Heritage Fire by Cochon 555, the Valley’s premier hyper-local, whole animal live-fire outdoor food and wine event, returned this last weekend to Napa’s Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena. A cavalcade of roasted meats was on hand, and renowned local restaurants from Ad Hoc to Zazu dished out succulent treats on small plates. Wineries from around the Valley accompanied the culinary outpouring, themselves pouring generous tastings of their seasonal varieties, often offering a white or red, depending on your palate.
Really, though, this event was all about the meat. A line of open fire pits snaked across the back row, next to Krug’s grape vines. Whole pigs, ducks, rabbits, even seafood was laid out on grilling racks. The diverse array of edible options began with sliced salamis and pates. There were even scrumptious donut holes with foie gras inside, maybe the tastiest dessert at the event. The main dishes were all incredibly imaginative. The Beef Cheek Carnitas with pork belly and avocado salsa was a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Peking Guinea Hen wrapped in a steamed bun was served with Kim chi for an Asian influenced dish. Whole roasted rabbit was served along side a bunny bratwurst hotdog in a bun for a most traditional American experience.
New this year were seminars hosted in the carriage house at Krug, with presentations on fire and cheese, and a preview of the Food First series debuting on PBS in September. Also new this year was the Chef’s Pantry, an open market where the local producers and farmers that these Chefs depend on had their goods available to the public. Lastly, he Pop-up butcher shop was offering five pound steaks at a hundred bucks a pop when I walked by, tempting to say the least. All in all, it was a perfect day of fire and meat under the big oak trees.