My husband and I recently attended the eighth annual Heritage Fire in Napa at Charles Krug Winery. Heritage Fire is part of the Cochon 555 U.S. Tour. This live-fire food and wine event showcases over 50 top chefs and butchers from around the country, as well as 35 wines, beer and cider.
Heritage and heirloom foods are used to create a dozens of dishes using a variety of whole animals roasted over open fires and prepared by top chefs including dry-aged beef, goat, lamb, rabbit, fish, chicken and heritage breed pigs. There are also lots of artisan cheeses, cured meats, oysters and heirloom vegetables.
Cochon 555’s Heritage Fire event promotes relationships between local farming and the emerging culinary communities. This event also benefits Piggy Bank, which provides free heritage breed pigs to small farms that provide their business plans online to the public.
The sold out event took place at the beautiful and historic Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena.
It was a gorgeous summer Sunday!
Summer days in Napa Valley are often hot so it was a real treat being in such a scenic place with plenty of big shade trees. I was quite comfortable in my black shirtdress.
There is an expansive lawn area at Charles Krug. I wish we had brought our picnic blanket to sit on the lush green grass and people watch while eating all that great food.
Once we got the lay of the land, so to speak, we started getting in line to try the food. Our VIP tickets allowed us entry at 3:00 pm, giving us some time to check things out before general admission ticket holders started arriving. We had a full hour of no or short lines and food photos were easy to take.
Each area was designated by the type of food being served complete with a brief description of the dish. Dishes change throughout the day so it’s best to check back to see if any new foods are being offered.
Teams of chefs and butchers decide what foods they want to work with well in advance. They then go about planning how they will prepare their dishes. You can see a gallery of the creators – chefs and butchers – on the Heritage Fire Napa Valley page. Often at the event, you could watch the chefs and butchers at work.
And, of course, there was not shortage of foods to sample! I am a huge cheese lover so I was happy to see many varieties of artisan cheeses offered at Heritage Fire.
My husband is a cured meats connoisseur and loves all things salumi. He does not fear the fat when it comes to his Italian cured meats!
We visited this station more than once!
Chefs were innovative and creative with their foods. There were so many unusual and artistic foods to try!
Just after general admission ticket holders started to arrive, a group of us with media passes were taken on a tour of the event. We met Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555.
Lowe is passionate about supporting local food – what he calls the good food movement – through this nationwide tour that both showcases farmers and chefs and connects them to one another. Lowe, who grew up in Iowa, is also a fine wine and cheese expert who started doing food-centric events in Atlanta in 2003. Cochon 555 tour began in 2009 and has been steadily growing in popularity ever since.
Lowe talked about the various cooking techniques chefs used for this event, all over open fires.
After our media tour, Bill and I were more than a little thirsty. My husband is a beer-lover and I also like some beers as long as they’re not too bitter or heavy. Magnolia Brewery from San Francisco was pouring a variety of their beers at the event. My favorite is their Kalifornia Kolsch, a light yet flavorful beer.
I also tried a Blood Orange Tangerine cider from Common Cider Company from Sacramento. Slightly sweet, this effervescent alcoholic cider was deliciously refreshing.
After beer, cider and a few sips of wine, I was ready for something that didn’t have alcohol in it. DRY Sparkling, a Seattle-based company that partnered with Cochon 555 this year, offered guests ice cold bottles of their culinary-inspired dry sodas. I tried a couple of flavors and quickly decided Lavender was my favorite!
DRY Sparkling was made to pair with gourmet food so Cochon 555 is the ideal event for such a beverage. These dry sodas come in a variety of interesting and tasty flavors with just a hint of sweetness, which lets the flavor components show through.
The kind people at DRY Sparkling invited me to Heritage Fire and they sent me a case of their products. I enjoyed a Lavender Dry Sparkling after a morning jog the other day. The perfect reward after a sweaty workout!
I love tasting my way through these refreshing beverages. I often have them straight out of the bottle but they are wonderful mixed with a little ice and some vodka too!
Have you tried DRY Sparkling? Search for it in your area here.
The 2016 Cochon 555 U.S. Tour may be coming to a city near you!
Check their calendar of events for more information.
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: Two VIP tickets were given to me by DRY Sparkling in exchange for my review of Heritage Fire. DRY Sparkling also sent me a variety of their beverages to try. All opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.