What better time of year for a picnic in Wine Country than fall? The weather is ideal, the places many and lovely. Food options are fantastic.
Here?s the best of the best for picnic provisions you can stock up on locally. Bon appetit!
Bouchon Bakery: Any picnic in the Napa Valley can only be made better by a visit to the Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Keller?s exquisite boulangerie in Yountville stocked full of some of the best bread this side of Paris. Sandwiches available to go include ham and cheese, cashew butter and jelly, turkey and others, all cradled between Bouchon?s fantastic baguettes, sliced and ready to eat.
Pair any one of them with the bakery?s housemade potato chips and you?re set. Bouchon also makes quiche, soups, salads and a range of pastries and cookies. The macarons<NO1> CQ<NO> are classic, filled with rich buttercream in a varying range of flavors, but the best of the best is chef Keller?s personal favorite ? a play on the Oreo, with two French chocolate butter cookies on either side of a white chocolate ganache filling. Plenty of coffee drinks, waters and sodas, too.
Open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 6528 Washington St., Yountville, 944-2253, www.bouchonbakery.com.
Chloe?s French Caf? If a mid-week picnic is on your agenda, nothing beats Chloe?s for really fine gourmet sandwiches. The curry chicken salad is a standout, and others include the caf? signature grilled delights like croque monsieur, jambon brie or saucisson (French salami, Cantal cheese, ham and swiss with a balsamic dipping sauce). Then stock up on salade nicoise or salade verte, croissants, pains au chocolat, oatmeal butterscotch or sugar orange-peel cookies, with a cup of coffee to go in hand.
Open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 3883 Airway Drive, Suite 145, Santa Rosa, 528-3095, www.chloesco.com.
La Luna Market and Taqueria: For serious burrito lovers looking for a picnic fix, there can only be one destination. This Mexican food market piles meats, beans and spices of your choosing into gigantically memorable edible torpedoes, wrapped and ready for liftoff. The quesadillas, tacos and tortas are wicked good, too, but you might also want to try the Super Nachos, a recent addition to the menu. The market stocks chips, agua frescas, pinatas and more.
Open weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the taqueria closing 30 minutes before the store. 1153 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, 963-3211, www.lalunamarket.com.
Oakville Grocery: The bounty of the two Oakville Grocery stores, one in Healdsburg, the other in Oakville, can evoke memories of a more robust economy. That said, the sandwiches and salads live up to all expectations, stuffed full of smoked turkey and brie, Portobello mushroom, Mediterranean grilled chicken or a long list of other delectable choices. Pizzas, salads, desserts, fresh produce, cases full of cheese and charcuterie, vinegars, dipping sauces, wine and more make for creative picnic provisions.