Raise your glass to the Golden State

Calling all food and wine enthusiasts, we reckon California is just the place for you. Discover the best bits of the Golden State on this 10 day jaunt, from the urban jungle of San Francisco to the bread-basket lands of Sacramento and the sun-kissed wine valleys Napa, Sonoma and Calistoga; California certainly packs quite a punch.

city slicking

Start your adventure in San Francisco. The undeniably cool capital of originality and free thinking, San Francisco is simply bursting with vibrancy and innovation. Pick up your wheels and head to the city towards the Clift Hotel. An art lover’s paradise, the hotel is adorned with pieces by Philippe Starck, chairs from Ray and Charles Eames, and a coffee table by the master himself, Salvador Dali. For the next few days let us at Black Tomato show you the highlights of San Fran.

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First, we’ll let you in on some of San Francisco’s foodie and cultural gems. With an Eastern influence running through the veins of the city, it’s no surprise that San Francisco is home to North America’s largest Chinatown. Wander the bustling streets unveiling exotic trinkets, and Asian foodie delights around every turn. Head to the hippie district of Haight Street where vintage hideaways and cafes fill the streets, in no time you’ll be easing into the San Francisco way of life. After an adrenalin rush? We’ll take you to the skies for views of the city’s landmarks from your private helicopter tour. Or why not get out of town and explore the Southern coastline by kayak? Skim across the Pacific Ocean whilst drifting past seal colonies and mesmerising cliffs. If you prefer a more stable sea voyage then we’ll arrange a private cruise around the Bay, marvelling at the Golden Gate Bridge as the sun sets.

golden Sacramento

Once you’ve had your city fix discover the old historic charm of Sacramento. It may be 150 years since the Gold Rush but the capital of California still boasts a wealth of museums, great restaurants, and perfectly manicured parks and gardens. Staying overnight at the Citizen Hotel, discover the 20th century grace of the region in 21st century urban luxury. With all that stunning mountain scenery, fresh air and sunshine the only way to see the best of Sacramento is by bike. Hit the pedals and take a personal tour of the Delta Wine Region on charming vintage bikes. With a picnic in arm, discover miles of pristine vineyards; stopping at your whim for lunch under the shade of the old oak trees. With a personal guide in tow you’ll meet the families who own some of the best wineries in the area and share a bottle of wine or two – at the end of the bike ride of course.

wine, food and views

Next stop on the wine route: the famous Napa Valley. Hole up at the Milliken Creek Inn, amidst beautiful landscapes and the idyllic Napa River. During the day, take to paths less trodden in the nearby valley of Sonoma. Surrounded by golden hills filled with perfect vines set against vibrant, endless blue skies, it’s a feast for the eyes. Here at Sonoma, you can forget being ushered into a tasting room with the rest of the crowd. It’ll just be you and the winemaker himself at our favorite vineyard knocking back a glass or two. For some untainted nature grab your hiking boots and journey to the hills, or view Sonoma from mesmerising heights in a hot air balloon. And let us not forget about the food. Brush up on your knowledge of food and wine, definitely a winning combination at the award-winning Kendall Jackson Vineyard with the food and wine pairing menu. Ever wondered what goes hand in hand with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc? Fresh oysters of course. And that hearty Pinot Noir? It has to be the rich crème brulee with white chocolate. When you’re full to the brim with culinary delights, head back to Napa for a well-deserved nap on the shady terrace.

hot spring heaven

The final leg of your journey takes you northwards towards Calistoga. Stop off at the Lynmar Estate in the heart of the Russian River Valley, for a picnic of Pinot and Pizza in the lush, fragrant gardens. Finally the retreat of Calistoga Ranch awaits you for a serious dose of rest and relaxation. With steaming mineral pools and a luxurious spa overlooking the rolling hills moss-laden oaks, it’s the perfect last stop to unwind amidst the delicious comfort of nature.

Get to know the real California on this culinary experience from the cutting edge urban coast of San Francisco, to the mystical elegance of the vineyards. It’s our very own version of the American dream.

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