- Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine
Dine | Taste | Shop | Learn The Culinary Institute of America at Copia
The Culinary Institute of America at Copia is a welcome haven for exploring, experiencing, and enjoying the world of food and wine. From culinary demonstrations to hands-on education, The Restaurant at CIA’s delicious fare and inviting atmosphere to the relaxing outdoor gardens, a getaway to the CIA should be on your menu. Open just over four months, the property has something to offer culinary aficionados of all ages with more exciting additions on the horizon.
Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by eight-foot tall sculptures of Robert Mondavi and Margrit Biever Mondavi, who sit atop the CIA’s 75-foot tall tower, wine glasses raised in a toast to this world-famous viticultural und culinary destination. The installation “Is that Bob & Margrit?” was created by Napa artist Gordon Heuther, who also produced “Fork,” a gigantic fork sculpture made from 8,268 of the recycled utensils that delights visitors near the culinary garden.
Once inside guests are welcomed by a CIA staff member who can take visitors on impromptu tours, provide directions, lead participants to demonstration-style classes in the Napa Valley Vintners Theater or answer questions about CIA happenings. The Store at CIA Copia is an inviting destination which carries locally made pottery, cookware, home and garden items, gifts and accessories. The Store also offers children’s culinary tools and books, and in the future guests can enjoy in-store demonstrations and book signings.
The CIA’s two-story atrium is the new home of the Wine Hall of Fame; large bronze plaques of men and women whose collective vision, determination, and hard work have made the California wine industry what it is today. The plaques were previously displayed in the Barrel Room at the CIA at Greystone and pay homage to a variety of viticulture luminaries such as Cesar Chavez, Meredith “Merry” Edwards and Charles Krug. Opposite the Wine Hall of Fame, floor to ceiling glass windows show off the Jackson Family Wines Amphitheater, where the gradually tiered lawn will be the site of food, music and theatre events later this year.
While perusing the plaques, visitors can discover new wines at the Tasting Showcase, also located in the atrium. To honor the Napa Valley, vintners from the area are currently being featured in the program, which offers tastes, flights or bottles from noon to 4 p.m. daily. Wine can be sipped in the atrium lounge or in one of the relaxing culinary garden seating areas. Or grab your glass and savor the best of world flavors in the CIA at Copia’s Theater, which features The World Culinary Arts Digital Media Project daily from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free video experience explores the best food and cooking from different countries around the globe.
At the entrance to The Restaurant at CIA Copia, visitors can step back in time via a vintage glass decanter collection. The impressive display of over 20 circa 1800 and 19th century glass decanters, wine and cordial glasses include French Baccarat decanters and stoppers.
Inspired by the Napa Valley and The Culinary Institute of America’s California farms and gardens, The Restaurant at CIA Copia offers a distinctive dining experience where simple, seasonal, farm to table dishes are paired with a curated selection of wines, beers, and handcrafted cocktails. The open kitchen design invites guests to interact with Chef de Cuisine Chris Kennedy Aken and Director of Restaurants for CIA at Copia, Polly Lappetito. Keeping it in the family, The Restaurant employs alumni of the CIA at Greystone. The Restaurant opens daily at 11:30 a.m. and closes Sunday-Thursday at 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. Brunch is available Sundays from
10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The Restaurant’s lounge and bar offers a festive and relaxing setting where guests can enjoy a pre or post dinner drink, as well as Happy Hour beer ($5), wine ($6), cocktail ($8) and appetizer specials. Happy Hour takes place daily from 4 to 6 p.m. and can also be enjoyed outdoors in the olive grove.
Outside The Restaurant, patrons can dine al fresco, adjacent to the culinary garden. Napa’s spectacular summer and fall weather are the perfect pairing to enjoy lunch, dinner or weekend brunch in the shade of festive red umbrellas. Children are welcome and enjoy $5 menu offerings in The Restaurant, but may prefer dinning outdoors where they are free to roam the gardens, rock in Adirondack chair vignettes sprinkled throughout and throw coins in the tiered fountain that gurgles along the entrance promenade.
In July, the CIA at Copia will open Estampa, a late night dinning concept nestled in the culinary garden that serves up drinks and fare from the outdoor bar and pizza oven. Estampa, stamp in Spanish, will be modeled after Spanish tapas where each food and beverage item has its own stamp or price, and customers will pay their bill based on the number of “stamps” they have acquired at the end of the evening.
Another fun food option in the works is The Box Office. For delicious grab and go items, The Box Office will serve up tasty sandwiches and salads right at the CIA’s front door. A preview of the fast fare is available in the atrium every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning noon until they sell out.
Interactive, demonstration-style classes are offered daily in the Napa Valley Vintners Theater. Students receive hands-on instruction from chefs in the Chef’s Class series or learn “How To” make their favorite dishes at home. Discover the history of Napa Valley in only 8 glasses or learn the “Pairing Basics” of how food interacts with wine. Classes range from hour-long chef demonstrations and lectures to two-hour wine tastings and food and wine pairing exercises.
Every Sunday is Family Funday, where the whole family can attend hour-long cooking demonstrations, which end with delicious samplings of that day’s topic. At Family Fundays, adults and children walk away with new kitchen skills and cooking tricks. Know a young, aspiring chef? Young Chef is a culinary one-day summer camp for teens involving a full day of hands-on cooking, chef demonstrations, and tours. Classes take place July 10, July 24 and August 7. Check the CIA at Copia’s website for a complete listing of upcoming classes, dates and times at www.ciaatcopia.com/classes.
More opportunities abound later this year with the opening of The Hestan Teaching Kitchen, featuring three a state-of-the-art teaching kitchens offering hands-on cooking and baking classes.
In early 2018, the CIA will present the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum, honoring the legendary founder of Williams-Sonoma, who was a friend and benefactor of the CIA. A small “taste” of the nearly 4,000 items that were bequeathed to the museum are currently displayed on the ground floor adjacent to The Restaurant. The future museum will depict how cooking has shaped modern civilization, as well as chronicle the development of the culinary profession.
Whatever your taste, a visit to experience all the CIA at Copia has to offer is a must-do this summer.