A few miles off scenic highway 1, lies the winding road to Carmel Valley; a place that offers a treasure trove of dining, leisure activities, and of course, wine tasting. Carmel Valley now boasts one of the fastest growing wine regions in the nation and with a plethora of quaint wine tasting rooms to choose from, count on spending a few days getting acquainted with the area’s terroir and tasting options.
Garland Regional Ranch, a 4000 acre park that includes hiking, biking and horse riding trails along the pastoral setting of the meandering Carmel River is a favorite for the outdoor enthusiast. Whatever your wanderlust may be, Carmel Valley is the place for exploring, enjoying and elevating your senses. A few standouts that we came upon on our short visit to the area were Bernardus Lodge, Earthbound Farms and the newly opened Folktale Winery that provided a great example of Carmel Valley’s ability to transport the traveler into a world that is synergistically connected to Mother Earth’s bounty.
From the farm stand that started it all years ago, to being a premier brand of organic foods, Earthbound Farms is a household name that is trusted nation-wide. This stop is inspirational, delicious and educational and will please and captivate even the youngest of travelers. A world of health and wellness waits at this quaint “farm stand” with the lovely rows of organic fruits and veggies, and a small made to order all- organic kitchen where you can customize a smoothie or pick a healthy menu item to be eaten outside in the lovely picnic area surrounded by nature’s abundance. After your meal take a tour of the organic gardens or a guided flower walk. Patrons can pick fresh herbs at their leisure.
The retail store offers gourmet groceries and an array of lovely gift items. Seasonal events are presented including the very popular lavender festival. Corporate programs can also be held on the premise as well. Families with young children will love the bug walks or taking a cautionary look at the bee enclave,(don’t worry these insects are far more interested in doing their job then bothering children). Although children are more than welcome at Earthbound Farms, please leave fido at home due to the organic farming restrictions. Every family member will be well nourished, educated and entertained at Earthbound Farms, where nature and nurture are intertwined to provide the best in organic produce and wellness education.
Put this on your bucket list; a stay at highly acclaimed Bernadus Lodge and Spa located minutes from Earthbound Farms where using local produce in preparing the freshest and most delectable meals have such notables as Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio spending time dining within the kitchen enclaves of Lucia restaurant.
This acclaimed resort, surrounded by glorious flora and fauna lends the perfect setting to veteran chef of 2 decades, Cal Stamenov, in creating award winning cuisine that is inspired by nature. Mother Earth’s glorious bounty has been transformed by Chef Stamenov in pleasing the appetites of well healed travelers and devoted locals alike with the awards that showcase his culinary artistry and excellence including the World’s Best Awards for Travel and Leisure –July 2016, and “Top 10 Resort Hotels in California”, Best Overall Restaurants, California Central Coast “Top 10 Diner’s Choice” Winner for Open Table 2016. Restaurant Lucia is a dining sanctuary that will captivate your culinary desires and elevate them into a new awareness and appreciation for Chef’s artisanal ability.
Several dishes were highlighted on our recent visit that showcased the local fare. The Monterey Bay abalone with smashed garden potatoes accented with Australian truffle and scallion, Pacific gold oysters from Morro Bay with a ginger-shallot mignonette, and the local grilled king salmon with Hass avocado and summer squash. Chef Cal sources and forages for the freshest sustainable and decidedly delectable ingredients in creating the most memorable meal of a lifetime whether you are a carnivore, a vegetarian or a vegan. And don’t forget to pair your menu selection with a Bernardus wine that will lend to the complete culinary salute to the Monterey Peninsula.
Food, fun and don’t forget the wine. Carmel Valley has a myriad of wine tasting rooms and a mini-chateau winery and tasting area known as Folktale.
The Folktale winery just celebrated their first anniversary with a new sequel filled with passion and purpose. With a penchant for perfection, President and CEO Gregory Ahn is building upon the former Chateau Julien brand by adding family friendly areas, notable music and speaker series events, coupled with property tasting tours and venues for wine