A Day at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa


ur contributor, Lauren Mizrahi, is taking you on a tour of the newly opened second campus of the Culinary Institute of America Napa at Copia. Read on for a day full of cheese making classes, delicious food and world class wine.

Luckily you can drink wine in any weather. I reminded myself of this as we headed up to Napa in the pouring rain to the Culinary Institute of America Napa (CIA for short) newly opened Copia location. We were traveling about an hour north of San Francisco to downtown Napa for the opening of the new facilities, the second campus of the Culinary Institute of America Napa at Copia

The concept of the Culinary Institute of America Napa at Copia is “a wine and food lovers dream”. From the interactive classes, to the world-class restaurant and the adorable shop, the CIA at Copia brings all of my favorite things together in one destination. We visited on opening day so the place was abuzz with wineries pouring wine, champagne sabering (seriously, they sabered 27 magnums) and tours of the facilities.

We were ushered into a beautiful cooking stadium where the head chef showed us how to make cheese. Learning how to make one of my favorite things, cheese, was on my bucket list (right next to making bread which I have just started to get down). We started with making creamy ricotta which was, in fact, very simple. You take full fat milk and add citric acid or lemon juice and wait for it to curd. For a more advanced lesson, we were treated to mozzarella making. This involved melting mozzarella curds and then molding them into their signature ball form. She even taught us how to make buratta, a personal favorite of mine.

Right now they have the stadium demonstrations but, coming this summer, they will be offering full hands-on classes. I took a look online and found about a dozen demonstrations I’m dying to take. Things like “The History of Napa Valley in 8 Glasses” and “Chef’s Class Brunchtime” click here to see even more classes.

Another feature of the beautiful location is their restaurant. I have had the chance to visit their Greystone location and eat there. It is so fun to see the students perfecting their craft while enjoying a delicious meal. We stopped by the restaurant at Copia for a wine and cheese pairing. If you are thinking “this girl has had enough cheese already,” she hadn’t and was ready for more. We enjoyed four wine and cheese pairings. My favorite cheese was the Cypress Grove Redhawk and the Lang Zin. The space itself is perfectly decorated with the right balance of cozy and modern—perfect for its Napa location. 

I left that day with a belly full of delicious cheese and wine, and dreams of coming back again for a class and definitely a meal. With all of my trips planned to Napa, I’m sure I will be up there before I know it.

*Photography by Lauren Mizrahi


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