As the only agricultural preserve in the United States, Napa Valley is home to some of the best wineries, restaurants, and culinary innovations in the country.
The seeds of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) were planted back in 1946 by culinary educators Frances Roth and Katharine Angell as a vocational training school for World War II veterans. Its founders could not have known just how fruitful the CIA would become: today, the CIA has evolved into the purveyor of the world’s best culinary education—and is a gastronomical tour d’ force that welcomes travelers who have an appetite to dig deeper into the culinary culture of the Napa Valley region.
Pioneering Food & Wine Pairings
The doors of the CIA’s first West Coast location, Napa Valley at Greystone, opened in 1995. The magnificent 19th-century facility was once home to the Christian Brothers Winery and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Initially, the CIA at Greystone offered continuing-education programs for foodservice professionals, but within three short years, it had launched its first-ever Worlds of Flavor® Conference and Festival and established its reputation as an international culinary pioneer. Next, Greystone added its associate-degree program in the culinary arts, and it opened the Gatehouse Restaurant, focusing on food and wine pairing.
An 80,000-square-foot Culinary Think Tank
Fast-forward to 2016, when one Napa Valley campus became two. The CIA at Copia, located in the heart of downtown Napa, was planned by Napa pioneers Robert and Margrit Mondavi. Visitors to the 80,000-square-foot foodie playground can get a peek at the 4,000-piece personal cookware collection of Williams-Sonoma’s founder, Chuck Williams, sample stellar American fare at the sleek restaurant, take cooking and wine-tasting classes taught by CIA experts, and enjoy curated tasting events.
So just what makes the CIA such a can’t-miss experience? This renowned institution knows that culinary culture is determined not only by impeccable technique, but also through ethical farming methods, nutritional alchemy, sustainable terroir, and communal experiences.