Savor Santa Barbara’s Epicurean Experiences at Home
Talk about a moveable feast. Santa Barbara’s enterprising tastemakers have adapted their offerings to bring a taste of “The American Riviera” to homes everywhere. It’s the next best thing to travel for food and wine lovers who are yearning to explore beyond the confines of their kitchens.
Think you’ve seen all the virtual offerings on the planet? Think again. Wine 101 with cats. Cheese board how-tos. A podcast you can toast to. Celebrity appearances. Read on for the clever ways Santa Barbara South Coast’s world-class winemakers, chefs and mixologists have conspired to enliven your days and nights.
- Slate Catering recently launched virtual live-streaming cheese and charcuterie board workshops—an excuse to bring friends, co-workers and family together while miles apart. Workshop attendees are guided on how to style their very own grazing platters at home. Info: https://slatecatering.com/workshops or email [email protected]
- Eat This Shoot That! offers Virtual Foodie Adventures featuring live cooking and cocktail classes with Santa Barbara’s award-winning chefs and mixologists, along with smartphone photo tips to make Insta friends extra jealous. Info: https://eatthisshootthat.com/virtual-foodie-adventures-2/
- Learn from celebrity chef Cat Cora’s (“Iron Chef”) free CORA-ntine Cuisine classes on Instagram and just say “#ForktheVirus!” Many were filmed in her Santa Barbara kitchen. https://www.instagram.com/catcora/
- Santa Barbara-based cookbook author (“A Menu for All Seasons”) Pascale Beale offers 90-minute Zoom classes that showcase tantalizing seasonal, California- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Info: https://www.pascaleskitchen.com/events-and-classes.php?Classes
With more than 220 wineries—and three dozen tasting rooms in the city of Santa Barbara alone—Santa Barbara County is a wonderland for wine aficionados. “Two Glasses In,” a new podcast and short video series from Visit Santa Barbara, celebrates the region’s distinctive wines through the stories of its winemakers and their lives. All nine episodes are out as of Friday, May 1 on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
VIRTUAL WINE TASTINGS
Local winemakers have been hosting regular virtual wine tastings through Instagram Live and Zoom. Most have no cost to participate, though it helps to preorder wines through the wineries’ websites to drink along. A few notable tastings include:
- Melville Winery’s Happy 1/2 Hour Live, Fridays at 5:30 p.m. PST on Instagram Live, https://www.instagram.com/melville_winery/channel/ Head winegrower Chad Melville talks shop with fellow Santa Barbara winemakers and culinary experts. Among the lineup of guests is Alecia Moore, better known as pop star Pink, who will talk about her Two Wolves Wine on May 15. Free. Info: https://melvillewinery.com/, [email protected] or (805) 735-7030.
- SAMsARA Wine Co.’s Happy Hour on Instagram Live, Thursdays 5-6 p.m. PST on Instagram Live, https://www.instagram.com/samsarawineco/ (Also offers in-depth Saturday tastings through Zoom.) The team from the Goleta-based winery, including winemaker Matt Brady, and special guests talk about topics ranging from new releases and label art. Free. Info: https://www.samsarawine.com/, [email protected] or (805)-845-8001.
- Santa Barbara Vintners, the local wine association, is hosting free weekly tastings with rotating winemakers every Monday and Thursday at 6 p.m. PST through May. Upcoming wineries include Folded Hills and Casa Dumetz (both women-led enterprises), as well as Epiphany Wine Co. Info: https://www.sbcountywines.com/virtual-events.html
- Need to learn the basics? Cat Therapy offers a Wine Tasting 101 Workshop W/Cats live-streamed from their cat café Sunday, May 3 at 5 p.m. PST by sliding-scale donation. Professional sommelier Clare Tudor will be “assisted” by adoptable, rescued cats. Proceeds go to supporting this nonprofit organization, which has placed more than 500 cats up for adoption. Info: https://shopcattherapy.com/products/live-stream-wine-tasting-101-workshop
ABOUT SANTA BARBARA
Santa Barbara’s culinary and wine scenes were recognized last year in the inaugural Michelin Guide to California and The New York Times’ 52 Places to Go and recently featured in Food & Wine. Travelers have called Santa Barbara “The American Riviera” for more than a century. A self-contained paradise surrounded by undeveloped coastline, the city’s signature red-tile roofs, white adobe buildings and lush gardens evoke the topography and architectural aesthetic of Europe’s Riviera—with a carefree California spirit. Simultaneously sophisticated and bohemian, easy-going and energetic, Santa Barbara welcomes visitors with relaxing resorts and hideaways, outdoor escapes, world-class wineries and hyper-local food scene.