-800-GALANTE
Enjoy a walking tour of the vineyards, rose gardens and winery, followed by an outdoor luncheon with music, games and, of course, Galante wines. Reserve early.

September 21
Heavenly Night Harvest Fest
Soledad: 831-678-0300
Celebration of Syrah and the coming 2002 harvest in intimate evening setting at Paraiso Springs Winery. Tours of night harvesting and Syrah punchdowns.

September 21
Oceans Fair
Monterey: 831-647-4255
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the National Marine Sanctuary Monterey Bay. Free festival, with entertainment, food, an ocean treasure hunt for kids, and lots of information about our precious oceans.

September 27
Harvest Wine Seminar
Carmel: 831-624-2600
Participate in the excitement of harvest! The whole crew will be present to crush grapes and dine "family-style" in the cellar.

September 28
Grape Stomp & Barbecue
Soledad: 831-751-1980, ext 10
Help "let the juice loose" at this fun-filled Taste of Monterey event at Smith & Hook/Hahn Estates winery. Grape-crushing, vineyard tours, barrel tastings, and more.

October 2002  

October 6
Carmel: 831-626-3779
German music, German food, and of course, great beer.

October 12
7th Annual New Release Harvest Open House
Carmel Valley: 800-GALANTE
Meet Galante Vineyards' winemaker and owner in a casual setting and learn about their wines and the winemaking process.

October 12-13
6th Annual Indian Summer Music Festival
Carmel Valley: 831-649-1223
Enjoy fine Monterey County wines, gourmet food and great music on the lawn at Quail Lodge.

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October 12-13
9th Annual Old Monterey Seafood & Music Festival
Fresh seafood, live music and crafts, all around Custom House Plaza and Alvarado Street.

October 19
The Great Pumpkin Festival
Salinas Valley: 831-386-0316
You don't have to be Linus or Charlie Brown to love Schied Vineyard's Great Pumpkin Festival.

October 20
Taste of Carmel
Carmel: 831-624-2522
Local restaurants and wineries showcase their food and wine. Live and silent auctions, entertainment.

November 2002  

November 7-10
6th Annual Great Wine Escape Weekend
Monterey: 831-375-9400
Visit Monterey County wineries and restaurants as they roll out the red carpet for a weekend of open houses, winemaker dinners, tours and entertainment. More than 30 Monterey County wineries will be pouring!

November 9
Fall Winemaker Dinner
Carmel Valley: 831-624-2600
Dine amid candlelight and aging oak barrels in the winery's Chai. The one night of the year that the winery's barrel room is open to dine.

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November 28
Thanksgiving at Quail Lodge
Carmel: 831-620-8830
Enjoy a traditional buffet and carving stations at the Clubhouse with children's room and live music, or an elegant four-course, prix fix menu at The Covey.

December 2002  

December TBA
Chalone Vineyards Open House
Carmel Valley: 831-678-1717
Nibble cheese, taste the wines, and snack on cookies while exploring the winery.

December TBA
Inns of Carmel Tour
Carmel: 831-624-4447
Carmel Heritage Society guides you to the village's handsomest, most historic inns. Reservations recommended.

December 3
Christmas at the Inns
Pacific Grove: 831-373-3304
Take a self-guided tour of several bed & breakfast inns, all decked out in holiday splendor. Entertainment and refreshments served.

December 7
4th Annual Wine & Wreaths Open House
Carmel Valley: 831-659-2800
Attendees are invited to wind their own grapevine wreath from Joullian's cuttings. Wine tasting and picnic area a must.

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December 8
Holiday Homescapes
Carmel Valley: 831-624-2600
Held at Chateau Julien; great ideas for home decorating and intriguing recipes for your holiday celebrations.

December 8
23rd Annual Open House
Soledad: 831-678-2132
Visit Smith & Hook/Hahn Estates to make your holiday wreaths. Live holiday music, barrel sampling of unreleased wines, plus snacks.

December 24-25
Christmas at Quail Lodge
Carmel: 831-620-8830
Savor old fashioned European Christmas recipes in the resort's famous restaurants overlooking Mallard Lake: both dinners and brunch feature traditional holiday fare.

December 31
New Year's Eve Gala
Carmel: 831-620-8830
Ring in the New Year at the Quail Lodge Gala. Includes cocktails, a spectacular dinner menu and dancing.

December 31
New Year's Eve Celebrations
Enjoy bringing in the New Year with elegance and style.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach
831- 624-3811
The Inn at Spanish Bay

Food & Wine Events
View all food and wine-related events throughout the year.

News & Events
Monterey on the Food Network
On July 7 (2:00pm PST) and July 13 (4:00pm PST), some of Monterey Bay's tastiest denizensand most talented cooks appear on The Food Network's popular program, Food Nation with Bobby Flay. Host Bobby Flay will sample a Moss Landing restaurant and study the culture of artichokes in Castroville before moving on to Monterey.

Local wine-merchant A Taste of Monterey will provide a luscious tasting of county vintages to accompany the traditional Italian 'cucina alla Nona', or grandmother's cuisine, prepared for the program by Bert Cutino (of Sardine Factory fame) and his mother-in-law, Nancy Mangiapani.

August Is Winemakers' Month
On August 10, the 10th Annual Winemakers' Celebration takes over the historic environs of Monterey's Custom House Plaza for a gala afternoon of open-air wine-tasting. Look for some of the region's biggest names (including Chateau Julien, Jekel Vineyards and Hahn Estates), but don't miss sampling wines by smaller wineries such as San Saba, Chalone, and Paraiso Springs.

For more details, visit the website or phone 831-375-9400.

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What's In Season?
There's scarcely a day in the year when the motorist rolling through Monterey County won't see a lush field of sprouting, blooming, ready-to-harvest... err, whatever.

Until you pick up a guide to common farmyard plants, here's a quick seasonal guide to which crops peak whenbut as they say in Monterey's farmer's market, "Around here, we can grow strawberries 13 months a year."

January broccoli, leeks
February Brussels sprouts
March green onions
April artichokes, cauliflower
May artichokes
June strawberries
July romaine, leaf lettuces
August spinach, fennel
September iceberg lettuce
October broccoli, celery
November Brussels sprouts, iceberg lettuce
December fennel